Hype! (1996) - full transcript

The world of grunge. This documentary examines the Seattle scene as it became the focus of a merging of punk rock, heavy metal, and innovation. Building from the grass roots, self-promoted and self-recorded until break-out success of bands like Nirvana brought the record industry to the Pacific Northwest, a phenomenon was born. More than just an examination of the music, this is a look at how this artistic movement became a societal and fashion trend with a major effect on American culture.

It is,
for better or worse...

Seattle-based bands

have topped the world charts

for the past few years.
Nirvana, Pearl Jam,

and Soundgarden
have sold millions of records.

to a major label debut...

...musical movements
centered around Seattle

in a sound and style
that became known as grunge.

A month before
that album came out,

they were...

...the basis
of the generation

of... X societies.

How does
the grunge movement,

as I understand it,
is the fact that these kids

have the ability to say
anything they want to say,

express anything
they want to express,

any anger, any pain,
any anguish, any torment,

and they feel
a kinship, a oneness,

that this young man
has been through, tragedy...

Thanks a lot.
This is gonna be the last song.

♪ Enough of your doctrines ♪

♪ Your manifestos ♪

♪ I'm a simple man ♪

♪ I speak with simple words ♪

.1' Talk about inclusion
Not exclusion ♪

♪ I sing my song ♪

♪ Across these rivers,
Valleys, mountains, seas ♪

♪ Fields, oceans ♪

♪ I'm a teacher ♪

♪ You're a teacher too ♪

♪ I'm a pencil-pusher ♪

♪ I'm a ditch digger
I'm a loser ♪

♪ Let's start a riot ♪

♪ Under the night air ♪

those big bubbles

that used to float
through the middle of town?


- These big bubbles, man.
- Yeah, they still do.

Yeah, you see them
once in a while.

They've got this
big pit out in the bay,

and it's like all,
like this weird shit

and it comes out of
the process, and the way...

the bubbles they're like this
big and they'd float around

and they were bad toxic things.
So, the way they get rid of it

is they got these
big water sprinklers

and they just like run
sprinklers over it to pop them...

But a bubble still
gets out once in a while.

They're huge, they're like...

Like bubble of death.

I went to Bothell High School
which was a suburban hell-hole.

Um, there's a sign
as you enter town that says,

'Welcome to Bothell
for a day or a lifetime'

and someone...

I wish I had done it,

but someone erased
the B-O-T at one time

so it was 'Welcome to hell
for a day or a lifetime'.

The Northwest
is where flying saucers,

the term
"flying saucers" was coined.

And the Northwest
is where Louie Louie's from,

the Northwest is where...

it's the serial killer
capital of the world.

I mean, we have more unsolved
serial killings up here

than any other place
in the United States.

I mean, the Manson family
used to vacation up this way.

This place is weird.
A lot of occult stuff.

All this stuff is a factor
in what happened in the music.

I mean,
when the weather's crappy,

you don't wanna go outside.

You know, you basically feel
like staying in the house

and, uh...

it's a very logical thing to
wanna go down into your basement

and, you know, make noise
to take out your frustrations

because you can't go outside

and do anything
when it's raining all the time.

♪ Don't get off the bus ♪

♪ Cause there ain't
Nothing for you here ♪

♪ Singin' my hometown... ♪

Is Seattle
a nice place to live?

It's the best place to live.

And I've traveled
all over the place

and I honestly wouldn't
live anywhere else.

It has all the amenities
of a big city, but...

you know, there's nothing
you're missing out on

by being in Seattle
as opposed to another city.

And it's pretty, you know,

there's hills and mountains
and trees and water.

all these people come here

and then there's
all this publicity

and Northern Exposure

and Twin Peaks
and all this stuff

and everyone wants
to come up here

and live
the good yuppie lifestyle

but all the time
there's all these people

that are underneath
that were here first

and they're just starving
and they're all crazy.

I mean, it's like one of those
end of the world places

you can't go no further
and still be in the US.

In 1980...

I think bands
stopped coming to Seattle.

Bands never used to come here.

They'd go as far as
San Francisco and then not...

not come all the way up to Seattle

because it wasn't
worth it to play one show.

There were two,
maybe two and a half clubs

where you could play if you
were playing your own music.

Some people
used to rent halls,

just put their
whole show on themselves,

take tickets,
run up do the music

and at the end pick up
the broom and clean it up.

♪ Let me call you about it ♪

♪ Woke up this morning... ♪

Well, Seattle was really lame,

you know, specifically,
in the early '80s,

I mean, Seattle was like
a million second cities.

It had a fake Talking Heads,
it had a fake Pere Ubu,

it had a fake Killing Joke,

it had all the fake Ramones
you could shake a stick at,

you know,
and people from Bellevue

singing with English accents.

There was
this big poodle metal scene.

Bands with, um,
big fancy guitars and...

just tons and tons
of hairspray, eyeliner...

See, all the extra
sleazy punk rockers

used to hang out
on First Avenue.

There was
a donut shop right there

which was right next to
The Showbox

which is right there.
It's a comedy club now.

And that was like the big
punk rock venue.

Opening night,

the very first
punk club in Seattle.

This is probably worth,

you know, three,
four hundred bucks.

Nobody was
too worried about success

because we knew we were
living in Seattle,

you know, it wasn't LA,

nobody was gonna
come and sign us...

You played a show
in some small club...

the audience
consisted of members

of the other dozen or so
bands that were playing

similar bills
and similar clubs...

The bands
that stuck it out

did it because they
really, really, really enjoyed

playing their music

and that was really the only

positive reinforcement
that anybody got.

We really started
playing music cause it's fun

which probably most people say

but with us, it's true.

- Yeah, everybody else is lying.
- Everybody else is lying.

♪ After all the
Trouble's come and gone ♪

♪ It was here for so long ♪

♪ Now I've got
This sinking feeling ♪

♪ Everyone seems to be leaving ♪

♪ Oh, whoa, oh ♪

♪ And I can't believe how
Lonely it is here on K Street ♪

♪ There's no one like me
Here on K Street ♪

♪ How lonely it is
Here on K Street today ♪

♪ Today, today, today ♪

I've never been in
any other spot in the country

where so many
people played, you know?

You know, there's tons
of shitty bands and there's...

but there's, like,
tons of great bands too and...

