November 14, 2009
Welcome to another edition of Brook Pridemore’s The Nineties-ist. This edition discusses 1992, Pavement sticking their heads out of the sand for the first time, Sinead O’Connor tearing up a picture of the pope, and John Frusciante’s love of herion. For earlier installments, go here.
All eyes on Seattle in 1992, right? Warrant lead singer Jani Lane commented (after the dust had settled) that in August 1991, Warrant had stepped into the offices of Columbia Records to their hit, “Cherry Pie,” blasting from every speaker in the house, giant posters of the iconic album cover all over the place. By the time Lane and Co. made their way back into the Columbia office in Spring 1992, they were practically persona non grata: their posters had been eschewed for an equally large, but bleak poster for the new Alice in Chains album, and that band’s specific, dour sounds were pouring out of the stereo, in place of Warrant’s party rock. Times had changed, and fun dumb stuff was out. Intellectual (or at least faux-intellectual, in the case of Alice in Chains) sounds, ushered in by the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind in September 1991, were in. American pop culture had changed for the good, and things would never be the same.
It couldn’t last, though. Within just a couple of years, all of the avenues that had been opened to forward-thinking, eclectic rock groups were closed again. Prefab music came back into vogue. The watershed of rock bands who had benefited from the early 90s boom mostly failed to capitalize on their initial momentum (Sonic Youth being particularly notorious for making a slew of bad albums in the 90s), sinking back into relative obscurity. But many still remained firmly enough planted in the public consciousness to make it impossible for any new upstart scenes to come up.
More on #9: 1992