It’s nice to get out of rock music, but still be in it, still feel it, still have people asking you what bands you’re listening to, still be able to dance at a show and feel the vibe. And though Jack Endino bore the loss of Kurt Cobain hard as anyone, as the movie Hype! will indicate, such was his way.
Kim Thayil is interviewed in Hype!, as Soundgarden was already cranking out something pretty significant back in 1986, and when local producers would contact him wanting to make a compilation album, “The bands (they were) interested in were Green River and us.” Skin Yard, Jack Endino’s band he PLAYED in, made Deep Six too though, the first “grunge” compilation album that featured multiple Seattle bands, circa ’86, striding in to define a regional sound (the “region” including Aberdeen, Washington’s the Melvins).
Jack Endino settled into producing (which he just called “recording”), and “ended up recording all of (the Sub Pop bands, one of which was Nirvana) by default.”
“Mudhoney as the Quintessential ‘Indie’ Band”
Everett True asks in Nirvana: The Biography, to some guitarist or guitar tech of some band or something: “Why did Nirvana hit it big, and not Mudhoney?” To which the guy answers, “Isn’t it obvious?”
Anyway, True’s question is spoken like a true Seattle scenester. In fact, Mudhoney actually were Seattle, while Nirvana hailed from the Melvins’ Aberdeen, and partied and jammed with them religiously before cutting their ideological teeth in Olympia, where mainstream tactics were eschewed on a concentrated level in favor of unique individual expression. Arguably, part of what Cobain was killed by was an eventual estrangement from the Olympia ethos, once the blockbuster band had gone big and gotten an expensive producer (Endino had produced the album Bleach, prior to Nevermind, on $606, yielding the best percentage profit since the Elvis Sun Sessions).
Mudhoney were Seattle all the way, and as such, cared more about the Seattle scene than Nirvana, arguably and therefore giving it just what it needed, but it’s also possible that they never WANTED success, or just wouldn’t have been able to handle it, see lead singer Mark Arm’s inability to pronounce the word “ni**er” in the song “Hate the Police.” Rock stars who become big have something weird about them, usually, and would be more able to pronounce such a word with moral impunity from the self and unmistakeable clarity.
But their sound itself is “good enough” for the local Seattle clubs and stuff, as it were, they’d be just as prone to the crazy high jinks of fake blood and loose tongues, and their songs were pretty clever and climactic, augmented phrasings thrown in not to the extent that the Pixies might, but to roughly the same effect. They were a band that unquestionably had musical POWER, and as this power was so dark, twisted and nihilistic, it’s still worth the mention of people compelled by such things.
“Taking a Swing at Hipsters: The Remastering of Nirvana’s Bleach”
I still remember this hot girl at the Denver record store being like “This (the Bleach re-release) is way too awesome to take back to the store.” I answered her, “Really?” and she automatically took it as if I were hitting on her, or that the answer should be obvious, or that she were scared to know which of the two it were, instead of actually having a valid answer. Likely, she saw it in my eyes, the time me and my friend sat there rocking out playing Play Station in Indiana to the entirety of the original $606 Bleach album, or the other time I was playing it in my other apartment and “Mr. Moustache” was on, and my roommate starting nodding his head, giving me this singular look. This was an album that always sounded great, and it was made by a pro, remastering it was an utter insult toward a hipster stocking stuffer, conversation fodder who think Nirvana discussions are interchangeable with those of Passion Pit.