Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil Names ‘The Archetypical Grunge Band’
For each subgenre of rock and metal throughout history, there's usually a handful of bands that represent what it stood for. Kim Thayil of Soundgarden, which is one of the bands most-associated with Seattle grunge, has named which band he thinks is "the archetypal grunge band" — and it's not Nirvana.
Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana and Pearl Jam are often regarded as the four main grunge bands, but there were so many different players involved in the creation of the Seattle music scene during the late 1980s and early 1990s, before Nirvana released Nevermind in 1991. Thayil didn't name any of the aforementioned group as his choice.
"Grunge was this generic label of referred to bands from Seattle in general, but also included bands like Smashing Pumpkins, and Stone Temple Pilots get thrown in with grunge a lot — they were in L.A. and Pumpkins were in Chicago. There's certainly a cultural aesthetic that we shared with all those bands, but I think musically, the idea of a big power chord that's all fuzzy and distorted," Thayil told Lifeminute.
"I think Nirvana might embody the musical identity of grunge, maybe — the band that'd best embody grunge, I would think, is Mudhoney, Mudhoney's sound, and their style and attitude. That's, that's like the archetypal grunge band."
Watch the full interview below.
Mark Arm formed Mudhoney after the dissolvement of his former band Green River. Mudhoney were one of the early bands that worked with Sub Pop Records, along with Nirvana and Soundgarden, although the latter moved on to SST Records shortly after the release of their first single "Hunted Down."
For our 30 Years of Grunge video series, which came out last year, Thayil told us that Buzz Osborne of Melvins taught drop tuning to him and Arm, so they learned how to create the brooding guitar sounds associated with grunge together.