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What Happened to Grunge?

Frank Micelotta, Getty Images / Tim Mosenfelder, Getty Images
Frank Micelotta, Getty Images / Tim Mosenfelder, Getty Images

In the years immediately following the great grunge explosion of 1991, the entire world seemed to be looking at Seattle.

Few bands were bigger than Nirvana, especially after Nevermind knocked Michael Jackson’s Dangerous from the top of the albums chart. Pearl Jam‘s Ten peaked at No. 2 a few months down the road, and they drew in crowds at the Lollapalooza festival that were bigger than what the headliners did.

Alice in Chains released Dirt on Sept. 29, and Stone Temple Pilots — an alternative rock group from San Diego — released their debut Core the same day. This album was a prime example of the influence that the Pacific Northwest had on rock ‘n’ roll, and several other bands began emerging that emulated a similar style and attitude to that of the grunge bands. In 1993, oversized coats, lace-up boots and flannels were even seen on fashion runways. The influence of grunge on popular culture was profound.

“At a certain point, you can love something to death, or you can strangle the very essence it needs to breathe,” Seattle radio personality Cathy Faulkner told us. “You couldn’t get away from Seattle.”

Like other rock ‘n’ roll revolutions before it, grunge started to experience a waning period in the mid-to-late-1990s. Kurt Cobain tragically died. Alice in Chains went on hiatus, and the members all worked on their own projects. Soundgarden broke up after releasing Down on the Upside in 1996, and Pearl Jam weren’t able to tour in the U.S. for several years because they were boycotting Ticketmaster.

So, what happened to grunge? Find out from various members of the Seattle scene themselves in Episode 4 of our 30 Years of Grunge series below.

What Happened to Grunge?

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