I confess. I never was a grunge music fan. Sure, I know who Kurt Cobain and Nirvana were. I’m aware that Pearl Jam is still jamming. But ask me to name any of their songs and all you’ll get is silence.

grunge seattle

I guess you could say that the grunge music movement passed me by. But when I was offered an advanced copy of Grunge Seattle to review, I jumped at the chance. I figured it would offer a glimpse of the rough and tough Seattle of yesteryear; a Seattle that existed before espresso, microbrews, and Microsoft took center stage.

And that’s just what author Justin Henderson provides. The story of Grunge Seattle travels around the basements, bars, and garages of the city’s suburbs, defining the sound and the attitude of the key players.

Grunge Seattle Park BenchBut it offers more than just a fascinating music history lesson. The book is also a travel guide, mapping out locations of the places, bars, and recording studios that featured prominently during this time.

Sadly, some main grunge locations, such as the Rainbow Tavern,  are no longer standing. But there are still plenty for grunge music fans to see, including the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum and Hall of FameCrocodile Cafe (the main grunge venue of the time) on 2nd Avenue and Blanchard Street,  and the park bench opposite Kurt Cobain’s old house in Veretti Park where fans have carved out messages. 

Grunge Seattle is a must read, not only for die hard grunge music fans, but for anyone with an interest in the evolution of American music.

Published by the Roaring Forties Press, Grunge Seattle is the first in The Music Place Series of books that will spotlight the relationship between musicians and the cities they call home.  Forthcoming books in this series include Jimi Hendrix’s London, The Kinks’ London, and Bob Dylan’s New York.