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Photos by Michael Lavine, Text by Thurston Moore
Abrams Image

At 27, I am old enough to have owned a Nirvana album while Kurt Cobain was still alive, but young enough to have never had the chance to see them on anything but MTV Unplugged. The grunge scene was one that appealed to me just as much as punk had; people who didn’t really feel that they belonged anywhere, dressed a step up from the homeless and knew how to make a guitar screech. Yes, I liked Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Mudhoney and the rest of them. Collected in Grunge is a metric shit-ton of black and white photos from both well known and not-so-well-known bands and artists, as well as a bunch of kids out on the streets.

With skateboards, denim vests and shitty haircuts the norm, it’s no wonder parents organizations went apeshit when Nirvana broke huge. Some of these people look like they need serious emotional help. Some (like D’arcy Wretzky of The Smashing Pumpkins) are hot, and some (let’s say Butthole Surfers) just look like dudes who want to party. Now, the pictures do tell a tale, moreso than Thurston Moore’s “text,” which is simply an intro and one-paragraph band bios. I’ve written more on a grocery list. However, as someone who was knee-deep in it, I have to admit, he’s far more the expert than I’ll ever be. This is a textbook in my history of music I care about course. Partially lame, but really damned interesting to look at.

–Jonathan Yost