The most interesting
music around here

is definitely coming from
places where people are

just playing in their garage,
they're playing to themselves

or playing to their friends.

Across the street,
lives these guys

who are in a band called
Sisters Sidekick,

then there's another brand
who practices there

and they're all friends
and then Her Fault,

my little brother's band...

and they're all friends.

They go to the show,
it's just friends playing music.

♪ I can't believe how lonely
It is here on K Street ♪

♪ There's no one like me
Here on K Street ♪

♪ How lonely it is
Here on K Street today ♪

♪ Today, today, today ♪

♪ Today, today, today, today ♪

We're all so
fucking bored out of our heads

that it was
get drunk, fall down,

and, uh, you know,
throw your body around

and all the bands that came
through Seattle at that time

Scratch Acid and Big Black

said that Seattle had
the most exciting, potent scene

going on in the US,
they all loved to play here

because everyone would
just like go nuts

and drink themselves
into a frenzy

and throw themselves on stage

and it was very flattering
for these bands, you know,

whereas you go to
Los Angeles and New York

and people stood there and went,

"Hmm, I don't know.
He missed a note there."

Best bands in Seattle were like

The U-Men, who else?

Skin Yard, My High, Feast,
64 Spiders, Bundle of Hiss...

Nobody ever
remembers Psycho Pop, man.

We could make a long list

if you wanna talk
about all Tom's bands.

We were a good band, man.

We had
a band called The Fartz.

Red Dress, Blackouts...

The Blackouts
were an excellent band,

you know, Free Swimmers,

Little Bears from Bangkok,
Max Band, Quack Quack Quack.

Nobody knows these names,
this is ancient history!

One generation out from a band
is every band that shared

a member directly
with that band.

For instance, you know
Stone Gossard was in Green River

and then he went
to Mother Love Bone,

like that's one generation out.

So, for instance, you could
take like an early band

like The Blunt Objects

and it asks you
how many generations.

Let's go four generations out.

Um, so you sort of have
these three columns;

the mainstream, heavy metal,
hard rock thing that, you know,

Mother Love Bone
and Pearl Jam have done.

Then there's the Fast Backs,
the Posies and, uh,

The Young Fresh Fellows,
which were probably

the first band to really
make it out of Seattle

all by themselves
without moving out of town.

And they were just,
you know, sort of a pop sound.

And then the third branch
is the noise/grunge rock.

That was closely related
to Green River and Mudhoney

and The Thrown Ups,

all sort of Sub Pop,
you know, grunge sound

and it's pretty incestuous

but you keep bumping
into the same old people.

Green River.

This was the genesis right here,

Steve and Mark from Mudhoney

and Stone and Jeff
from Pearl Jam

and Alex who's now
studying to be a lawyer.

Room Nine
became Love Battery,

Bundle of Hiss became TAD,

Pure Joy became Flop,

Skin Yard, among other things,
became, uh, Gruntruck,

Jesse Bernstein who's dead.

Watch folks,
hundreds of dollars.

Don was in Butt Sweat

and, uh, they played
at one skate contest.

And you were too,
Tom, don't leave that out.


And he was also
in the Kings of Rock...

so was Jim Tillman from...
ex of Love Battery

What? Jim Tillman
wasn't in Butt Sweat?

He played rhythm guitar.

- Did he?
- Yeah.


Remember friends,
this is only a movie,

you're free to leave the
theater at any time.

Someone said to me once
that there was

the aesthetic of dumb about
the Seattle music scene

that the music
wasn't stupid but it was dumb,

you know, Mudhoney's not stupid
but they're a little bit dumb.

My mom has always told me
that I'm not a loser,

so the whole loser thing,
I never believed in

'cause clearly, I'm not a loser

and Mark, I think your mom
has told you the same thing?

We're not losers.

I guess it's really easy
to think of yourself as a loser

'cause then you don't care
if people like you or not.

You know,
that's sort of the idea,

and then you can do
whatever you want.

And it's funny.

We were the guy in high school
who people used to beat up.

And we couldn't even talk
to the pretty girl.

I mean, we couldn't...
we're nerds, goddammit!

Well, I think ever since
Spinal Tap came out,

I mean, they were like
pointing the finger at bloated,

overly commercialized,
deluded bands,

and, uh,
we just looked at ourselves,

said well we don't have to point
at somebody else, we can...

When you've been
through periods where you've had

keyboard players with 50,000
pounds worth of kit onstage

and 82 keyboards and 95 samplers

you know, uh,
after a while you just go,

"Hang on, this is like eating
too much food at one sitting,

it's too much sounds,
it's too many colors,

it's... it's all got
poncy and posy,

um, let's go and see some bands
where they just bash it out."

♪ Eat my dump ♪

♪ Tell me that you love me ♪

♪ Eat my dump ♪

♪ Help me smell my pie ♪

Some bands get on stage

and they're,
they're basically entertainers,

they have, you know,
they have a shtick,

they are giving you a show.

Some bands get up there
and they rock,

and you can tell the difference.

That's why Seattle bands
tend to be a little bit

inconsistent live, I think,

is because most of them
aren't really up there

to be entertainers,
they're up there to rock out,

And their best shows are when
they're having the most fun.

Not when they necessarily
have their act down

because maybe they
don't have an act.

If it's connecting with the
audience right, I get chills.

- I mean, I can just,
- Yeah.

I finish a song
and it feels right

and I can just tell it's
just gonna start going fine,

man, I get chills
and they're rocking

and fuck yeah, let's go!

There's a million people out
there that can do what I'm doing

as far as producing,
recording, anything like that,

a lot better than I'm doing,
have better equipment,

but still, it's like the only
way you get good at anything

is to be doing it all the time,

so, this is
a lifetime chore for me.

it's just to have

complete control
over everything,

to be able to do it
the way you want to do it,

have it come out the right way

and then not really have
anybody that can tell you...

what the hell to do.
Where you can play,

how you can look,
how you can dress,

what songs to record,
which ones not to.

It keeps it
on a personal level,

it keeps it where rock and roll
type things really should be.

It's very much
just happening right there,

it's not happening
in somebody's big offices

or in somebody's
big bank accounts or anything.


it's really exciting for the
people that are doing it.

