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Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge
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Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge

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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  1,312 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Twenty years after the release of Nirvana’s landmark albumNevermind comes Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge, the definitive word on the grunge era, straight from the mouths of those at the center of it all.

In 1986, fledgling Seattle label C/Z Records released Deep Six, a compilation featuring a half-dozen local bands: Soundgarden, Green River, Melvins, Ma
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Hardcover, 592 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Crown Archetype (first published January 1st 2011)
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Everybody Loves Our Town by Mark YarmMusicophilia by Oliver SacksFrank by James KaplanBob Dylan in America by Sean WilentzSweet Judy Blue Eyes by Judy Collins
Fine-Tuned Books for Post-Grammy Harmony
1st out of 15 books — 4 voters
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Books I Read in 2011
31st out of 275 books — 26 voters


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Community Reviews

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Kurt
Sep 04, 2011 Kurt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: grunge fans, but also just about anyone else after the first hundred pages
Recommended to Kurt by: Amazon Vine
I nearly gave up on this book shortly after I started it. I was born in late 1980, so I was only ten years old when Nevermind hit the stores and brought grunge into mainstream America, so during the years that grunge was vital and relevant, I was a little too young to connect with it. My friends’ cool older siblings liked Soundgarden and Nirvana and Pearl Jam (although the fourth big grunge band is consistently listed as Alice in Chains, I have never had a personal relationship with anyone inter ...more
Erin
This book was so amazing to me...I was and remain a huge fan of all of the bands discussed in the book. I was 15 when Nevermind broke and count myself as being truly lucky to have grown up with this music as having defined my generation. This book shared numerous interviews from all of the band members, record people, band managers, etc with tales from their teen years until after the death of Layne Staley. I really felt like I was able to learn so much more about all of them as people and get a ...more
Marc Horton
Much in the manner of previous oral histories (see Legs McNeil'sPlease Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk) on broadly defined musical movements centered on specific geographic locations, this is a book about a cultural time and place [Note: while most of the chapters in McNeil's book end "...and then I caught the clap from Nico," in this one, the analogue seems to be: "...and then Courtney Love threw her shoes at me."]. The chapters detailing the life and evolution of Sub Pop Records a ...more
Nettie Grey
Oh grunge, how I miss thee. And now that we are facing down the (yikes!) 20 year anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death, the media's nostalgia machine is going into overdrive- reunion tours, remastered albums, SBS specials. Reissue, repackage, repackage as Morrissey once said. I have to confess I'm sort of all for it. Grunge was a great time in my life- lots of popular bands were also actually good, scruffiness was in fashion, and being smart was cool for a while. Why would I not want to return to t ...more
Barney
At first I thought this was by Mark Arm, lead signer of Green River and Mudhoney. Either way, this was an excellent piece of oral history; it is up there with Legs McNeil's book on punk. The book focuses on more of the little known yet important bands to the grunge movement: The U-Men, Green River, The Melvins, Skinyard, Malfunkshun, 7 Year Bitch, The Fastbacks. In a word, excellent. I am planning on using this in the future in my rock history class.

The main source of tension in this book is, of
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Jenn Estepp
There are few things I love more than a good oral history. They are absolutely the best bathroom reading (t.m.i.? oops, don't care.) And this is a very good one. Although, needs more pictures, but I guess that's what the tumblr is for.

p.s.
I feel old.
Heather
Engrossing does not to begin to describe how good this book is. I am old enough to remember when grunge got big and listening to never mind obsessively but I never understood what a big scene it was and how it happened. This book was hard to put down and at points hard to read(as people started to die). Total five star reading!
Katie Powell
I wrote about this book on my blog - http://804-notassigned.blogspot.com/2...

When I was in high school, a chunk of my friends were skater boys. In the mid- 1980’s, skater boys in our town were typically middle-class and generally pretty sunny in disposition and future. They were going to college and going to wind up lawyers and doctors just like their fathers. One of my friends, with red hair and the sweetest boy smile I had ever seen, went to Seattle and he died.

We’ve never quite known what hap
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RandomAnthony
I dig these oral history books. You know, the kind where the author assembles quotes from different sources, along with his/her own interviews, to tell an era's/construct's story. Let me think...I've read oral histories on the New York punk scene, the Los Angeles punk scene, The Replacements (Maybe? I can't remember if that book was pure oral history), ESPN, and NBC's Must-See TV era. These books tend to flow, rivet, and illuminate in ways traditional cultural analysis can't. Everybody Loves Our ...more
Jay Hinman
A few things to get out of the way before we start this review. I didn't purchase this book, nor solicit it in any way. It was sent to me for review by its publisher, Crown Archetype. I assigned about a 25% chance to ever reading it once it arrived, and only dove into it as a respite from some much more intense books I'd just finished about the Holocaust and whatnot. Second - the journalist who wrote the book, the book about grunge, is named Mark Yarm. One of those strange coincidences of histor ...more
Moira Russell
I caved and bought the hardcover because it promised a lot of new photographs, and I can't stand photographs/illustrations on the Kindle.

