Nirvana's Nevermind ruined rock & roll ?!?!"

Steve Owen

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 7, 1999
Messages
416
Interesting article by Jeff Gordinier in this weeks Entertainment Weekly about the state of the music industry and the role Nirvana's Nevermind played, for good or for bad. To quote the article:
quote: Far from "saving" anything, Nevermind is the masterpiece that ruined rock & roll. By creating a boom market for this stuff, by fostering and quickening an environment in which subterranean musical strains are sucked into the corporate maw, scrubbed clean of warts and tangles, and rendered bland enough for Wal-Mart, Nevermind dealt the underground a crippling blow.[/quote]
Egads! He's right! He goes on to talk about the results... instead of truly interesting music, we get Bush and Creed and Matchbox Twenty and Fuel and a million other MTV-ready snoozers.
I guess I never thought of things this way, but I'm certainly disappointed in the available music these days. I find myself going back into my collection to listen to bands like The Pixies, X, Sonic Youth, Husker Du, The Cure, and of course Nirvana.
There are very few bands making interesting music these days... music that will still be worth listening to 5, 10, 15 years down the road. Radiohead and PJ Harvey come to mind. Will anyone remember Matchbox Twenty in 10 years? I doubt it.
So, did Nevermind ruin rock & roll?
-Steve
------------------
Home Theater Gear
[Edited last by Steve Owen on September 18, 2001 at 10:48 PM]
 

MatS

Screenwriter
Joined
Jan 24, 2000
Messages
1,593
this has been talked about at length over the years and I share many of the authors opinions. Steve, you might be interested in checking out the book "Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991" by Michael Azerrad. Chapters include those on the following bands: Black Flag, The Minutemen, Mission Of Burma, Minor Threat, Husker Du, The Replacements, Sonic Youth, Butthole Surfers, Big Black, Dinosaur Jr, Fugazi, Mudhoney, Beat Happening. Azerrad (also the author of 'Come As You Are: The Story Of Nirvana') also discusses much of this in the introduction.
 

MikeH1

Screenwriter
Joined
Oct 25, 2000
Messages
1,492
Real Name
Billy
I have to disagree with that statement. I will admit the state of music today isn't very exciting but at least theres a lot of diversity. It seems in the last 12 years many types of music has "matured" and has found its own audience.
I was never a big "grunge" fan and out of 350 Cds I have one Pearl Jam disc. No Nirvana, No Soundgarden. Not much "grunge". However, after Cobains death in April of 94 that wasn't just the beginning of the end, it WAS the end. Alternative(whatever that means) became a mainstay and I think the period between late '94 and early 1997 was a good era for music. Nothing truley memorable, but interesting music. A backlash against typical rock I guess.
Then the boy/girl bands came. No need to comment.
The underground music is still there. Its just in a different form. Nevermind officially ended the 80s and if one recalls knocked Michael Jackson from the #1 position on the charts. How fitting.
I think the whole Seattle thing did music good. That 80s sound was much to long drawn out(although 80s is my favorite). The rock music today still has that aggression but in the last while hints at the "happiness" of the 80s. Some music today I hear I think wow this is something from 1985.
I hate how editors will pick a couple of bands and say "this is interesting music". Theres tons of it out there. Head Like a Hole by Nine Inch Nails in 1989 almost accomplished what Smells Like Teen spirit did in 1991.
I don't think Nirvana ruined Rock and Roll. It may have changed some aspects, but its still there.
------------------
you lose it here and your in a world of hurt...
 

Brian Bunn

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 26, 1998
Messages
258
Steve--There is a TON of good stuff being put out even in this time of bland, uninspired music by some of the bands you mentioned. You just ain't gonna find it in the Top 100 charts. The music industry today is pretty much ruled by the boy bands, teeny-bopper girls, and rappers that teenagers are being force fed. That's fine. Let them have it. But there is plenty of stuff for the more mature music consumers as well. You have to know where to look. But it is there. Hint: Think Indie!
I could supply a very large list of great stuff that has come out in only the last 2 years. If you want email me and I would be more than willing to point you in the direction. Well, I guess that all depends on the kind of music you like...but I am not having much difficulty in finding plenty of great music out there.
 