♪ Some say to just forget her ♪

♪ It'll worry you well
If you let it ♪

♪ Make every day pathetic ♪

♪ You're in need of a cure
And she is one I

♪ You'll survive a vegetable ♪

♪ The meat's diseased
And she said so ♪

♪ I won't try
To persuade you anymore ♪

♪ Along time ago ♪

♪ I went and lost my way ♪


PopLlama was a big influence,

Conrad can do it,
so Sub Pop can do it.

We wanted to do our
own record so we will, hell!

If these guys can do it,

we've seen these guys so drunk
they can't stand up, you know.

They can't drive a car, so,

and they can do this,
so we can do that.

That's just a given.

I think with people here
they don't sit around going,

"Oh, nothing ever happens here.
Nothing ever goes on here."

You know, by the time
the kid's out of high school,

he's already been in a band,
put out a couple fanzines,

recorded a few records, started
a label, did a radio show.

That was the whole lesson we
learned when we moved up here.

Like, you just do it.

We moved up here
and we saw other bands,

you know, no different than us
just putting out records.

All you really need to do that

is some magnetic tape
and a microphone,

and that's really all you need,

and then, you know, maybe,
just maybe, some bad reverb.

And they smell good,
records just smell good.

They, you know, there's nothing
like cracking that cellophane

and pulling that record out,
it just smells great.

Deep Six first came out,

it was chronicling something
that was suddenly going on,

I guess it was
by a fluke of providence,

kind of... a initial document of

what later turned into be
a pretty big scene.

I think we all became aware

that there was a certain
regional sound developing

and nobody had a name for it.

That's punk rock and...

one day they just sort of
started going, um...

and that was grunge.

The most noisy,

The most absurd,

The heaviest thing
that was going.

Yeah, we know this
is heavy rock and heavy rock

is kind of stupid
but it's fun anyways.

It's where you had a band like
The Melvins doing Kiss covers.

It was all in fun,
it was like we know

that this is the cheesiest
thing we could possibly do,

we gotta do it.

It's just ridiculousness,
complete ridiculousness.

What can we get away with next,
you know.

Bands like Green River,

they were sort of the
definitive grunge band.

It was a euphemism for just
extremes, extremes of anything,

and a lot of people say that
it's a throwback to metal.

Heavy metal's part of it,
it was one influence,

punk rock was one influence,

basically anything
loud and crushing

and extreme
was an influence.

We'd all been in bands
that were more controlled

and more dynamic,

you know, more... better,

better bands actually
and we just, well,

our whole thing was
we just wanted to

get away from all structure
and just be chaotic

and not worry about that.
It was kind of joyful release.

It's taken rock
right back to its basics

which is go up there
and make a hell of a noise

and make sure you play music
that your parents don't like.

First thing, actually,

was when we were doing
the first Soundgarden single,

and we were doing a song called
"Nothing To Say,"

which was just...

at the time
just seemed amazingly heavy.

I thought this, you know,

these guys can't possibly be
really playing this song,

this sounds like, you know,
this sounds insane,

it sounds
way too good for 8-track

and it sounds way too good
for a, you know,

crappy little Seattle band.

Bruce Pavitt
originally had the name Sub Pop

when he was living in
Olympia, I think.

He had a sort
of cassette fanzine network

where he put out these
little compilation cassettes

of local bands.

He was interested in
making it a vinyl mix.

The bands he was
interested in at the time

were Green River and us.

And John, also,
was a huge fan of ours.

He wanted to make a record,
start a record label,

so we kinda talked him
into working together

to put out our record.

Up to that time,
everyone played it really safe,

of all the small labels,

"Well, we'll put out
a single every three months

and, you know, we'll sell
a thousand copies of it

and that's cool
because I've got my day job,"

and John and Bruce
were having none of that,

they said, you know,
we don't want to work day jobs,

we don't want our bands
to work day jobs,

we want them out there
on the road,

we want them
in the big magazines,

we want their
records everywhere.

It is punk rock,
but we don't care.

We want to make it
bigger than punk rock

and that's why
these two gentlemen are...

the Kings of the scene,
as you might say.

There was a real
Indie ethic in the 80s

that you weren't supposed to be
proud of having hit records

or being a hit machine.

And John and I, as fans of,

you know, the history
of pop music in this...

this, uh, this country,

really admired labels like
Motown and their hit factory...

- Mentality.
- Yeah.

They definitely picked a certain
kind of band for their label,

which makes everybody think
that's the only thing

that was the only thing
that was going on in Seattle.

Um, they...

by default, I ended up
engineering all of them and...

they had Charles doing
all the photography.

So there was
definitely a package

an image and a sound.

I think every community
has their pools of talent

it's just a matter of
being able to take on

the responsibility of marketing.

You know, I'm a failed
pop musician myself, so...

you know, I kinda decided,

"Well, I'm gonna play in
crummy band after crummy band,

I may as well wrap
some of these bands

who might have a chance
at doing something.

Basically he said,
"Hey, you sing about dogs,

you sing about being sick,

you got a shtick,
it'll take you to the top."

And he basically
gave us like five chords

but he said, "Don't use more
than three within one song."

♪ I feel bad ♪

♪ And I've felt worse ♪

♪ I'm a creep, yeah ♪

♪ I'm a jerk ♪

♪ Touch me, I'm sick ♪

♪ I won't live long ♪

♪ And I'm full of rot ♪

♪ Gonna give you girl
Everything I got ♪

♪ Touch me I'm sick ♪

♪ Touch me I'm sick ♪

When Sub Pop finally got their
act together and they started

somehow getting this
underground hype thing going

which started very small.

They flew an English
journalist into Seattle,

took him to see
a Mudhoney show

and gave him some singles
and had him meet everybody

and he went back
and wrote a big article

in one of the
English music papers

and that sort of started
this big frenzy in England.

It just seemed like it was
a worthwhile business move,

- so we...
- Yeah.

And fortunately, Everett was
a brilliant enough guy

that he could
piece together a story

that essentially
sold the world on Seattle.

♪ Love me I'm rich ♪

♪ Come on baby
Now come with me ♪

♪ If you don't come
If you don't come ♪

♪ If you don't come
You'll die alone ♪

Sub Pop, the hype machine,
and we went along with it.

It seemed pretty
funny at the time.

