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Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge

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4.22  ·  Rating details ·  2,541 ratings  ·  195 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,
...more
Hardcover, 592 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Crown Archetype
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Mischenko
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Please visit www.readrantrockandroll.com for this review and others...

I'm going to admit right off the rip that I've been told I'm still living in the 90's. I am-really. My teen years literally consisted of listening to music and playing in band. Grunge was and very much still is a large part of my life. So, when I recently discovered this book, I had to get it.

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I think when many people hear the word "grunge" they instantly think of the four more popular 90's grunge bands including Pearl Jam,
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Mike

This should be compelling for anyone who likes grunge, 90s music, or just reading about the lives of musicians and creative people in general. The first couple of hundred pages or so were admittedly somewhat less compelling for me, at least initially, just because I didn't know who a lot of these early bands were- The U-Men, Green River- but I gradually came to appreciate the scope of the story the author, Mark Yarm, was trying to tell, recreating the feel of Seattle in the late 80s, before
...more
Kurt
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Erin
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Lea
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have read a lot of non-fiction books about music in my life and most have them have been subpar. But you're a fan of a certain band or genre, and so to get one or two tidbits of information you didn't have before, you drudge through badly-written purple prose and information you find on wikipedia.

Thankfully, this book is different. It's a lot better. It's entertaining, well-edited and informative. I'm a big fan of Pearl Jam, and also a fan of Nirvana. I like some Soundgarden and Mudhoney
...more
Jay Hinman
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Nettie Grey
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Michael Jandrok
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I am lucky enough to have been born in 1964, the year the Beatles first made their way to America to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show and make history in the process. I grew up listening to music. My brother was a huge fan of British Invasion bands like Herman’s Hermits, and my mother was listening to groups like The Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and the Holding Company. I count myself as being fortunate that I had a ringside seat as rock music grew from restless teeanger to world-weary ...more
Heather
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Marc Horton
Dec 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
East Bay J
Jan 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music-bios
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 ...more
Barney
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Tom Gase
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
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.
Ben Winch
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
This rocks! Finally, the musicians tell it their way! I laughed. I cried. I felt good feelings towards just about everyone: Eddie Vedder (despite his music), Chris Cornell (despite his posturing), Courtney Love (despite her forked tongue). Typically, as soon as I got it from the library I dipped into it at the key points, re-educating myself on everything to do with Nirvana (not much new here, to be honest) and neglecting the earlier parts about the scene's formation. But when later (having ...more
Ben
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adulthood, music
This is a thorough, insightful, charming, funny, and ultimately melancholy look at the Seattle scene. If you are a fan of Nirvana or Soundgarden or Pearl Jam, you'll get the whole arc of those bands' successes, but the real heroes of the book for me were the guys from Mudhoney and the Melvins. The main villain, as anyone could probably expect, is Courtney Love, who shrugs off the thousands of easily verifiable awful things said about her with charming jibes like "gay" and "retarded." The easiest ...more
RandomAnthony
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
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
Evan
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Lisa Mcelroy
Nov 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Caryn Rose
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Ben Walton
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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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
...more
Eric Sutter
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
500+ pages of proof that Mudhoney are the coolest band ever and Courtney Love is an idiot.
David R. Dowdy
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
One should always brace herself or himself when reading a biography. (OK, this is an oral history, but what’s the difference?) You’re going to learn fascinating things about people you never knew or had merely peeked at through a haze. You’re going to learn things that upset you.

Maybe truth is a good thing. Finding out you were in the dark the whole time. And, so that’s how it is with this book where you learn about the genesis, the growth, and end (maybe that’s too strong of a word because
...more
Missy Litton
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
I have so many feelings having finally finished this mammoth of a book. I would give it 5 stars just for the sheer scope of the thing. Mark Yarm must have days and days of recorded interviews. And then for him to put everything together in such a cohesive, relatable way?! Wow. I actually shed a tear or two reading the final page. It’s not just an oral history if grunge. It’s a freaking history of humanity—friendship, loss, god-like fame, destruction, redemption. Damn. Too bad it’s so long that I ...more
Joe
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Forget that I did heroin in the first trimester of my pregnancy, because I did, that’s no big deal.” - Courtney Love

Fascinating time & place marred by too much tragedy. The first time I saw “Smells Like a Teen Spirit” on MTV was an absolute lightning bolt.
Uri
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Too much 'rock star' trivia (Alice in chains, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden...) for my taste
Jessica
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Don't do heroin, y'all.
Terrance
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have a certain fondness for oral histories. I enjoy the conflict between memory, imagination, and idealized fantasy. I moved to Seattle in 2003, long after the grunge era had been corporatized, mass marketed, and exsanguinated, but one could still feel the echoes of the legacy that the music had imprinted upon the city. This history is exhaustive, from the scene's progenitors in the U-Men to all the bands that rode the wave to its final crashes upon the Sound's shoreline. You will get swept up ...more
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Did you ever see these bands live? 2 13 Sep 05, 2012 11:20AM  
Grunge bands are back. 1 13 Aug 22, 2012 06:54AM  

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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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“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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