I forgot what reading a nicely printed, designed book feels like. So much less offensive to the aesthetic sense, and the retinas. - Not sure the photos were worth the extra price tho.

Dislike the habit this guy has of weaving in quotations from other interviews so it looks like it's part of the same conversation as his tapes, but I guess all "oral historians" do
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Eric Sutter
500+ pages of proof that Mudhoney are the coolest band ever and Courtney Love is an idiot.
Amanda
Finally a definitive history of grunge! The history of grunge could only be told by the famous and infamous bands that created it's unique sound and changed music forever. First and foremost, Yarm decided to not make this like all other "history of" books and pulled from interviews and articles with the bands that created grunge. Everything is set up evenly and Yarm doesn't focus on one band over another and he really helps set the Seattle scene and where all the kids were coming from. He examin ...more
Tom Gase
This book was seriously awesome. Anyone who loves "grunge" music and grew up with it in the 90s will love this book. This book is by author Mark Yarm, but it is told by the people who lived it, whether it be members of bands, roadies, management, filmmakers, etc. Probably over 500 sources easily. Well-researched. All the bands are here--Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, TAD, Green River, Mother Love Bone, L7, U-Men, Melvins, Mad Season, Candlebox and ma ...more
Lisa Mcelroy
You think you know the Seattle music scene, but unless you lived it, you don't. Read this oral history and you will. A concise and gossipy account of how Seattle grunge came to be. Before gourmet coffee and IT experts took over, the Northwest's isolated, damp environs and a squadron of disaffected, talented youth formed the most soulful and humorous rock of any regional music scene. But when Nirvana blew into mass-public consciousness, the industry came barreling up north and the result was a gr ...more
Joseph Smith
if u are fond of the Seattle scene in the 90's, this musical companion will lift your nostalgia to new heights. all the seminal bands are mentioned as well as ones that deserve their cred. there are interviews by Courtney Love, Chris Cornell, Dave Grohl, Duff MacKagan, Eddie Vedder that lead grunge music to unexpected fame ending in tragedy of one tortured artist, namely Kurt Cobain. you will want to read this book. it bleeds all the colours of punk & hard rock. there are fights, there are a ...more
East Bay J
I moved to Seattle from Spokane in 1998 with my then girlfriend, Cid. Before moving back to eastern Washington, she had lived in Seattle during the time that bands like The U-Men, Green River, Malfunkshun, etc. were coming up, through the formation of Mudhoney, Soundgarden, TAD, etc. She was friends with those people and, as a result, I got to meet a truckload of musicians who played in bands that I adored. This was weird for me and I was a bit star struck, but it was also very, very cool. I liv ...more
catechism
3.75 stars.

Pretty gossipy (although missing some episodes!) oral history of the grunge movement, about which I care very little. I'm certain I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I liked the music more. The cast of characters in this one is huge, and so if you're not pretty familiar with the various players, it's a bit difficult to follow. It also didn't have much of a cohesive narrative, and I was never sure where in time we were. Is Kurt Cobain still alive? Okay, no, so we're after that time I
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Evan
A fantastic history of the Seattle music scene labelled grunge. Yarm's strength, aside from the wealth of material he culled from his interview subjects, is the fact that he knows the scene. The book begins back in the early 80s and successfully traces the rise of the huge bands as well as the ones (like TAD) that could've made it big but didn't for reasons random, sometimes cruel, sometimes understandable, but ultimately fascinating.

Working with the structure of an oral history still leaves Yar
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Ben Walton
Excellent overview of the Grunge scene that sprang out of Seattle. It's a must read for anyone who is a fan of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Hole, Screaming Trees and Mudhoney. I love all of these bands and each gets a good bit of space. It isn't the usual Nirvana/Kurt Cobain worship that these sorts of things usually are. In fact, I found the book painted Kurt in a fairly poor light, when compared to his contemporaries going through a similar situation.

The main highlights of
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Caryn Rose
Simply amazing. Not a quick read but a worthy item to add to the rock and roll bookshelf. If all you know about Seattle is Nirvana you probably can't appreciate how impenetrable the scene there was/is (even now) and how hard it is to find the right people and get them to tell you the truth. I hesitate to use the word "scholarship" with a book about rock music but there is definite scholarship here. I wondered how Yarm would be able to get even close to the truth by being an outsider but I think ...more
Lina Andersson
I'm not overly fond of books written in this style—oral history. When it's a name, and the a quote, and that's how it goes on—in this case for a good 550 pages. I sort of forced my way through 'Please Kill Me,' written in the same style, and I got through this one as well.

