10 Insane Grunge Tales: Cobain & Vedder Slow Dance & More

FUSE TV - 10 Insane Grunge Tales: Cobain & Vedder Slow Dance & More

If the continuum of 1990s music had to be condensed to a single word, it would be, for better or worse, grunge. As Mark Yarm, author of Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge, writes, it's "the term that bedeviled and, let's face it, benefited (at least temporarily) many a Seattle rock musician." Yarm spent more than three years researching this definitive tome, interviewing more than 250 of the major and obscure figures of the scene. We don't have enough space to share all the amazing stories in the book, so we forced Yarm at flannel-point to share his 10 best in his own words. From bloody tampons to murder accusations, he did not disappoint.

Related: Listen to our Obscure Grunge Spotify Playlist and check out our Classic Grunge Photo Gallery    

10. The U-Men Light a Moat on Fire
The U-Men at the time started in the early 1980s in Seattle and were one of the bands that other groups looked up to. They were big players in the scene for a while and had a crazy manager who would dream up these stunts like wrestling or handing out barf bags. You never knew what might happen at a given show. They performed at the Bumbershoot Festival in 1985 and there was a moat and they put lighter fluid in the water and lit it on fire. [Singer] John Bigley came out with a torch and the flames were pretty impressive. You can see pictures in the book. Bigley said there were arrests and people screaming, and they had to hightail it out of there in this converted school bus that was pink and phallic-looking. It’s gone down as one of the all-time great stunts in Seattle punk rock.

9. Kurt Cobain Gets Pushed Out at Reading Festival in Wheelchair
Everett True was the journalist that Sub Pop famously flew over in 1989 to document the scene. They got him drunk and he wrote what they told him to write and he admits now that he didn’t have journalistic chops at the time. He was happy to buy into the myth of Sub Pop that all these guys were backwoodsman, uncultured brutes making this primal music. At 1992’s Reading Festival, he ended up pushing Kurt out in a wheelchair with Kurt wearing a hospital smock with a blonde wig, which was Everett’s. There were so many rumors about Kurt's condition and life—his daughter Francis was an addict baby; he was dying or a hopeless junkie—it was a reaction to the health scare and spoke to the sense of humor of the scene. Everyone in the band said that performance made things better for a while. It was transcendent.

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