Vince Maskeeper

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 18, 1999
Messages
6,499
Far from "saving" anything, Nevermind is the masterpiece that ruined rock & roll. By creating a boom market for this stuff, by fostering and quickening an environment in which subterranean musical strains are sucked into the corporate maw, scrubbed clean of warts and tangles, and rendered bland enough for Wal-Mart, Nevermind dealt the underground a crippling blow.
This quote MIGHT have been true in 1994, but certainly not today. Note the author is saying NOT that "rock" was ruined, rather any good underground rock cannot exist as it is quickly snatched up, dumbed down, and sold. This concept that anything true in indie rock is quickly scooped up by a major label and beautified is simply ancient history.
Indie bands are no longer a serious force in the major label marketing game - no more dinners and certainly much less of the majors scurrying around the club scenes trying to find the next Nirvana. Labels no longer snatch up 51% share of every single label run out of a bedroom. All that, in music industry terms, is old news.
As a result, the "underground" of music is once again vital. By losing the element of "trying to get signed"- the idea of indie music has once again focused on doing IT for the sake of IT. The "underground" always existed over the past 10 years- just with varying degrees of passion and true honest music.
Right now it's all on the verge of happening over again. Small indie bands are mounting even package tours (case in point Vagrant record's recent package tour)-- it's begining to smell a bit like Lollapalooza era, pre nirvana. It loks like the culture cycle is burning out the pop/pretty thing-- people are pretty fed up with image and marketing, and I imagine rock bands will be taking over mainstream within the next year or two.
And so in 10 years, someone can claim the underground is ruined by whatever band next emerges from the woods to millions of album sales.
and again and again and again
Vince
------------------
http://www.musicianassist.com
AIM: VinceMaskeeper
Interested in moving into FRONT PROJECTION with huge 6-10 foot widescreen? Buy my whole HDTV-ready CRT based front projection system delivered, cheap! Click here
[Edited last by Vince Maskeeper on September 19, 2001 at 12:39 AM]
 

AaronNWilson

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 28, 2001
Messages
451
I don't think todays music is really that bad at all. In fact some of it is actually quite good.
People idolize Nirvana for some reason, I don't really know why, is it because he committed a drug overdose? That usually seems to gather a strong following.
Anyways I find that the online music sharing community is where you are gonna find a lot of new, exciting and interesting music. I would recommend Kazaa or Morpheus for this as Napster has pretty much bit the bullet.
But beware recordings made by lesser known bands won't sound as suave and may not have balanced guitar volumes compared to vocals. I have found many of the punk/rock bands push their guitar levels way too high over the vocals levels.
The good music is definitely out there if you are willing to search for it.
Aaron
 

Greg_Y

Screenwriter
Joined
Mar 7, 1999
Messages
1,466
When I saw that title on the cover of the EW as I walked away from my mailbox, I thought "Oh no." However, it's a good article, if brief, and hits on many of the same points that Vince does in his post. Nevermind is merely the selling point of the article, used on its anniversary to give a summation about how hard it is for fresh music to break into the corporate-controlled industry.
This Monday, September 24, is the 10 year anniversary of Nevermind. I plan to listen to my MFSL CD a few times to mark the occasion. It's not a perfect album, because no album is perfect and the more I listen to it, the less I like the mix, but it doesn't have 1 clunker in all 13 tracks.
People idolize Nirvana for some reason, I don't really know why, is it because he committed a drug overdose? That usually seems to gather a strong following.
Yes. You're exactly right. In fact, I don't listen to bands that aren't heavily into drugs.
By the way, Nirvana was the band, Kurt Cobain was the singer/guitarist who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
There are many unreleased Nirvana songs that are just as good as the stuff that's been released. Great covers, Kurt originals and live stuff that is sitting in a vault. At the 10 year mark, here's hoping that some of it gets released soon.
 

