Now this is GRUNGE, you sons of bitches! Yes, Nirvana did a great job doing the grunge thing, but “Touch Me, I’m Sick” is what defined the sound … all the way back in 1988. This is Mudhoney’s debut single on Sub Pop and it’s every bit the classic people claim it is. The fact that it’s 25 years old makes me feel very very old this evening.
One of the best music books of the last 10-15 years is Michael Azerrad’s history of American alternative rock from 1981-1991, “Our Band Could Be Your Life.” Released in 2001 and available in digital format within the next day or so, “Life” is the college radio version of “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” (Peter Biskind’s exhaustive and stellar look at Hollywood of the 1970s). Azerrad devotes each chapter to a different seminal band of the period (Mission of Burma, Butthole Surfers, The Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Big Black, Hüsker Dü, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Mudhoney, The Replacements, Beat Happening, and Dinosaur Jr.). Some of the stories you may know … others you won’t. But if you have any interest at all in rock history (especially alternative / progressive rock), “Life” is a must. The chapter on the Butthole Surfers by itself is worth the price of the entire book. Seriously, the chapter reads like Hunter S. Thompson smoking angel dust with Monty Python with chaos, insanity, humor, and violence ensuing like a motherf–ker!