They didn't really hype their
bands, they hyped their label,

which is a much different thing

and a much,
a much more original thing...

It gave
a record this desirability,

this perhaps
fictional desirability,

but, nonetheless,
it made the collectors

try and get
a hold of these things

and made people
talk about them

so, a lot of people
talked about Sub Pop

and how cool their records were

and how cool the packaging
and the bands were cool

and "Oh,
you can't get the record,

it's worth a lot
of money already.

People started looking
for the Seattle sound,

the same way that D.C.,
Boston, New York and LA,

and all those places

had this crazy little
identity all of their own.

Seattle started getting
its own identity

and Sub Pop decided
to exploit that.

♪ Well alright
Yeah, alright ♪

♪ Saw you lookin'
For something simple on beyond ♪

♪ We are,
Yeah, alright ♪

♪ You wouldn't know it ♪

♪ If it hit you
Right between the eyes ♪

♪ Yeah, alright ♪

♪ Gonna lift you up,
Gonna bring you down ♪

♪ Gonna let you walk
Through this life alone ♪

♪ Gonna let you
Follow your own dream ♪

♪ It'll turn your head around ♪

J" For the first time
In your life you might find ♪

♪ For the second time
In a year ♪

♪ I don't mind ♪

♪ For the last time
I think it's time to fly ♪

♪ Freedom's
Right between the eyes ♪

Suddenly there
were three times as many people

that had been here all along,

going out, seeing bands
and supporting those bands

and allowing this scene
to be far more viable.

What you actually see
happening in Seattle

is this kind
of explosion of sub culture.

I think it's
a very important thing

and a very healthy thing
to have happen anywhere,

particularly in
a place like Seattle,

it's so conservative
and so reserved

to have something like this
happen here's been

nothing short of, like,
major electrical shock.

Everything was suddenly
just buzzing with activity.

I mean, singles
were being put out,

but there was
no point earlier in history

that you could have
a magazine devote

an entire record review section
just to local record reviews.

Um, people from underground
fan 'zines across the country

were already starting
to snipe about Seattle

and how much hype
it was receiving.

When things started
to become spotlighted,

more venues opened up

and more opportunities
opened up for people to play

but there was never
a lack of great musical talent

and it was always really diverse

and there was always an unspoken
sense of community about it.

♪ I'm so happy ♪

♪ It's sunny outside ♪

♪ I'm so happy ♪

♪ It's snowing today ♪

♪ I'm so ♪

♪ I'm so happy ♪

♪ The world's gonna explode ♪

They won't let us in
'cause we're not 18.

What does age have
anything to do with music?

♪...wanna burn the house down ♪

♪ Burn the house down ♪

♪ Ooh ♪

♪ Ooh ♪

♪ Ooh ♪

The Seattle music scene
right now is really vital.

I mean, it is so alive,

it's better than
London in the 1960s,

it's better than New York
in the 70s, I mean...

Margaret, I was in it.
I was in London in the 1960s,

I was in London in the 1960s,
it was awful! I mean...

If you say the word 'scene'

everybody rolls their eyes
and laughs at you.

you know, "there's no scene!"

So, a lot
of people thought that

it has reached its peak
and by next year,

we are all gonna go back
to doing what we were doing

and we are all gonna go back
to our little small town Utopia

and, uh, about 1990
we all sort of went,

"Oh, good, it's over."

Nirvana kinda
came out of left field,

uh, namely Aberdeen,

which is a town sort of out
in the middle of nowhere.

And, uh, you know,
we just got a phone call

at the studio one day
from this guy, you know, Kurt,

says his name was Kurt,

he said he was
a friend of the Melvins

and he wanted to come up
and just record some songs

and I said okay,

friend of the Melvins,
friend of mine, come on up.

You know, I didn't know
who the hell he was

and nobody else did either.
He just came up,

blew out ten songs
in five hours, we recorded them

and mixed them in one afternoon
and, uh, blew me away.

I thought "Oh, my God,
this is amazing," you know?

I said, "Guys, can I please keep
a copy of this for myself

before you go back to Aberdeen?

That was the tape
I gave to Jonathan.

This is my
penultimate grunge photo...

Kurt Cobain
spinning on his back.

Everyone asks "How in the hell
is he doing that?" I don't know.

♪ I'm a negative creep ♪

♪ I'm a negative creep
I'm a negative creep ♪

♪ And I'm stoned ♪

♪ I'm a negative creep
I'm a negative creep ♪

♪ I'm a negative creep ♪

At that point,
I think Soundgarden had put out

their first major label record,
it was doing okay.

I think that Screaming Trees
had put out their first

major label record
and I think it was doing okay.

Alice in Chains was...

had put out their first major
label record, it was doing okay.

But, Nirvana was kind of
the little brother, you know,

the runt of the litter,
so to speak.

And I remember Jonathan
telling me in 1990, he said,

"This band is going to be huge."

He said it exactly
like that, he said,

"Jack, this band
is going to be huge."

The record came out
in fall, September.

The video came...

I remember the first time
I saw the video,

I thought
"This is so cool,"

that there's no way MTV
will play this, just no way.

And then when that started going

it reached
millions of kids instantly.

Ben would go off and call up
people back home in Seattle,

he'd come back and say,

you know,
the latest sales figures.

He'd go, "Nevermind
has done 300,000."

"Nevermind has done 400,000."

"Nevermind just went gold."

♪...hello, hello ♪

♪ With the lights out ♪

♪ It's less dangerous ♪

♪ Here we are now ♪

♪ Entertain us ♪

♪ I feel stupid ♪

♪ And contagious ♪

♪ Here we are now,
Entertain us ♪

♪ A denial, a denial ♪

♪ A denial, a denial ♪

♪ A denial ♪

There was an old, uh,
Brain song called

"Money Changes Everything"...

I think we adapted that
to "Nirvana changes everything".

It's probably why

you create in the first place,
because of the freedom.

Do whatever you want...

whatever you want on tape.

But again, commerce is involved

and as soon as it starts
going through those channels

those money-making channels,
everything changes, you know?

When these bands
started to get popular,

all of a sudden everyone
wanted to find the next Nirvana,

everyone wanted
to sign the next Pearl Jam.

All of a sudden,

bands who'd never played
live before, practically,

were getting huge advances.