Grant B

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2000
Messages
3,209
I can't comment on the article, because I didn't read it. But the whole music scene really turned upside down.
I traveled alot in the 90s and always sought out the "left of the dial" stations.... most of the times ended up playing my own tapes.
Then one day , I rented a car in Huntsville AL, turned on the radio and heard the mainstream radio station proclaim itself as, "Huntsville alternative Rock Station!"
Think about it, if alternative is mainstream....then conversely, mainstream is alternative?
Sounds like one of those dumb Star Trek Paradoxes that causes the alien computer to blow up.
But then again, the 50 watt college radio stations never started playing Mariah "pleaze let me take an icepick to my eardrum" Carey, thankgawd
------------------
Why?
Why do you keep hounding me and harassing me and hounding me?
It's not like I don't have anything better to do, you know.
It's not like the Phantom Cruiser is going to wax itself.
It's not like last night's burrito stain will just up and remove itself from my cape.
I am a superhero!
A very very busy superhero! Who does...things!
Now get out of here before I tell your mother.
AND DON'T TRAMPLE MY BEGONIAS!
-Space Ghost..
 

Steve Owen

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 7, 1999
Messages
416
Head Like a Hole by Nine Inch Nails in 1989 almost accomplished what Smells Like Teen spirit did in 1991.
Agreed... certainly Pretty Hate Machine really opened a lot of people to the electronic genre. And though NIN has slowed output of new material, their last album, The Fragile was quite amazing.
In giving this some more thought, I think part of the problem is that I'm now 32, married, with kid, and I don't have the connection to the indie music scene that I once did. Being 10 years removed from college means that I don't have a network of friends who hand me a stack of CDs and say "here, check these bands out!" Many of my friends have gotten "middle aged" in their musical tastes while others are stuck listening to Rush and Pink Floyd while I'm still craving something new.
The death of "local" radio, at least in my area (Boston) has hurt as well. 10-12 years ago when I was going to school in Boston, the "big" local radio stations such as WBCN were still exposing people to lots of local bands worth listening to... Throwing Muses, Heretix, O+, Tribe, Dinosaur Jr., Letters to Cleo, and the like. Now those stations are run by large national companies with tightly controlled playlists. Even the last "alternative" station in Boston, WFNX, has now gone away from playing local and up-coming bands but instead they're playing from the same boring playlists that can be heard across the country on so-called alternative rock stations. And that's when they're even playing music... most of the time their "on-air personaliies" (I won't call them DJs anymore... they're not) are acting like Howard Stern wannabees. Except for local bands that have managed to catch the attention of big record labels, I hear very little local music on the radio anymore.
-Steve
 

John Garcia

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 24, 1999
Messages
11,571
Location
NorCal
Real Name
John
It's not just MTV, it was BIG HAIR! The whole GLAM-ROCK thing is what really killed it.
------------------
All progress is based upon a universal, innate desire on the part of every organism,
to live beyond it's income.
ITRCA ** Speedring (sorry, car guy)
[Edited last by John Garcia on September 19, 2001 at 06:10 PM]
 

Steve Owen

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 7, 1999
Messages
416
It's not just MTV, it was BIG HAIR! The whole GLAM-ROCK thing is what really killed it.
Well if there IS something that Nevermind can be at least partially credited with destroying, it's hair rock. No more Stryper, Poison, Warrant, Cinderella, etc. Good riddance.

I do remember the first time I heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit", and certainly hair rock was already gasping its last breath. The occasion was a concert in Boston by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Opening acts were a then fairly little known Smashing Pumpkins (Gish was out and was burried deep in my CD player) and Pearl Jam (even before 10 was released). I remember the floor errupting into a huge pit when "Teen Spirit" was played over the sound system between acts.
-Steve
 

Camp

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 3, 1999
Messages
2,301
Don't blame Nirvana. It's all MTV's fault!
LOL! Very true. MTV has lost any edge it ever had. TRL is proof enough of that.
My take on the Nirvana phenomenon is that the indie success was bound to happen. It just happened to the wrong band. Nirvana (and Cobain) didn't want to be the flag carrier of indie success. Black Francis of the Pixies, however, did want the level of success Nirvana achieved. He just didn't look as marketable in video as Kurt, Dave, and Krist.
 

