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Mark Yarm’s Top 7 Grunge Videos

September 26, 2017 | by Hannah Marshall

Tags: Alice in Chains, Babes in Toyland, Everybody Loves Our Town, Grunge, Mark Yarm, Mudhoney, Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Soundgarden, TAD, U-Men

This month Mark Yarm’s seminal oral history of the grunge scene Everybody Loves Our Town is published in paperback. Below, Mark lists seven of his favourite grunge videos, some of which remain among the most celebrated music videos of all time.

‘Dig It a Hole’ – U-Men

Honestly, this DIY video isn’t particularly remarkable, but I’ve included it here because
these crazed punks were a huge deal in Seattle, where they ruled the mid-’80s underground scene
and influenced the grunge bands that followed. Plus, I wanted to help spread some exciting news:
In November, Sub Pop will release a comprehensive anthology of the U-Men’s work.

 

‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ – Nirvana

Yes, it’s the most obvious choice in the world for a list of grunge videos.
But more than a quarter century on, it still feels vibrant and anarchic.
A side note: The cheerleaders in the video were recruited from a local strip club in Los Angeles.
I often wonder what those women are up to now.

 

‘Wood Goblins’ – TAD

TAD were a fearsome four-piece fronted by 300-pound singer/guitarist Tad Doyle.
Their first label, Sub Pop, marketed them as a bunch of chainsaw-toting, backwoods rednecks,
which was fun for the band for a time—until the image overshadowed the music.
Word has it that MTV rejected this video because the band was too ugly.

 

‘Bruise Violet’ –Babes in Toyland

How many other videos do you know that were directed by conceptual photographer Cindy Sherman
and received high praise from Beavis and Butt-head (‘Whoa! These chicks rock!’)?

 

‘Black Hole Sun’ – Soundgarden

I’ve had a bit too much of this song as of late—everybody in the known universe covered it in the wake of
Chris Cornell’s passing in May. But I still love this video, a thing of unsettling, psychotropic beauty.
Every time I see it, it transports me back to the summer of 1994, when it was in heavy rotation on MTV.

 

‘Man in the Box’ – Alice in Chains

The hooded, Jesus-looking guy with his eyes sewn shut?
Just one of the most indelible (and creepiest) images in the history of music videos.

 

‘Suck You Dry’ – Mudhoney

I wrote about this video for the Faber & Faber blog a number of years back.
Read my thoughts here, or just go ahead and watch the thing—it’ll only take two and a half minutes.
Oh, and for the last time: Yes, my name is Mark Yarm, and the singer of Mudhoney is named Mark Arm.
Yes, it’s kind of a weird coincidence. But I assure you, we are two entirely different people.

 

Mark Yarm is senior editor at Blender. He has written for numerous other publications, including Wired, Esquire, FHM, Spin, the Village Voice and Salon.com

BOOKS

Everybody Loves Our Town, By Mark Yarm

Everybody Loves Our Town

Mark Yarm

Grunge, also known as the ‘Seattle Sound’, emerged from the Pacific north-west in the early part of the 1980s. With the unexpected success of Nirvana’s single ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’…