The labels start

bidding for bands
to get bands signed,

so that they could
then sell them to a major,

the bands get all worked up

and basically break verbal
contracts you make with them

because, well,
you don't have a contract.

I mean, when I first started

I didn't need contracts,
I didn't think I did, you know?

"Here's my friend", you know,

but someone throws, you know,
500,000 in their face

and they're like,
"Oh, we didn't have a contract."

If the major labels are like
a big, dumb Baby Huey,

you know, that "Oh,
what's going on in Athens?"

And waddle over to Athens
and you sit down on Athens

and you start buying lunches

and you crush three bands
by accident and, you know,

"Wow, the party's
in Athens, you know?

And then you kinda look over
your shoulder and go, "Oh...

Minneapolis and then Baby Huey
gets up and goes and sits

on Minneapolis and kills
three bands by accident

and buys a bunch
of lunches and, you know,

kind of plays that
party out and then, you know,

so, the idea that they were
moving in, you know,

sort of dedicated clumps,

I mean Seattle was
just like part of that process.

♪ Say good bye
To your friends and family ♪

♪ Welcome to the menagerie ♪

♪ Funny how
They forget to tell you ♪

♪ This is all you will ever be ♪

.1' This is all you will
Ever be now ♪

♪ This is all you will ever be ♪

.1' This is all you will
Ever be now ♪

♪ This is all you will ever be ♪

The effect of this whole thing
of like hyping a label,

or hyping a sound,
or hyping a place,

is it starts to take a lot
of the attention away from

the individual artists
that are making music.

Everyone doesn't sound the same,
everyone isn't grunge,

everyone doesn't have
long hair, you know, um...

They made a big mistake.

They didn't go further
and find more of the bands

that were already here
and had been here

even before the bands that
were exploited were, you know?

That's what makes me feel guilty
of the success of our band

because it should've been, uh,

spread out to the success
of like a number of bands here.

They focused
on this one scene

or one type of music when
really that's pretty inaccurate

'cause there's all kinds
of bands here, you know?

There's, like,
weird, funky jazz bands

and weird, you know,
hip-hop bands,

or punk rock bands,
or metal bands or whatever,

it's like there's a whole
bunch of stuff, so...

...and cowpunk bands,
there's like

a shit load of different bands
here, there always has been.

In Europe,
they just started to put

stickers on things
that just said "Seattle,"

that's all the sticker said.

It was like the stamp, you know,

it's like the USDA,
it's like Seattle stamping.

♪ Yeah ♪

♪ Low beat ♪

Great band.

I like the best.

♪ Low beat ♪

♪ Low beat ♪

♪ Hey ♪

♪ Low beat ♪

♪ Low beat
Whoa ♪

I hate the category of grunge.

Grunge categorizes, "Oh,
I only like loud, loud music."

I don't need grunge.

♪ How many times
Have I said I'm sorry ♪

♪ To only trash you
Within the day ♪

♪ I think out one of
Every statement ♪

♪ That my body displays ♪

♪ Beware of what I bring you ♪

♪ Baggage from far
That just gets thrown onto you ♪

♪ I bite my tongue
And slip through ♪

♪ Slip through to you ♪

Nirvana happening
or Pearl Jam happening,

someway seems like kind of a...

some kind of like
weird natural occurrence

that got rolling in 1979,

like it's that energy,
whatever that energy started as,

I think ultimately, you know,
landed with what we got now

and it's not like
it's punk rock paying off,

it's more like you push
the pimple hard enough

and it pops up
someplace else.

...but then it becomes
homogenized, manipulated,

and marketed,
and it's not intense anymore.

So, there's a constant
cycle of rebellion.

I think punk's gonna
be there forever, man...

- Punk is... Yeah.
- As long as there's kids that...

Kids are the
most important part of punk.

They wanna get wild, yeah.

There'll be no shortage

of disaffected American youth
over the next 50 years.

Well, even more.

Some great rock and roll
coming down the line.

over a thousand bands

in Seattle right now

and I think a lot of that
is people moving here,

bands moving here
in hopes of becoming famous...

Because of all the hype
and attention on Seattle

people know that
if they do something here

they're gonna get
recognized to some extent,

they won't be totally
overlooked, even if it's bad.

In fact, there were musicians
who moved to California

in the early 80s, from Seattle,
to try and get signed.

Who started moving back.

There's got
to be at least a thousand,

if not more
than that in Seattle,

and so I came up with an idea

to package boxsets
of Northwest bands,

so what I try and do is
I try and find ways to exploit,

and I like the word 'exploit',

exploit through
propaganda and television

the Northwest
music community as a whole.

Volume three is
probably my favorite set,

it's got... it's got some
of the most well-known bands.

You got your Hammerbox,
and your Hungry Crocodiles,

Pond, Sara Debell,
Peace, Love and Guitars.

It's just got, I mean it's got
so many great bands in it,

that if you wanna know anything
about the Northwest music,

there's my card.
If you wanna know anything

about the
Northwest music scene,

this is a great place
to start because all the cards

have the contact information
of the band on the back

and also,
if you take these cards,

turn them face down,
put them together,

it's a jigsaw puzzle
of a traffic jam on I5.

♪ I say fuck ♪

♪ I say fuck and you say yeah ♪

♪ I say fuck and you say yeah ♪

♪ I say fuck you say yeah
I say fuck you say yeah ♪

♪ I say fuck, yeah ♪

♪ Oh, I say let's,
And you say go ♪

♪ I say let's,
You say let's go, man ♪

♪ I say let's and you say go
I say let's and you say go ♪

♪ I say let's go ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

Today I was in a music shop
and I saw some people

and it was like, "You moved
from LA, probably yesterday!"

Like, I feel sorry
for the up and coming bands,

they can't even get gigs,

you know, it takes them
years sometimes to get a gig.

We were together, like,
three weeks, we played a show.

You say it's a ton of bands?
The Trees way more than a ton.

We're a ton of band.

So, fuck 'em!

We got bands
all over this place, here.

We got...

The band in here,
Inflatable Soule

Rap band in this room.

I hear a lone drummer
practicing here.

Industrial nonsense
comes out of that flat.

It's all hallways
and dark rooms.

Bands in the rafters,

Bands to the left,
bands to the right.

