Category: grunge

On this day in music history: October 8, 1991 – “Badmotorfinger”, the third album by Soundgarden is released. Produced Soundgarden and Terry Date, it is recorded at Studio D in Sausalito, CA, Bear Creek Studios in Woodinville, WA, and A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA from March – April 1991. The Seattle based bands second major label album is the first to feature new bassist Ben Shepherd, replacing Jason Everman (who leaves to join Mind Funk). it spins off three singles including “Outshined”, “Rusty Cage” and “Jesus Christ Pose”. The album becomes their most successful to date and helps break the grunge rock movement from its cult underground following into mainstream popularity. When Soundgarden lands a slot on the second Lollapalooza Tour in 1992, the album adds a limited edition five song EP titled “Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas” (or SOMMS) featuring covers of rock and new wave classics. The album also receives a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance in 1992, with their cover of Black Sabbath’s “Into The Void (Sealth)” on the “SOMMS” EP receiving a nomination in the same category in 1993. To commemorate the twenty fifth anniversary of the albums’ release, it is remastered and reissued in November of 2016. It is reissued as a standard single CD, a two disc deluxe edition and as an elaborate limited Super Deluxe box set edition. The box contains three CD’s with the first two consisting of the original twelve song album and sixteen bonus tracks. The third disc features a full live performance recorded at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, WA on March 6, 1992. The full concert is also included on a DVD packaged with the set, and a second DVD featuring the “Motorvision” home video release from 1992, originally issued only on VHS tape. It also includes additional live performances, with the original music videos for “Outshined”, “Rusty Cage” and “Jesus Christ Pose”. The final disc is a Blu-ray disc including the full album in high resolution audio and remixed into 5.1 surround sound. The lavish box also comes with a fifty two page booklet, fully annotated with rare photos and new artwork. Other collectible artifacts come with the set, which is housed in a 14" x 14" box that comes emblazoned with the album cover logo which is battery powered and spins when switched on. The album is also reissued as a double 180 gram vinyl LP set. “Badmotorfinger” peaks at number thirty nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: September 24, 1991 – “Nevermind”, the second album by Nirvana is released. Produced by Butch Vig, it is recorded at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA, Smart Studios in Madison, WI and Devonshire Studios in North Hollywood, CA from April 1990, May – June 1991. Releasing their debut album “Bleach” on Seattle based indie label Sub Pop in 1989, Nirvana are disappointed when it sells only 40,000 copies initially. Deciding that the only way to reach a wider audience is to sign with a major label, the band are courted by several labels, but eventually sign with Geffen Records subsidiary DGC Records. Working previously with engineer and producer Butch Vig in 1990, he is chosen to produced their second album. With exception of the track “Polly” (recorded at Smart Studios in Madison, WI in April 1990), the bulk of Nirvana’s major label debut is recorded in Southern California during the Spring of 1991. When the album is originally mastered, engineer Howie Weinberg accidentally leaves off the final track “Endless, Nameless”, which was tacked on the end of the master tape, proceeded by ten minutes of blank leader tape in between. The mistake isn’t caught until after the first press run of CD’s and cassettes are manufactured. The first 20,000 copies of “Nevermind” exclude the hidden track, but is corrected on all future pressings. When it is released, initial expectations are low with only 46,251 copies being shipped. Thanks to the breakout success of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (#6 Pop), the album reaches gold status in under thirty days, and platinum two weeks after that. It spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200 on January 11, 1992. The massive and unexpected success of the album affects a major sea change in not only the music industry, but in popular culture with the rise of the grunge music phenomenon of the early to mid 90’s. To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of its release in 2011, “Nevermind” is remastered and reissued as a four CD + DVD deluxe edition. Reissued on vinyl numerous times since its initial limited release in 1991, it is most recently remastered and released as a 180 gram LP in 2017. Another limited edition LP, pressed on grey vinyl is issued as an exclusive through big box retailer Target in 2019. “Nevermind” is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, receiving a Diamond Certification.

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On this day in music history: August 27, 1991 – “Ten”, the debut album by Pearl Jam is released. Produced by Rick Parashar and Pearl Jam, it is recorded at London Bridge Studios in Seattle, WA from March 27 – April 26, 1991. Formed out of the ashes of bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossards’ former band Mother Love Bone, the new band record their first album in just one month, Initially, the album gets off to a very slow start, languishing in record stores for many months until they pick up support from college radio and from touring relentlessly in support of it. It eventually spins off a total of five singles including “Alive” (#16 Mainstream Rock), “Evenflow” (#3 Mainstream Rock) and “Jeremy” (#5 Mainstream Rock). The success of the album establishes them among the most high profile of the grunge rock movement spearheaded by bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains. In 2009, “Ten” is reissued in four different editions including a remastered version of the original album, Deluxe, Vinyl and Super Deluxe edition with a bonus DVD of the band’s MTV Unplugged performance from 1992. It is remastered and reissued as a double vinyl LP set in 2014 (featuring the original and remixed versions of the album) on coke bottle green clear vinyl limited to 2,000 copies, as an exclusive through Pearl Jam’s fan club, and retailer Newbury Comics. “Ten” spends four weeks at number two (non-consecutive) on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 13x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.

