Everybody Loves Our Town

Paperback $15.00

Mar 13, 2012 | 592 Pages

Ebook $13.99

Sep 06, 2011 | 592 Pages

  • Paperback $15.00

    Mar 13, 2012 | 592 Pages

  • Ebook $13.99

    Sep 06, 2011 | 592 Pages


“Yarm’s affectionate, gossipy, detailed look at the highs and lows of the contemporary Seattle music scene is one of the most essential rock
books of recent years.”
Kirkus Review, *Starred Review*
“Hardcore fans of grunge will treasure this.”
Publishers Weekly
“Yarm, a former editor of Blender, interviewed more than 250 musicians, scenesters, and record business types
to deliver a personal, comprehensive history of grunge music…Highly recommended.”
Library Journal

“Mark Yarm has assembled the gospels of Grunge music. Here is a warts-and-elbows refresher course for those of us who still find our memories of the era a little hazy.”
Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club

“A very noble record of the grunge scene—and an excellent addition to the growing library of oral history music books.”
—Legs McNeil, coauthor of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk and the forthcoming Resident Punk 

“Great oral histories are rare.  Hewing a narrative from all those chaotic and often conflicting memories with testimony alone and no guide-prose or stage direction is difficult.  Making that somehow intimate and epic is nearly impossible.   When a writer pulls it off, as Mark has with Everybody Loves Our Town, it’s really a gift: the subject or scene finally gets its definitive record and the reader gains what feels like a room full of brand new friends.  One of the best rock reads in a very long time.”
─Marc Spitz (co-author We Got The Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of LA Punk, music blogger VanityFair.com).

“In Everybody Loves Our Town, Mark Yarm collects and dispenses remarkable insights about a genre no one even wants to claim as their own. As a child of grunge – who spent a humiliating chunk of the 1990s in an Alice in Chains t-shirt – I loved this book; it clarified so many things about a sound and a time I thought I already knew.”
─Amanda Petrusich, author of It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music

“A deeply funny story, as well as a deeply sad story–the glorious Nineties moment when a bunch of punk rock bands from Seattle accidentally blew up into the world’s biggest noise. Mark Yarm gives the definitive chronicle of how it all happened, and how it ended too soon. But the book also makes you appreciate how weird it is that this moment happened at all.”
─Rob Sheffield, author of Love Is A Mix Tape and Talking To Girls About Duran Duran

“A definitive, irreplaceable chronicle of one of rock-n-roll’s greatest eras. It should sit tall on any rock lover’s bookshelf.”
─Neal Pollack, author of Never Mind The Pollacks

“In an attempt to trace the real roots of grunge, journalist Mark Yarm compiled an exhaustive oral history from the people who lived it.  In his book Everybody Loves Our Town, there are interviews with everyone from the early adopters to those that were late to the party, but nevertheless helped extend [grunge’s] shadow of influence by turning it into a look for the world to emulate.”
—The Fader

“This massively readable tome gathers recollections from every grunge band you’ve ever heard of (Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Melvins) and some you haven’t (we hardly knew ye, Skin Yard)…The genre’s first truly comprehensive insider history…It’s gossipy…and fascinating, with so much backstabbing and death it’s like Shakespeare, if Shakespeare had written about heroin addicts with bad hair.”
Revolver (4 out of 4 stars)

“An impressive display of reportorial industriousness… It’s the feel-bad rock book of the fall.”—Bloomberg Businessweek

“Oral history is an art in itself. It’s why Everybody Loves Our Town will endure as a classic of monumental scale.”—Paste Magazine.

For hardcore fans or people just curious about what the fuss was all about, Mark Yarm’s excellent new book –Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge” is well worth the read. Yarm has done an admirable job of assembling an engaging, funny and ultimately sad narrative by letting the people who helped create the Jet City sound talk about what happened in their own words.—Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Yarm’s account captures the essential tension that made the era so compelling.”—Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune

“We finished all five hundred and forty-two pages of this book in two days, abandoning all responsibility (this, friends, is why we do not have children; had there been any children about us, we would have locked these unfortunate creatures in the bathroom, so as to not be
distracted) and staying up until two in the morning, reading whole chunks of it out loud to poor long-suffering Support Team.”–TheRejectionist.com

Mark Yarm’s superb book, Everybody Loves Our Town: A History of Grunge details the dramatic rise of the grunge movement and all of its players, including Cobain, Love and Vedder, told through the voices of the people that lived through it.–Hollywood Reporter

