As Charles Darwin so famously pointed out way back when, a big part of survival is adapting to your environment. So when Nirvana’s Nevermind was released in 1991 and threatened to wipe out metal for good, it was time for a few changes. Some bands went on hiatus or even disbanded; others began to experiment with their sound, incorporating grunge and alternative influences. The result was a mixed bag – a few albums were actually pretty successful. Others? Not so much.
As he is quick to point out, Bruce Pavitt had a front row seat to one of rock’s most exciting periods. In 1986 the Chicago native formed the influential indie label Sub Pop Records to chronicle the louder than love sounds of his adopted hometown of Seattle, Washington. Along with partner Jonathan Poneman they released seminal recordings from such groups as Soundgarden (whose lead guitarist Kim Thayil is a childhood friend), Mudhoney and most famously Nirvana, whom Pavitt is said to have personally signed. The latter two bands are the subjects of Pavitt’s new book, Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989, available now from Bazillion Points Books. The book chronicles in photos and text Nirvana’s 1989 tour of Europe with label mates Tad, leading up to their career making appearance at the Lame Fest Sub Pop UK Showcase in London with headliners Mudhoney. Bruce Pavitt spoke to us about grunge’s golden era and the groundbreaking record label he left in 1996 but still maintains close ties to. Read more…
Keith Richards’ Wailing Guitar
John Lennon’s murder by a fan fresh in his mind, The Rolling Stones resident outlaw wasn’t having it when a fan jumped on stage. Thankfully Fender Telecasters are among the more durable guitars on the market.
Axl Rose Attacks Fan, Starts Riot
The mighty mouth of Guns N’ Roses is known for his mercurial temperament and this night really, really did not want having his picture taken. The ensuing melee led to a massive riot for which Rose was later arrested but not convicted for inciting.
What’s in a name? A whole bunch, that’s for sure! Even though it might not change one note of the music, a rock band’s name can be crucial to their success. Like changing the cover of a classic album, it’s pretty weird to think of an alternate musical universe where band’s went with their early choice for a name. Can you image running out to buy the latest hit record from Pen Cap Chew, Mookie Blaylock, or On A Friday? Well, that wasn’t far from reality!
Rock clubs are frequently noisy, smelly, dark and cramped…and we wouldn’t have it any other way! Music history is born out of these crowded and smokey venues, where tomorrow’s megastars are today’s opening act, struggling to be heard over a drunk dude’s repeated request for “Free Bird.” The recent film CBGB paid tribute to the eponymous NYC rock spot, which gave us dozens of timeless bands before closing in 2006. This got us thinking of some other incredible joints that have earned their spot in rock mythology. Read on to see our picks for the 10 most legendary rock clubs of all time!
In the classic song “Rock And Roll” Lou Reed, who died this week at the age of 71, sang of a girl named Jenny who’s “Life was saved by rock and roll.” Many would say Lou Reed’s music did the same for them. The Godfather of punk wrote about drug addicts, drag queens, and other denizens of New York’s underworld and basically created the idea and many of the sonic hallmarks of alternative rock with his band The Velvet Underground. Though a distinct vocalist and innovative guitar player, it is his songwriter that he will be most remembered for. The list of classics he penned is staggering; “Heroin,” “Pale Blue Eyes,” “Sweet Jane” and “Walk On The Wild Side” to name but a few. One of the qualities of a great song is that it can be reinterpreted by different artists and still remain true to its musical essence and many of Reed’s numbers have found their ways into the repertoires of some of rock’s biggest bands. Check out some of music’s most awesome, unusual and unknown Lou Reed covers and see why fans are still mourning his death.
TLC week keeps rolling on as we get closer and closer to the premiere of CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story this Monday at 9 PM/8C on VH1! We’ve already told you all about the records shattered by T-Boz, Chili and Left Eye, but now let’s see how they stack up among the other uber- famous hit-making trios in the musical galaxy!
The ’90s were a simpler, grungier time where a riot grrl could find love with a Beastie Boy and where the hottest thing a woman could do was sling on a guitar and sing about her feelings. The 10 couples on this list not only made music that defined an era, but their stories defined our early romantic fantasies and gave us intense cautionary tales.
Tomorrow sees the release of a very special box set that celebrates the 20th anniversary of Nirvana‘s third and final studio album, In Utero. The “Super Deluxe Box Set” is filled with over 70 remastered, remixed, rare and unreleased recordings, including B-sides, compilation tracks, never-before-heard demos and live material. Part of the live material that is included is footage of the band’s legendary 1993 Live And Loud performance, and VH1 is excited to share some never before seen rehearsal footage of that show with you today. Above, we have video of the band rehearsing “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter,” and below, footage of “Very Ape” (including a moment where Kurt Cobain gets behind the drum kit).