Nirvana were one of the first groups to incorporate a smashing pumpkins theme into their music. Frontman Kurt Cobain and bassist Courtney Love were inspired by early British garage bands such as the Beatles and brought their own take on British style “gutterspits” music and fashion to Nirvana. Since their formation in the early 1990s, Nirvana have been associated with musical and fashion inspiration on multiple levels. From their early use of English words such as “billy,” “screwdriver,” “hammerhead,” and “smash,” to their trademark image of a guitar played at full volume, Nirvana have been lampooned for their heavy doses of heavy metal music lyrics and guitar techniques. While they are often criticized for their over-the-top stage performances, the band has also been criticized for their choice of clothing and jewelry. The image of a smashing pumpkin and other symbols that Nirvana made popular through their concerts have become a trademark for many women of all backgrounds.
Much of the clothing depicted in the image of the smashing pumpkins is similar to early British groups such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. British groups such as the Oasis, Portraits, Cream, and Britain literally scream “HITS” or “HITS.” However, most of these bands have been associated with heavy metal music and fashion for decades. Since their inception, many heavy metal bands have used similar skull-shaped guitars, smashing pumpkins, and various forms of expression, such as graffiti and dissociative disorder, to make their music and image popular.
Emo was originally defined as a way for younger people to vent and express emotions. Today, it is a broader term encompassing various youth cultures, such as skateboarding, school skipping, cyber-chalking, and online forums. Emo individuals can be very introverted and/or excessively self-aware, depending on their particular style. Some two subcultures are loosely connected to the art and music of the early 2000s, which includes elements from early British rock band Blur and rapper Lil Kim. Emo individuals tend to be sensitive, emotional, and/or hyper-sensitive.
Seattle’s grunge music is really what started everything. Prior to grunge, the Seattle area was renowned for its metal circles, and before that the Pacific Northwest.
When grunge initially began, it was centered around Seattle. But, it quickly spread throughout the United States and eventually around the world. grunge’s first major influence was British group Bauhaus. Their famous song, “Bleach” was a major influence on early grunge. Other early examples include early Los Angeles, California pop band the Beach Boys, and English guitarist and singer Ian Anderson.
But, in many ways, Seattle’s contribution to the world of grunge has been its embrace of the fashion aspect. The city embraced the style of the early 80s and was often featured in magazines as one of the cities with the ugliest, sexiest people. This was something that was all but unheard of prior to the grunge music and fashion. Seattle was home to a fashion scene that was similar to what you would see in some of the top fashion cities of Europe, including London and Paris.
But, did you know that even though grunge became a phenomena in the Seattle area, it actually had roots in other American cities? One of those roots was the West Coast, specifically San Francisco. When Seattle initially began to incorporate punk and new wave styles, it also adopted the same look as the Bay Area. Eventually, that influence became the grunge look that we know today.
While it may seem that the entire punk subculture left the city after the 1990s, it didn’t. Instead, the style remained fairly static, and even appeared, again, in the alternative rock genre. While many people think that Seattle is synonymous with the hard rock and heavy metal movement, the truth is that many local artists, particularly in the area of hard rock and heavy metal, have become big fans of the original grunge sound.
Nirvana was, without a doubt, one of the most significant, influential and important groups to come out of the Seattle area. And, while other acts from around the country and the world have taken elements of the sound from their lyrics, they have not really borrowed the ideas that Nirvana brought to the table. The grunge bands of today are truly a unique within the alternative rock scene. As the music continues to evolve and take on new shapes, the sound of today will likely only grow and fester.