AaronNWilson

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 28, 2001
Messages
451
Dang I must have been spaced out when I wrote that. Yes I do know that Nirvana didn't commit a drug overdose, but River Phoenix did, but that really isn't an excuse for not saying that Kurt Cobain shot himself as he so obviously did. Was it a 12 guage?
Aaron
 

Grant B

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2000
Messages
3,209
Did you ever see Kurt & Courtney?
Really unbelievable stuff...the "Note" that kurt left; two very distinct handwritings on it....the 1st part did not even talk about death.
Then I see Courtney at the Oscars in a $$$$$ gown and think to myself, " Kurt would be next to her in torn jeans and Corporate Rock still sucks T Shirt?".....right, no way in hell!
Kurt in an Armani Tux?
------------------
Why?
Why do you keep hounding me and harassing me and hounding me?
It's not like I don't have anything better to do, you know.
It's not like the Phantom Cruiser is going to wax itself.
It's not like last night's burrito stain will just up and remove itself from my cape.
I am a superhero!
A very very busy superhero! Who does...things!
Now get out of here before I tell your mother.
AND DON'T TRAMPLE MY BEGONIAS!
-Space Ghost..
 

Ray R

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 28, 2000
Messages
106
I think more than anything, Nirvana scaried the shit out of the music industry. They realized that they could miss the boat on the next new sound. In response, we now have a "closed" music environment. Radio stations are now owned by only a few companies. They control what gets played.
The other source of music is live local performances. The recording industry controls that side of things by approaching bands just as they are trying to make a name for themselves and are very vulnerable to praise from someone inside the music industry. These bands get locked into contracts early on and are either promoted and move up to the next level or are held in limbo. The bands in limbo are not helped by the label to get to the next level but aren't let go either so they could find a label that is interesting in promoting them. This basically kills the band and the "underground" music scene.
Another thought on this topic is how the efforts by the recording industry to shut down Napster was not only motivated by the piracy of copyrighted material, but the potential for a new business model for exposing people to new music which they could not control.
 

BrianB

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2000
Messages
5,205
So, did Nevermind ruin rock & roll?
Nope.
And alternative rock being dead? Not a chance... Ignore the corporate pap that fills the charts & MTV2 playlist. The indie scene is still as vibrant & important as it ever was. As Vince said, the withdrawl of major label money has made it *stronger* - too many quality indie labels in the past took the Corporate Dollar & paid the penalty (look at Creation to use a British example). Now, they're back doing it for themselves.
I like.
------------------
Nothing In Particular
 

Steve Owen

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 7, 1999
Messages
416
So, can anyone suggest some bands I might like but otherwise might not have heard about (see first message in this thread for my musical tastes). I did some online searching and came across Nebula . Yea, they sound pretty good... to Newbury Comics I go to pick up one of their CDs. Anyone else?
-Steve
 

Mark Pfeiffer

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 27, 1999
Messages
1,339
Steve, I highly recommend Guided By Voices (although keeping up with the sheer number of releases by the group and its many side projects will likely drive you insane if you get into them). Have you heard White Stripes? I really like their most recent album.
The Strokes' album comes out Tuesday. What I've heard of it sounds pretty good. How about Wilco? There are some for starters.
------------------
Read my reviews at www.dvdmon.com
Most recent reviews: Mississippi Mermaid, Un Flic, How to Get Ahead in Advertising: The Criterion Collection, WarGames, Open Your Eyes, Waiting for Guffman, Maelstrom
Most recent column: Panning P&S
 

Graeme Clark

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2000
Messages
2,180
Didn't Rock die in the 70s?
Funny how something that's popular is the thing to blame when everyone else tries to capitalize on it's sucess.
------------------
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
344,871
Messages
4,723,034
Members
141,347
Latest member
DaMovieMaestro