My main problem with it is probably a highly personal one, and that's that I'm really, really shit with names. Horrible! So I have to keep flipping back to the character list to see whose darn quote I'm reading, and why I shou
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Myke
An oral history on grunge from the people who were there.

Mark Yarm (not to be confused with Mudhoney's Mark Arm as the photo caption tells us on the back flap) interviews everyone from Buzz Osborne from Melvins to Eddie Vedder so you get a wide range of big time players to the smaller but equally influential.

Yarm chronicles the pre grunge explosion 80s, looking at bands such as The U-Men, Melvins and Malfunkshun to name a few. I found this portion of the book to be the most interesting as i am a
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ashley | citygirlscapes
When they say an 'oral history of grunge', they weren't kidding. This is literally a he said, she said account of the rise and fall of the grunge scene in Seattle straight from the mouth of those who lived it. I've read almost every factual compilation of this scene, but reading through personal accounts and feelings of the musicians, friends and family who made up the community we know as the grunge scene added a whole other intimate level that made for a very moving read.
Laura Novak
I'm so glad I discovered this book from the obscurity of my library ebook selection. Although I was only 9 years old at the genesis of the grunge era, I have always been a huge fan of what I consider to be the big 3 of the Seattle music movement: Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam.

This book is not your average music nonfiction book. It's raw, and lacks the cheesiness of other books, such as "Scar Tissue." (Sorry Anthony Kiedis)

Much of the information in the beginning of the book is dup
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Steven
Oral biographies are interesting because you get all these first-person accounts of the same events and with this one I think Yarm does a good job weaving all the accounts into a consistently forward moving narrative. To get a fuller account of the Seattle music scene of that era it would be good to read this book and Grunge is Dead, which is Greg Prato's oral history of Seattle rock music. Prato looks at more than just the grunge scene and gives a better sense of how Seattle music evolved as it ...more
Christine
Of the two "oral history" grunge books, I think this one is better. It was a better read. But I will stand by the idea that one should read both if they are truly interested. The precursor information in the other book was really great and this book really skips over a lot of that.

But if you are "grunge fan" (and you will learn that this is a buzzword that no one in these bands really liked or really used), these books are very interesting, especially if you were a tad on the young side during
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Magdalena
A blast from the past. I skip and jump all over the book. It excites me, makes me smile and makes me sad because I know what's coming. I remember those times from such a different perspective.
when the Author mentions such and such band I can hear their music in my head and I remember how it felt to hear them for the first time, where I was, the circumstances, the people and the thoughts... twenty-something years...
Jenni
This is one of those books that you won't pick up unless you're interested in the topic and if you're interested in the topic, you probably know at least roughly what's happened in Seattle in the late 80s and early 90s. There were, however, some events and bands I wasn't very familiar with and I liked it that it was more than just guys from the big and best known bands talking. It feels a bit disjointed because it's a bunch of people telling their story, many of which happen at the same time and ...more
Tom Cöle
This is about the greatest toilet book any semi-serious grunge fan could wish for. It's the size of a breezeblock and jam-packed with exclusive interview quotes from any and all figures within the grunge scene of the early '90s. Without widening his net to include interviewing members of non-US faux-grunge acts like Silverchair and Bush, it's hard to imagine how author Mark Yarm could've done a better job.

That said, I speak from the position of someone who's already read a hell of a lot about gr
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Did you ever see these bands live? 2 11 Sep 05, 2012 11:20AM  
Grunge bands are back. 1 10 Aug 22, 2012 06:54AM  
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“Amy Finnerty: At the end of it [MTV Unplugged taping], we went back to the hotel, and Kurt said to me, "I didn't do very good." I said, "What are you talking about? That was a historical moment, that was a really incredible performance. Why do you feel like you didn't do very good?"

He said, "Because everybody was so quiet, nobody really clapped that loud and they just kind of sat there." I said something to the effect of, "People felt like they were seeing Jesus Christ for the first time. It was intense for people. They were trying to be respectful by being quiet and just letting you do your thing." And then he kind of got a little smirk on his face and said, "Thank you.”
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“Chris Cornell: I think Pearl Jam was the band that set the perfect example. Their big video, "Jeremy," propelled them into becoming TV stars and one of the biggest rock bands on the planet, so they stopped making videos, which was proof positive that that wasn't where they wanted to be. And that made a lot of sense to me.

Nirvana doing an Unplugged at the same time that they did it and making a video for "Heart-Shaped Box," that didn't make a lot of sense to me, because it seemed clear to me that Kurt was pretty disillusioned by the situation that he was being put in. It felt like, If he's so unhappy, he shouldn't be doing this kind of stuff.”
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