The Strangest Tribe: How a Group of Seattle Rock Bands Invented Grunge

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Overview

Grunge isn’t dead — but was it ever truly alive? Twenty years after the height of the movement, The Strangest Tribe redefines grunge as we know it. In 1991 Seattle’s sound took the world by storm — but this same storm had been brewing in the Pacific Northwest for a decade before it hit MTV. The Strangest Tribe is a reframing of this last transformative era in music. Not just plaid shirts, bleached hair, and angst, grunge is a word used to describe a rich community of artists and jokers. Stephen Tow takes a second...

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The Strangest Tribe: How a Group of Seattle Rock Bands Invented Grunge

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Overview

Grunge isn’t dead — but was it ever truly alive? Twenty years after the height of the movement, The Strangest Tribe redefines grunge as we know it. In 1991 Seattle’s sound took the world by storm — but this same storm had been brewing in the Pacific Northwest for a decade before it hit MTV. The Strangest Tribe is a reframing of this last transformative era in music. Not just plaid shirts, bleached hair, and angst, grunge is a word used to describe a rich community of artists and jokers. Stephen Tow takes a second look at the music and community that vaulted the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, and Soundgarden to international fame. Packed with interviews with the starring characters, this book extensively chronicles the rise of rock 'n' roll's last great statement and reveals what the music really meant to the key players.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...an interesting glimpse into a time of extraordinary ferment amidst a revolutionary musical subculture."
Barbara Lloyd McMichael, The Bellingham Herald

"If The Strangest Tribe were a Seattle band, it would be Mudhoney. The book was published by a small, Seattle-based independent press called Sasquatch Books and deserves more attention. A geeky and infectious enthusiasm permeates Tow’s work, and his approach allows him to emphasize the diversity of the Seattle music scene and profile a number of bands that didn’t fit into the grunge mold."
Rain Taxi Review of Books

"Tow brings in the voices and first-hand accounts of the heaviest hitters in Seattle who really tell it best."
City Paper, Philadelphia

"As a lifelong Seattle native of a certain age, I was there for it all - and can vouch for the fact the The Strangest Tribe gets it right. The author even discusses details such as small parties in Belltown, the events of which would one day alter music history... The cooperation Stephen Tow received was invaluable. The hundreds of interviews he conducted and obvious research have paid off substantially. For an "outsider" (he lives in Cheltenham, PA) Tow has done an outstanding job of telling the real Seattle music story. The Strangest Tribe is a great read."
Seattle PI

"While many of the bands that Tow writes about have little to do with grunge as the world came to know it, his attention to detail and appreciation of Seattle music history create a wonderful backdrop for the phenomenon that was to come. You feel like you were there, even if — like Tow — you weren’t."
Philly Burbs

"Tow’s book is a grunge encyclopedia. Its in-depth storytelling touches on familiar names, long-forgotten music venues and bands that lasted only a few days. It talks about a music scene frequently at war with police and city officials. And like the music itself, his interviews invoke a dirty, feedback-heavy story of a once-in-a-lifetime culture."
Centre Daily, Philadelphia

"Details. Stephen Tow’s book, The Strangest Tribe: How a Group of Seattle Rock Bands Invented Grunge, has a lot of them, and though there’s a mountain of information, it isn’t overwhelming. It’s scholarly but entertaining, interesting and funny; it’s researched to no end but quite relatable for both musicians and music fans."
Seattle Subsonic

"Stephen Tow takes a second look at the music and community that vaulted the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, and Soundgarden to international fame. Packed with interviews with the starring characters, this book extensively chronicles the rise of rock 'n' roll's last great statement and reveals what the music really meant to the key players."
Blabbermouth

"...the definitive history of the Seattle music scene that went from beer-stained garage band obscurity to globally iconic in the space of a few years. Tow digs deep into the pre-historic, establishing the geneology of seminal, but lesser-known pioneers — band like the The U-Men, Green River and the Thrown Ups — that established the aesthetics and infrastructure that eventually made bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam household words and Seattle itself the center of the known universe in the early 90s."
Phawker, Philadelphia

"...Tow's comprehensive and insightful book will delight the serious fan and reward them with a deep and extensive story of the music scene and the grunge bands that put Seattle on world's music map."
Philadelphia Stories

"...if you’re like me, and you believe Seattle bands like Mudhoney, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were the source of some truly inspired rock moments, then Delaware Valley College professor Stephen Tow’s well-researched examination of the scene that spawned them is a must-read—one that’s written with the impassioned perspective of a historian in love with his subject."
Main Line Today, staff picks

 
 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570617430
  • Publisher: Sasquatch Books
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,398,518
  • Product dimensions: 8.48 (w) x 5.62 (h) x 0.58 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 6, 2013

    I've read many books on this particular subject. Some become so

    I've read many books on this particular subject. Some become so tedious that they become a bore. I was expecting more of the same with this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. If you're looking for a book about the Seattle heavy hitters (i.e. Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, AIC), this really isn't for you. It delves into a lot of pre-90's history of Seattle music. It does touch on the aforementioned bands, but does not address them in-depth. However, the information that it does provide is both interesting and amusing. Lots of great stories by different musicians of the area/era. It gives the reader a sense of the history of the area and its roots but doesn't bog you down with pointless details. It's well-written and doesn't overload you with banal factoids. It's a fun read.

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