VH1 Classic’s ‘Metal Evolution’ attempts to pinpoint grunge’s true origins
Episode 7 of VH1 Classic’s “Metal Evolution” airs Saturday (Jan. 7) at 10 p.m. EST, and although the show usually features, well, metal acts, this time around, documentarians Sam Dunn and Scott McFadyen inspect the early-‘90s upsurge of grunge and alternative music and subsequent demise of hair metal and glam.
The special features several surviving personalities of grunge — including Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil, Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore — discussing the rise of grunge and, intriguingly, the credit they owe to certain metal groups, such as Led Zeppelin, Blue Öyster Cult and Black Sabbath. Similarly, some metal musicians — notably Rush’s Geddy Lee and Black Sabbath’s Bill Ward — discuss their respect for the Seattle scene and how they assimilated elements of grunge into their own music.
More than anything, the episode examines the Seattle Sound and tries to answer two central questions: “Why did grunge divide the metal community?” and “What are the genuine roots of grunge music?” With the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s “Nevermind” and Pearl Jam’s “Ten” in late 2011 and the impending 20th centenary of Stone Temple Pilots’ “Core” coming up in 2012, all ears are on grunge, and this special attempts to look at the flannel-wearing contingent in a different manner. More personal than punk and cannier than metal, grunge gave rock a last great Golden Era at the end of the 20th century. Popular music has never quite repeated its explosive hybrid of energetic punk, sludgy metal and twisted pop rock.
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