Feature Index / Northwest Passage

Pearl Jam

The origin of "grunge"

The term "grunge" was almost-universally reviled by the bands it was supposed to describe. Where did the name come from? And how did it stick? A look at the etymology of grunge Read more

Nirvana

All your lies: myths of the northwest music scene

Was Pearl Jam part of the birth of grunge? Was Nirvana's worldwide popularity inevitable? Did Kurt Cobain's death signified the end of northwest music? We explore some of the myths around the northwest music scene. Read more

Lexicon of Grunge

The lexicon of grunge

In the early 90s, the mass media went crazy for anything "grunge," even going so far into finding out the slang of flannel-wearing kids in the northwest. And in typical Seattle fashion, they made a joke out of it Read more

Modest Mouse

Up and Away: The Ballad of Up Records

Seattle's reign as capital of the music universe was short lived, but great music continued to be made in the pacific northwest even after the peak of grunge. Up Records was one of the labels that documented the "new" Seattle scene Read more

Mr Cobain

“Going Out of Business Since 1988!”: An Oral History of Sub Pop Records

How Sub Pop – the label that brought you Nirvana and the Shins – survived constant money woes (rubber checks!), drunken rock stars (microbrews!) and grunge-era insanity (flannel!) Read more

Nirvana

Rock Collection: The Northwest Passage book list

The “grunge scene” made an impact on the music charts, but it also spawned a number of very good music books. Here’s some reading material for your grunge library Read more

Reciprocal Recording, Seattle

Reciprocal Recording: The Story of a Recording Studio

The small, unassuming, triangular-shaped building at 4230 Leary Way NW in Seattle might not look like much, but in its heyday, it was an epicenter for Seattle rock music Read more

Mark Lanegan and Kurt Cobain

The Jury: the story of the Cobain/Lanegan collaboration that could have been

Back before either was a household name, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Screaming Trees' Mark Lanegan were working on music together. This collaboration ended after a few songs, however Read more

Pearl Jam

Momma-Son and the Making of Pearl Jam

After the death of Mother Love Bone vocalist Andy Wood, Wood’s former bandmates Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament were still trying to figure out their next move. This excerpt from Jessica Letkemann's mini-book explains how a series of coincidences led to the creation of Pearl Jam. Read more

Alice Mudgarden

Come Together: The Forgotten Collaborations of the “Grunge” Scene

Mad Season and Temple of the Dog may have been the two most notable grunge "supergroups" but they weren't the only ones. Read more

Sub Pop Lame Fest

Sub Pop Rock City: the story of the first Sub Pop Lame Fest

On June 9, 1989, Sub Pop hosted a showcase at the 1,400-capacity Moore Theatre with Nirvana, Tad and Mudhoney. The sold-out show would be the first time any of the bands had played to an audience that large. It wouldn’t be the last. Read more

Nirvana

The ugly truth: 10 things you need to know about the Seattle music scene

Once "grunge" hit the big time, it took a life of its own, and liberties were taken with the truth about Seattle and the so-called "grunge" scene. We attempt to correct the record Read more