“I came away from this book with a big smile on my face. Lots of it is like a gray day in western Washington; you’ve been kicked out of yet another band, and your girlfriend is spending far too much time with the drummer from the Melvins or the Screaming Trees. In the end, though, “Everybody Loves Our Town” made me want to be young, stupid and lucky again. Mainly, it made me want to be young.”–The Washington Post

Everybody Loves Our Town should inspire new conversations about the unique culture and people that made grunge so unusual and unforgettable to so many fans. The book is timely, as 2011 marks the 20-year anniversary of  Nirvana’s “Nevermind” and Pearl Jam’s multi-platinum debut album, “Ten.” Everybody Loves Our Town is as good an excuse as any to put on an Alice in Chains CD and curl up with a good book about some great old friends with whom we haven’t spent much time in a while.”–The Washington Independent Review of Books

“Everybody Loves Our Town is authoritatively researched and compiled, often very funny and always just a little bit sad.”—Buffalo News

“Like a very extended and entertaining all-night bulls— session among everyone who mattered during the late-’80s/early-’90s music scene.”–Seattle Weekly

“The scope is encyclopaedic and the closeness to the subject unparalleled.”–Record Collector

“A wild ride that is in turns uplifting and tragic.” –Your Flesh

Named one of the top music books of 2011 by UK Telegraph

“Riveting, gossipy, and impossible to put down until the last quote has been read.” –New York magazine’s Vulture blog

“This exhaustive oral history features unknowns, cult figures, supporting players and stars; each gets the time he or she deserves as Yarm pieces together the arc of a scene that built itself from scratch, blossomed beyond most people’s dreams, and then crashed. Yes, there are plenty of Kurt Cobain stories. But there’s much more, too — indelible characters, weird scenes, creative chaos, laughs and tragedy and lots of cheap beer.”—NPR.org

“Gen-X music geeks: Here’s your holy grail.” –Tulsa World

“The best book on music I’ve read this year.” –Omaha World-Herald

“This volume could have been a huge, snarky compendium of gossip and score settling from the inhabitants of a claustrophobically insular local music scene. And it is, but in the best possible way—and it’s also much, much more…. Yarm has culled the story of grunge from the people who created it, and their testimony is remarkable for its eloquence and its passion and its fairness and its anger.” —Lev Grossman, Time (named one of the magazine’s Top 10 nonfiction books of 2011)

“A Herculean work of interviewing and editing which gives everyone a voice, from the biggest stars to the lowliest foot soldiers… . Though the Seattle scene’s stew of folly, feuding, rampant drug addiction and a startling number of fatalities might have made for a voyeuristic tale, Yarm leaves the reader full of empathy for young men and women swept up in a cultural moment they couldn’t control.” The Guardian (named a best music book of the year) 

“Exhilarating … Mark Yarm’s brilliant and exhaustive oral history of grunge is full of … vivid observations. Some 250 interviews with those intimately associated with the most unlikely musical sensation of all time piece together a story that is hilarious and tragic and utterly gripping.” Sunday Times of London 

A Gawker.com Best Thing We Read All Year selection

“[A] lively, funny, melancholy and exhaustive oral history … For all its eventual compromise and dissolution, Seattle was briefly an exhilarating pop cultural moment to rank with the greats. Yarm’s labour of love has well and truly done it justice.” Time Out London 

“If you loved the ’90s and you haven’t read this book, you MUST. I’m absolutely obsessed with Mark Yarm’s masterpiece right now.” —USAToday.com’s Pop Candy column

“Full of so many entertaining stories and thrilling anecdotes that we have read it cover-to-cover TWICE. You should do the same!” —VH1.com

“The definitive oral history of the Seattle music scene, period.” Alternative Press

Author Q&A

Q.) How did the project come about?
Back when I was a senior editor at Blender magazine, I wrote an oral history of Sub Pop—the Seattle label that introduced the world to Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney, to name just a few bands—on the occasion of its twentieth anniversary. There was only so much I could fit into a 3,000-word story, so I had a wealth of great material left over. I did think to myself, This would be a great start to a really cool book, but I probably would have never done anything with it had my now-agent, PJ Mark, not contacted me with the idea of expanding my Sub Pop piece into an oral history of grunge as a whole.