If you like being a
kid setting up a lemonade stand

and have a really
successful lemonade stand,

and all of a sudden ten of them
open up right next to you,

in your yard,
on your block

all competing
for the same lemonade nickel.

Only they're obviously selling
lower quality lemonade.

Right now,
Seattle is quarter until six

on Christmas Eve
at a shopping mall

when the mall closes
at six 0' clock,

when it's too crazy

and it's loaded with sub-moronic
idiots, prancing around,

buying anything
they can get their hands on.

...by universal acclaim,

the nation's media
have declared Seattle

the coolest place
in the known universe.

The music of Seattle
is as progressive as the people

Listen to Pearl Jam,
Soundgarden, Nirvana.

Where else can you get
the Seattle sound? Best Buy.

Once there was
this grunge singer,

who did all the things
grunge singers would do.

♪ Puking on the carpet ♪

♪ I couldn't help it ♪

♪ I'm drinking from the toilet ♪

♪ It's just a habit ♪

♪ I swear that smell you smell
Is not from me ♪

It's loud music
with heavy vocals.

Is it
mutant rock and roll?

Have we ever used
chainsaws and axes?

Are they contributing
anything to the world

they're taking so much from?

Mudhoney is sort of like
watching the market right now.

In October 1993,

this group's "VS." album
debuted at number one,

with sales of 950,000 copies.


- Who is Pearl Jam?
- Yeah.

Pop music for 400.

Does this look like
we're unhappy or cynical?

Okay, our next guests
are a Seattle band,

this right here
is their newest album.

- ...playing the Posies
- "Weird Al" Yankovic.

Pearl Jam!

Hey Butt-Head,
where's Seattle?

- Seattle.
- Seattle.

Seattle. Thanks, phone dude!

I think now
is the time that I should be

announcing my candidacy
for mayor of Seattle.

When the whole
thing was just out of control

and press people were
visiting our office

at the rate
of two or three a week,

it seemed like very few of them
had even the most remote clue

of what was really
going on in Seattle.

Glossy print ad
with a fancy red car

and a background and they're
saying something about grunge

They think people are
gonna go out and buy this car?

They're gonna look at this ad
and go, "Fuck you!"

When you're close to something,

you feel you know
the truth about it

and when People Magazine's
writing about it

you know they're not
gonna have the truth,

they have a very
distorted view of it.

And you realize that that's
what the entire world sees

and that's what the entire world
thinks about, and they're wrong.

("Second Skin" by
The Gits plays]

Maybe there's like
a bunch of photographers

and they wanna put you with
this other person

from another band
that you don't even know

and they want you to put your
arm around them and smile and...

"You play in band, don't you?"
"Yeah, yeah, I play in a band."

"Pearl Jam, right?"

"Aren't you the
drummer from Pearl Jam?"

"No, I'm not the
drummer from Pearl Jam."

They didn't even say
anything about the music.

They talked about what we wore

and whether or not
the girl in the band before

shaved her armpits or not.

The newest thing
I heard was that

we're really bad
at interviews.

Where could
they possibly get that?

♪ Just to wake up
Tells me I must be brave ♪

♪ It hits me like a drug
Shot into my vein ♪

♪ It's not as delightful
Delightful of a pain ♪

♪ Immobilizing me
Almost makes me think I'm dead ♪

♪ I need a second skin
Something to hold me tough ♪

♪ Can't do it on my own ♪

♪ Sometimes I need
Just a little more help ♪

♪ I want that chance to give ♪

♪ Every drop
That's left in me ♪

.1' I need a second skin ♪

♪ Something I cannot
break free of ♪

♪ I just tell myself,
Girl, just let it breathe ♪

♪ It's a calmness
I'm always searching for ♪

♪ The dirt it gets so heavy
It falls above my head ♪

♪ Seeping from under my feet ♪

♪ It just keeps on
Getting deeper ♪

.1' I need a second skin ♪

♪ Something to help me tough ♪

♪ Can't do it on my own ♪

♪ Sometimes I need
Just a little more help ♪

♪ I want that chance to give ♪

♪ Every drop that's left in me ♪

.1' I need a second skin ♪

♪ Something I cannot
Break free of ♪

You just didn't wanna answer
any more stupid questions.

They were all the same.

What's Seattle like?
What are the bands like?

Do you know this band?
Do you know that band?

Everyone had it.

We put a moratorium at one point

on people calling and asking
for the Seattle story.

There was nothing to do
except just start poking fun

at the entire thing
and so, instead of saying,

"No, I really
don't know that person",

it would turn into,
"Oh, sure, every Monday morning

we eat banana splits
at breakfast time,"

used to be my roommate",

or, you know, "I'll tell ya,
he has a horrible case

of the squirts
after he has Indian food."

And, like,
you just start making up

every single lie you can

and then try to...
the goal is to

just get crazy rumors
circulating all the time.

There's a big element of put on
involved with all Seattle music,

I mean, Kurt Cobain's
goofy name spelling's, uh,

a lot of Sub Pop's world
domination kind of attitude,

I mean,
the whole thing's ridiculous.

Seventy-five percent of what
Bruce and Jon say is a lie.

Um, but it serves them well.

It's essentially
been one big prank.

We've always pretended
we were something we weren't,

now that we're huge
and have a lot of money,

we're trying to pretend
that we're small and Indie

and have street cred.

That's one of the great things
about a lot of the bands here

that, you know, great humor,

you know?

It's why I'm obviously
not from here.

One of my favorite hoaxes

was the lexicon of grunge.

The New York Times
called Sub Pop records

and talked to a woman there who
just started making up words,

they were trying to find out
what the inside secret dope was.

"What was the,
uh, the hip language?"

...and I was like, "Uh,
why don't you give me a word

and I'll give you
the grunge slang for it?"

She just
started making stuff up.

A lot of it was kind of stuff
that she used for herself,

just for laughs,
and next thing you know,

it's on the cover
of the New York Times

and everybody around here was
just giggling and snorting...

If they're lame
enough to try to scrutinize

this totally stupid thing,
why not fuck with them?

♪ I try to speak my mind
Why'd you leave me? ♪

♪ I could have taken you so far,
But one bad movie ♪

♪ Been across this fucking world
To find my barista ♪

♪ I put my love into the rig,
So I could forget her ♪

♪ Hello,
It's me again, baby ♪

As you can see...