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On this day in music history: August 21, 1990 – “Facelift”, the debut album by Alice In Chains is released. Produced by Dave Jerden, it is recorded at London Bridge Studio in Seatte, WA and Capitol Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA from December 1989 – April 1990. Having gone through number of different line ups and name changes prior to recording their first album, the Seattle, WA based grunge rock band attracts major label interest based on the strength of their demo tape “The Treehouse Tapes” which they have been selling at their live shows. Their managers send a copy to Sony A&R man Nick Terzo, who in turn plays it for his boss Don Ienner. Columbia Records quickly sign them and make them a top priority. Prior to the sessions, drummer Sean Kinney breaks his hand but record with the band in spite of the injury. It spins off four singles including “Man In The Box” (#18 Mainstream Rock), “Sea Of Sorrow” (#27 Mainstream Rock), and “We Die Young”. The album sells slowly at first, until the video for “Man” goes into heavy rotation on MTV, giving the band widespread exposure. This makes Alice In Chains the first of the Seattle grunge rock bands to breakthrough (ahead of contemporaries like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam) on a commercial basis. “Facelift” peaks at number forty two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: June 15, 1989 – “Bleach”, the debut album by Nirvana is released. Produced by Jack Endino, it is recorded at Reciprocal Recording in Seattle, WA from December 1988 – January 1989. The first album by the Aberdeen, WA grunge rock band is recorded in only thirty hours of studio time at a cost of only $606.17. Second guitarist Jason Everman finances the recording of the album in spite of not playing a note on it. Guitarist/songwriter and lead singer Kurt Cobain credits him anyway as a gesture of thanks. Issued on small Seattle indie rock label Sub Pop Records, the album sells about 40,000 copies during its initial release, but rises significantly in prominence following Nirvana’s hugely successful second album “Nevermind” in 1991. “Bleach” finally charts on the Billboard Top 200 in 1992 peaking at #89. It tops the Catalog album sales chart on May 7, 1994 one month after Kurt Cobain’s death. A limited number of copies of the original LP release are pressed on white vinyl. Subsequent reissues are pressed on numerous colors including marbled pink, clear red, swirled aqua blue, marbled bottle green, marbled purple. In 2009, the album is remastered and reissued for its twentieth anniversary. The LP configuration is issued as a double vinyl set  (exclusively sold through retailer Newbury Comics) featuring a live performance recorded at the Pine Street Theatre in Portland, OR in February of 1990. The LP’s also also pressed in multiple colors including white, blue marbled black and purple marbled black. “Bleach” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love photographed by Dora Handel, 1992. 

On this day in music history: May 28, 1991 – “Gish”, the debut album by The Smashing Pumpkins is released. Produced by Butch Vig and Billy Corgan, it is recorded at Smart Studios in Madison, WI from December 1990 – March 1991. The debut release by the Chicago, IL based alternative rock band stands apart from many of their musical peers. Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Billy Corgan is more influenced by bands such as post punk pioneers The Cure and New Order as well as progressive rock and heavy metal, rather than the punk and noise rock roots many other alt-rock bands. The band team up with producer and engineer Butch Vig (Garbage, Nirvana), recording at his small recording studio in Madison, WI. Recorded for a modest budget of only $20,000, Corgan’s fanatical drive for sonic perfection puts an immense strain on himself and the band resulting in him suffering a nervous breakdown during the sessions. Released on Caroline Records (independently distributed, but owned by Virgin Records), it is embraced immediately by college and alternative rock radio, selling over 100,000 copies in its first year. The album is remastered and reissued as a two CD + DVD set in 2011. The first CD features the original ten song album. The second CD features eighteen bonus tracks, including demos, and remixed versions of other tracks. The DVD includes a live concert performance filmed at The Metro in Chicago on August 25, 1990. It also included a twenty-four page booklet annotated by writer and music critic David Wild and Billy Corgan. The album is also remastered and reissued as a180 gram vinyl LP. “Gish” peaks at number one hundred ninety five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 12, 1994 – “Live Through This”, the second album by Hole is released. Produced by Paul Q. Kolderie and Sean Slade, it is recorded at Triclops Sound Studios in Marietta, GA from October 8 – 30, 1993. The follow up to the band’s acclaimed debut “Pretty On The Inside”, the band work with Paul Q. Kolderie and Sean Slade (Pixies, Dinosaur Jr.). The album sees them shifting to a more accessible sound but maintaining their punk and noise rock roots. Released one week after the death of Courtney Love’s husband Kurt Cobain, it is a critical and commercial success, spinning off three singles including “Miss World” and “Doll Parts”. Rumors persist after the albums release and for many years afterward, that Cobain actually wrote all of the songs. This is vehemently denied by everyone associated with the making of the album. The albums memorable cover art features a photo of model Leilani Bishop dressed as a beauty pageant contestant, with mascara running down her face from crying. The back cover features a childhood photo of Courtney Love, with the albums individual titles written on Dymo labeling tape. “Live Through This” peaks at number fifty two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Remembering rock music icon Kurt Cobain (born Kurt Donald Cobain in Aberdeen, WA) – February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994

On this day in music history: March 27, 1995 – “Frogstomp”, the debut album by Silverchair is released. Produced by Kevin “Caveman” Shirley, it is recorded at Festival Studios in Pyrmont, New South Wales, Australia from December 27, 1994 – January 17, 1995. Formed only three years before as Death Rides A Sandwich (before changing their name), the Australian rock trio consisting of guitarist and lead vocalist Daniel Johns, bassist Chris Joannu, and drummer Ben Gillies, get their big break in 1994 when they enter a demo competition conducted by the television show “Nomad” and Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio station Triple J. When they win the competition they are signed to Murmur Records (an Australian subsidiary of Sony Music), and are signed to Epic Records throughout the rest of the world. Their debut album is recorded in just three weeks, all of the members are only fifteen years old at the time of its release. It is an immediate hit on alternative and mainstream rock radio, spinning off five singles including “Tomorrow” (#1 Alternative and Mainstream Rock). “Frogstomp” hits number one on the Australian album chart (going 9x Platinum), peaking at number nine on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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