It’s a debate that’s been going on forever—or at least for the past few decades: Did grunge ignite the demise of 1980s hard rock and heavy metal? According to Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossardyes (to some extent).
In a recent chat with VWMusic‘s Andrew Daly, Gossard was asked to comment on the “long-standing narrative” that grunge “killed the careers of a lot of . . . musicians” in those genres. He responded bluntly by saying that “hard rock was really stagnating at the time,” which allowed “less musically talented” artists to change how they approached the style via “new perspectives” and a sense of “renewal.”
Specifically, Gossard noted, these musicians had “an opportunity . . . to say, ‘Hey, there’s another way to play rock songs. There’s another way to have songs that are heavy. And there’s another way to creating chaos and energy from the songs that would be outside the normal color palette of a heavy metal song.”
He also clarified that he grew up listening to a lot of NWOBHM and that “a lot of these heavy metal bands . . . are still around, so obviously they didn’t all die.”
He added: “Obviously a lot of them had to regroup and yes, some died, but that’s part of the life cycle, isn’t it? . . . I love hard rock and I always have, but renewal and rebirth is part of the art.”
What do you think though? Did the rise of early 90s grunge mark the decline of 80s hard rock and heavy metal? Let us know!
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