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The movement of the early 1990's known as grunge was a music category as well as a lifestyle. It began in the Pacific Northwest, by a generation of disillusioned youth. They were frustrated with life and looking for some way to let it out. The music was influenced by metal and punk with heavy power chords and raspy hard edged vocals. It became known as grunge music. It exploded nation wide in the early 90's with the new found fame of the bands Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam. Seattle was a haven for grunge music and the lifestyle surrounding it. Bands like Nirvana and the Melvins from Aberdeen, Washington they were influenced mainly by punk. The front man of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, had an unstable childhood after his parents divorced when he was eight. In school he was antisocial and didn't fit the macho stereotype imposed on Aberdeen male youth.

He liked to listen to music, create art, and smoke pot. He dropped out of school in the 12th grade. After huge success with his band Nirvana, he became labeled as the hero of his generation. He developed a heroin addiction and in April of 1994 he died, a frustrated victim of his notoriety and a self-inflicted shotgun blast. Alice in Chains was formed in 1987 and was mostly influenced by metal. Their ominous, brooding sound was a sharp contrast to the pop rock and power ballads of hair bands like Guns n Roses. There had been no band like them before, and many influenced by them after. The lead singer, Layne Staley, wrote intensely personal lyrics about his heroin addiction, especially in songs like "Junk head" and "Angry Chair". In 1998 the band went on an open ended hiatus; many say it was due to Staley's addiction.

The bands of the grunge era were anti-rock stars with punk values. They didn't want to be labeled as anything and didn't want to sellout and become corporate rock. The rise of grunge music ended the era of hair bands. Some say the decline of grunge was due to the death of Kurt Cobain, others say it was when Soundgarden broke up in 1995. The only grunge band that has survived the decade selling millions of albums is Pearl Jam, they continue to tour and perform though the grunge era is over. I have learned that music is not always made for money or fame, the bands of the grunge era made music to express themselves and for their love of music.

Bibliographies: Guitar World Magazine, October 2001 Guitar World Magazine, November 1999 TV: Vh1 News Special; Grunge