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Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil Says This Is The Quintessential Grunge Band


When you think of grunge, who do you think of? Maybe Nirvana, just because they were so famous? Though these days, that’s maybe not quite the case — Nirvana have surpassed one genre in their massive acclaim, while acts like Alice In Chains and Soundgarden have become more widely recognized as artistic leaders of the grunge movement. It’s a former member of the latter band, guitarist Kim Thayil, who recently named his quintessential grunge band — and it’s probably not who you think.

In an interview with Lifeminute, as transcribed by Ultimate Guitar, Kim discussed the genre tag, which he, like a lot of the musicians involved in that scene, considers a big of a media blanket statement meant to lump a bunch of diverse acts together. Then, he locks down the band he personally believes were the embodiment of grunge:

“Grunge was this generic label of referred to bands from Seattle in general, but also included bands like Smashing Pumpkins, and Stone Temple Pilots get thrown in with grunge a lot – they were in LA and Pumpkins were in Chicago. There’s certainly a cultural aesthetic that we shared with all those bands, but I think musically, the idea of a big power chord that’s all fuzzy and distorted.

“I think Nirvana might embody the musical identity of grunge, maybe – the band that’d best embody grunge, I would think, is Mudhoney, Mudhoney’s sound, and their style and attitude. That’s, that’s like the archetypal grunge band.

“The Pumpkins certainly had those elements, and Nirvana. It was only grunge in that we came from the same place and we were friends of those guys. And we played the same venues, we played the bills together.”

Huh, Mudhoney! We honestly don’t know their material that well. Meanwhile, the Pumpkins as a grunge band is an interesting take. Well done, Kim, you got us thinking!

Check out the full interview below:

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