I am basically...

a trendsetter
in the fashion scene

and Rolling Stone called

and they were doing
a fashion spread on

"What the Indies are wearing".

I had to tell them that, uh,

I didn't think
they'd be interested in me

but that we had a fella here,

Scott McCaughey
from The Young Fresh Fellows,

who probably was just what
they were looking for, so, uh,

they came and they
interviewed Scott briefly,

and then got out this pile
of clothes and made him, like,

take off his Converse
and put on their tennis shoes,

and take off his flannel shirt,
wear their flannel shirt.

And then put, you know,
in the caption below:

"Flannel shirt 85 dollars."

Who didn't get
a flannel shirt for Christmas

from their relatives?

And you tie it
around your waist

and you run off
and do a stage dive,

all across America.

But up here,
because it's logger territory,

all these goon balls
just wear flannel anyways

and then that's what
became the stereotype here.

I mean, you go around,
you know, cities everywhere

you see some real
stereotypical grungies,

you know, the Pearl Jam shirt,

you know,
with the stocking cap and the...

you know, the really
long johns with the shorts

and then, and you just say
"I spit on you!"

Mannequins in stores with,
like, long johns and shorts

for like 300 bucks and...

- It's like...
- We got them fooled.

We wear long johns up here
because it's fucking cold.

When Seventh Avenue decided

that grunge-wear was something
they put on the runways

and that they thought it
would be an absolute knock-over.

Yes, that any of my clients
would be in their fashion shows

and be in their fashion layouts

and when Vanity Fair
did a spread with people

like Joan Rivers wearing

that was the only moment for me,
so far,

That came close to unbearable.

It was our thing

and then all of a sudden
belonged to people who...

You never thought you were
sharing your music with.

Like mainstream periodicals
and fashion magazines

and I started realizing

"Well, there's a whole lot
of people out there

making money by selling
the idea of the Seattle scene

or grunge or whatever.

It's so profitable.

It's so profitable,
and they'll just keep taking

and taking and taking
and they're...

they just don't know
how to restrain themselves,

you know, they're frothing
at the mouth over this.

And the bands aren't, I mean,

the bands aren't
really in it for dough,

I mean, they just aren't.
That would, if they were,

that would...
That would tip over the music.

It's like it already,
it's obvious to see

the Seattle scene has become
a marketed commodity.

...but that's what
makes pop culture

so significant to all
the little consumers out there.

They have no interest in history
or economics or science or art.

They're kinda interested
more in gossip,

the nature of celebrity

and that's not at all
encouraging to find out that...

You participate in that
society. One way or the other.

♪ I wonder why I do
The things I do ♪

♪ One plus one has
Always meant more than two ♪

♪ Happy and then content ♪

♪ Change the channel
And now I'm bent ♪

♪ On leaving you
Yeah ♪

♪ On leaving you ♪

♪ On leaving you ♪

♪ On leaving you ♪

Bands get all big and then
everybody starts to like 'em

and then they just become so
overplayed and kinda sold out

and I just, I get out of them.

That really pisses me off.
Well, I liked them first!

When you hear a song
that's a great song,

played a million times,
you never want to hear it again.

"If I hear that song
one more time..."

"If I see that guy's
face one more time..."

I wanna fuckin' find out
his address

and kill that motherfucker."

I don't blame 'em.
I've said it myself.

There definitely is the idea
that success is bad

and that's part
of the rebellion,

that's part of the
rebellion against...

against the '80s, you know,
um, our peers and our parents,

that didn't really
wanna become successful

because with that comes the
trappings of responsibility.

Its seemed for a while that,
like, that "celebrity"

was not really
what you wanted once you got it

and yet, you look at
any of these people,

that are now
complaining about

being too much in the spotlight

or always, you know,
scrutinized by everyone.

What did
you expect, you know?

I think a lot of people
whine about it

but secretly they kind of
are excited about it too.

I don't think that
people ever can imagine

what is gonna go along
with being popular,

I mean, I don't think no matter
what somebody tells you,

it's gonna be like,

I think it's a lot different
once you get there.

I think so too,
maybe we should try to find out.

♪ Painted blue across my eyes ♪

♪ And tie the linen on ♪

♪ And I'm on my way ♪

♪ Looking for the paradigm
So I can pass it off J"

♪ Is it on my side ♪

♪ Is it to the sky ♪

♪ Is to the sky ♪

♪ Painted blue across my eyes
And tie the linen on ♪

♪ And I'm on my way ♪

♪ On my way a'

♪ Looking for the paradigm
So I can pass it off J"

♪ Is it on my side ♪

♪ On my side ♪

♪ Is it to the sky ♪

♪ To the sky ♪

♪ Is it to the sky ♪

♪ And down ♪

♪ Searching for the ground ♪

♪ With my good eye closed ♪

I kinda figured you play
guitar or drums or whatever,

say, make a record, play a show,

if people like your record,
they like your show.

Couldn't really anticipate
it becoming interviews

and videos and photo sessions.

In sort of the
forefront of our mind,

we knew that these were things
that went along with the job.

We never really, really can
anticipate it 'til you're there.

It's like, fuck.

Do without the fame stuff
and just give me the money.

♪ Is it to the sky ♪

♪ To the sky ♪

♪ To the sky ♪

♪ To the sky ♪

You have a favorite band, right,

and you think
"Why isn't this band enormous",

you know,
the world is just not a very,

you know,
it's just an unjust place,

and then you have
a band you know is amazing,

and suddenly
everybody else in the world

knows that they're amazing
and wants to get at them

and write about them,
and you know...

You start wondering if success
is really a good thing

because it,
it sort of makes people psycho.

It's nothing to strive for.

It's actually like...
this kind of success

or trying to fulfill
this kind of hype,

it can destroy everything.

It can destroy what's real,
which is like music to you,

or what's real,
which is your life,

you know, it can destroy it...

You know, it can make it
a commodity.

At who's cost? At yours.

At your life
and you know, your music.

They'll, you know...

take it all
away from you.

And you're supposed
to be happy about it

because you're successful.

