A harsh, harrowing, gritty examination of Seattle's finest rockers.
When most music fans think “grunge,” they justifiably think Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, not necessarily in that order. With this massive oral history, former Blender senior editor Yarm also hips readers to such bands as the U-Men, Cat Butt and TAD. Because the bands' respective members are so engaging and insightful during their interviews, readers will probably fire up their iTunes to find out what these groups were about—which, we discover, was fearlessness. Their music was punk-soaked, angry and defiantly off-kilter, and they weren't afraid to set a stage on fire, incite a crowd or imbibe everything that could be imbibed. Readers will also learn about the semi-rises and painful falls of groups like Mother Love Bone, the Melvins and Screaming Trees through the voices of Mark Lanegan and Buzz Osborne, among many others who tell one hell of a story. The book is at once celebratory and heartbreaking, but what takes it to the next level are its underlying themes, specifically those of jealousy and self-abuse. At the beginning of the grunge movement—important note: Everybody in Seattle hated the word “grunge”—there was a familial, supportive atmosphere that went out the window once certain bands experienced what their rivals/brethren believed to be undeserved success. (Suffice it to say that it's probably best not to mention Candlebox to any Seattle-ite music nerd.) The number of drug-related deaths in the scene was such that one would assume lessons would have been learned. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case: Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr—one of the narrative’s most memorable voices—died of an overdose soon after the book was completed, a sad coda to a book that pays homage the beauty and horror of modern rock.
Yarm's affectionate, gossipy, detailed look at the highs and lows of the contemporary Seattle music scene is one of the most essential rock books of recent years.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)