Q.) Why do you think grunge took off in Seattle as opposed to somewhere else at that time?
A lot of it had to do with geographical isolation. Many people don’t seem to realize that in the ’80s—before the Starbucks/Microsoft/Amazon boom era—Seattle wasn’t the cosmopolitan place it is today. People in the rest of the country pretty much considered it the hinterlands; a couple interviewees told me that back in the day, people who weren’t familiar with Seattle would ask them, in all sincerity, “Seattle? Aren’t there cowboys and Indians out there?” Oftentimes, touring bands would simply skip Seattle because it was too far out of their way. So, in effect, musicians in that region had to make their own fun. And in the process, they honed their own sound.
Q.) What are the biggest misconceptions people have about grunge?
Probably the biggest one is that all these musicians were overly earnest gloom mongers sticking needles in their arms. Of course, a few were overly earnest and some were sticking needles in their arms, but for the most part—and I think this comes across in the book—these musicians were just super-funny and huge jokesters.
Q.) Where does the book’s title come from?

Speaking of humor in grunge … “Everybody loves our town” is a lyric from “Overblown,” an extremely arch song Mudhoney wrote for the Cameron Crowe movie Singles. It pretty much deflates the hype surrounding the scene at the time and takes a semi-veiled jab at at least one grunge superstar.
Q.) What’s your favorite grunge song?

It almost seems too obvious an answer, but Mudhoney’s “Touch Me I’m Sick” is pretty much perfect—and perfectly encapsulates the scuzzy “grunge” guitar sound and scabrous humor of the scene. Nirvana’s “Negative Creep” comes to mind too.
Q.) What’s your favorite grunge album?
Not sure I can pick just one, but there were a few I listened to quite a bit during the making of this book, including Nirvana’s Bleach, Mudhoney’s Superfuzz Bigmuff Plus Early Singles, Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger, TAD’s 8-Way Santa. Alice in Chains’ Dirt is just brutal—and beautiful too.
Q.) What surprised you most about the interview process? What was the most interesting conversation you had?
I was constantly surprised by how open some people were, especially in a community that’s been very wary of the media since it overran their town in the early ’90s. There were questions that I was just dreading asking—usually about drugs or death or acrimonious relationships—that turned out not to be such a big deal after all. Some people were still very guarded, but many more were incredibly frank.

As for interesting interview experiences … Well, as anyone who’s ever interviewed Courtney Love can tell you, there’s never a dull moment there. But one of the most fun book-related experiences I had was a post-interview night of drinking in Seattle with 50 percent of Soundgarden—Kim Thayil, the guitarist, and Ben Shepherd, the bassist. As I was leaving the bar, exhausted, at about 4 a.m., Ben and a bunch of other regulars were still going strong, all dancing on the bar top to an Iggy Pop song.

On a sad note, I interviewed Mike Starr, the former bassist of Alice in Chains, right before he died of a suspected drug overdose. The news of his death really rattled me. After talking to him and seeing him on Celebrity Rehab, I was really pulling for him to make it.
Q.) Is there a grunge band that should have made it big that did not?

Had their super-charismatic lead singer Andrew Wood not died of a drug overdose in 1990, Mother Love Bone—the band from which Pearl Jam sprung—would likely have made it big. Also, TAD—a band fronted by Tad Doyle, who was marketed as a 300-pound ex-butcher from Boise—appeared primed for success in the early ’90s. But TAD were beset by bad luck at nearly every turn. Their downward spiral began when their album 8-Way Santa had to be yanked from shelves because the band used this hilarious, very saucy photo of a couple on the cover without their permission. (Google it.) Legend has it that the woman in the picture had since found God, and the couple took legal action. 
Q.) Is grunge dead or does it live on as an influence on bands today?
I write about the great “Is grunge dead?” debate in the introduction to the book. For a lot of people, the death of Kurt Cobain provided a convenient endpoint. But the music never went away, and today three out of the four big grunge bands are active: Pearl Jam are celebrating their twentieth anniversary, Alice in Chains are planning to record another album with their second singer, and Soundgarden are back together after a 13-year break. And the influence of these bands extends beyond the rock community: Lil Wayne has professed his love for Nirvana, and there’s even an up-and-coming rapper named Black Cobain. So grunge is by no means dead.
Q.) Your name is Mark Yarm. The lead singer of Mudhoney is Mark Arm. How much confusion has this caused?

Some. That’s why on my blog, Facebook page, etc., I always note that I am of no relation to a certain Mudhoney front man. It’s a funny note, yes, but if I didn’t put it, people would get confused. During the making of the book, I got a number of messages on Facebook from folks thinking I was Mark Arm, including one from an old friend of his featuring a very nice poem her young son had written about him. But the Yarm/Arm coincidence helped me out too—it was a constant source of amusement among the grunge musicians I spoke with and a great icebreaker.

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