♪ You kissed me once
And you kissed me twice ♪

♪ With your mess
Of slobbering lips ♪

♪ With dribble in my brow
I wait until you turned ♪

♪ And I wiped it
On my pant leg ♪

♪ Well now I'll sign a paper
For everyone to see ♪

♪ Now I'm up here singing
For everyone to hear ♪

♪ Now I'll sign a paper
For everyone to see ♪

♪ Now I'm up here singing
For everyone to hear ♪

♪ You ♪

♪ Especially you ♪

♪ It's all for you ♪

♪ It's because of you ♪

♪ My lungs are filled
With smoke ♪

♪ Eyes wide and hazy
From too many tears ♪

♪ Red and glossy
From too many beers ♪

♪ And my stomach shapes
Into one big knot ♪

♪ My stomach shapes
Into one big knot J"

When you're
in a band and it progresses

from being in the basement,
learning how to play,

and then you go on
to more and more steps

and that's a natural
progression of a band

and you can see that
that's a good thing,

it's all fine,

but then you get to this point
where you're looking backwards

and you're like, well,
maybe it was better back then.

Well imagine,

you're a band,
you're making music for fun...

because you
like writing your own songs,

you like playing
your own songs,

you like playing to your
friends and having them clap

and, you know,
having a good time,

and getting up
and jumping around on stage

and, you know,
crashing into people,

and um, suddenly,
every publication

and all the media in the world
wants to get at you,

people everywhere you go

recognize you,
they want your autograph,

suddenly your life as a
private individual is over with.

And that's probably a pretty
heavy thing to deal with.

What it looks like is,

wow, if you wanna be
really successful, do heroin

but what I see is,

I saw people who were
making really good music,

suddenly have like this
overwhelming need for money.

fucking heartbreaking to see

how disillusioned...

People get to where they...

that escape is so...
sought after.

I think
the first hint of it

was when Andy Wood died.

We started thinking,
"This is really sad

because this guy had a great
future in front of him,

he was a really
wonderful guy, funniest guy.

The only rock and roll
stand-up comic in Seattle

was Andy Wood, and, uh...

we thought, man, you know,

they haven't even
become stars yet,

and already he's a casualty.

Kurt, on New Year's Day, '93.

Um, this was the shoot
for the cover of The Advocate

and, uh, I really
like this photo of Kurt,

we were just, we were just
talking and...

and I was just picking
the camera up occasionally

and photographing him.

It's rare
to see a picture where he's,

he's emoting or doing
something with his hands

other than in his pocket
and I really like this one.

Symbolically, perhaps,

it represented
the death of something.

I mean, I know when, I was...

it affected me in such a way
that I was seriously tempted

to give up everything
and go be a farmer or something.

It was just,
it was so disillusioning to me.

It was hard,
I didn't take it well.

If all this influence

that this part
of the country has

and this musical scene has,

if it doesn't do
anything with it,

that would be the tragedy.

If it doesn't
do something with it

like make some kind of change

and make
some kind of difference,

this group of people
who feels this certain way

this group of people who,
like, thinks these things

that the underdogs we've all
met and lived with think...

if they'd finally
get to the forefront

and nothing comes of it,

that would be the tragedy.

♪ Restless soul ♪

♪ Enjoy your youth ♪

♪ Like Muhammad ♪

♪ Hits the truth ♪

♪ Can't escape from ♪

♪ The common rule ♪

♪ If you hate something ♪

♪ Don't you do it too ♪

♪ Too ♪

♪ This is not for you ♪

♪ This is not for you ♪

♪ This is not for you ♪

♪ Oh, never was for you ♪

♪ You ♪

To actually
be this close

to a pop culture explosion
has been really fascinating.

I mean also, when you can
understand what happened

in San Francisco in '66 and '67,
you can understand what happened

in England
during the punk thing

and in during
the Mersey Beat era

and the subsequent stuff
that happened in London,

I mean, all of a sudden,

you can see how ridiculous
the whole God damn thing is,

I mean,
it's utterly absurd, I mean...

It's so funny that they call it

the Seattle scene, because
it all grew out of the region.

Everybody doing what they love
because they love it.

It doesn't matter
if they're from Bellingham,

Portland, Olympia,

you have people who are in bands

because they want
to be in bands,

who started record labels cause
they like their friends' bands

and they want to put out
a rack of fanzines

because no one was covering the
kind of music that they heard

and all this was allowed to grow

without any other force
coming in and disturbing that.

♪ All that's sacred ♪

♪ Comes from you ♪

♪ Dedications naive and true ♪

♪ With no power ♪

♪ Nothing to do ♪

♪ I still remember ♪

♪ Why don't you? ♪

♪ Don't you ♪

♪ This is not for you ♪

♪ This is not for you ♪

♪ This is not for you ♪

♪ Oh, never was for you ♪

♪ Fuck you ♪

♪ This is not for you ♪

♪ Oh, never was for you ♪

♪ You ♪

I didn't think I would be

making a living at doing this.

I mean, I had no idea that these
bands were going to become so,

so popular, so famous.

I would have taken
a lot more photographs of them

if I'd have known.

Our first year's tour
was a total failure, you know,

we didn't make
more than 90 bucks

at any show in the whole US.

And I'm just like, they hated us
everywhere we went.

We're doing basically the
same thing we were doing in '85

and now people like us.
I don't know why.

Let me put things
in perspective for you.

Five years ago,

this was a sleepy
little coastal fishing village,

now, could we have the camera
pan out to the skyline here,

this kind of economic
development is directly related

to what Jon and I
have done to promote Seattle.

That's what's become of the
great punk rock party house

of the mid '80s.

It's so harsh.

It used to be this tiny
little shack, like, set way back

and these terrible, like,
big weeds

in the middle of this,
these beautiful homes.

And now look,
it is a beautiful home.

I would love to,
in about 20 years from now,

be playing in, like, uh, some kind
of super-lounge-y soul band

with a horn section or
something like that, you know?

Yeah, probably all
be playing in R&B bands

in Pioneer Square.

Probably the same...

Probably the same R&B band
on Pioneer Square.

♪ This is the... ♪

Wow, what did I do right
in a past life, or whatever,

that I get to do this

with my three
really good friends?

I get to be in a band,

and make music
with these people,

it's a really
incredible experience.

We just play music
when we can and do shows

and record them.
We have songs...

Every now and then we find out
Seattle got really famous.

And we didn't

It's not too bad, it's okay.

What was the question?