Originating Location: Seattle, WA
Originating Era: early 1980s, came to nationwide promenience in the early 1990s
A style of music with heavy distortion that grew out of the Pacific Northwest. Grunge was based on punk and hardcore punk bands as well as the garage sound of the sixties, particularly acts like The Wailers and The Sonics. Other influences included locally the Fastbacks, The Accused, The Fartz, The Melvins and The Wipers, and non-locally, Bad Brains, Pixies, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Hüsker Dü and Black Flag. The scene had been growing throughout the 1980s in that region of the country, and ended up breaking nationally about 1991. It was at the top of the heap for a few years, although it went back under as things started to fall apart, with both the cyclical nature of the record industry/people's tastes, and the suicide of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain. Also, the anti-mainstream attitude of many of the bands is seen to contribute, as there were sometimes calls of "sell-out" when bands would break nationally -- which was a bit of a Catch 22. The music continues to be influential in the sound of modern and mainstream rock, however.