The Seattle Grunge Scene: A Strange Time to be in Seattle

The Seattle Grunge Scene: A Strange Time to be in Seattle

Soundgarden, Spoonman, and Ridiculously Large Levi's


The days of grunge are gone from Seattle with the possible exception of a resurgence in plaid. But that doesn’t mean that Seattleites of a certain age can’t think back and reflect on the time when Seattle seemed like the musical center of the entire universe. Anyone wanting to find out more about the history of Seattle’s grunge scene in the 1990’s should listen to Slacker radio at

When I first tuned into the radio station, one of the first songs that I heard played was “Spoonman” by Soundgarden. While Chris Cornell and Soundgarden weren’t the first to explode on the Seattle grunge scene, they were definitely one of the bands able to capitalize on the Seattle music scene. The song “Spoonman” itself featured an actual performance artist from the Pike Place market. 


By the time I arrived in Seattle, the Seattle grunge scene had all but died out and when I saw Soundgarden play, it was at the Seattle center. All of the major grunge bands from Seattle had been signed by major record labels and Kurt Cobain was already dead. That didn’t stop thousands of “immigrants” from other cities from moving to the Pacific Northwest to catch a piece of the coolness factor that was already here. At that time, it seemed like everyone in Seattle was dressed in the worst way possible; I myself wore my Levi's two or three inches too big around the waist with oversized plaid jackets that I picked up for a steal at Cost-co. The worst part about my attire at that time was that I didn’t stand out anywhere I went. Almost everyone I met during that time dressed the same way. Grunge fashion was WAY less flattering than the even the hipster attire of today--definitely a sad comment on Seattle society at that time. 


Seattle was then known as the heroin capital of the world. I knew people that had tried the drug, but it wasn’t my scene for sure. Tons of heroin addicts lined the streets of Capital Hill where they sat begging for money in their fancy shoes that their Bellevue parents had unwittingly purchased for them. We called them Trustafarians then, a term that I believe originated at Evergreen or was made up by a friend of mine.


Seattle doesn’t seem the same now; maybe that’s a good thing or maybe I’m too old to enjoy whatever new scene is hitting the city. 


How about you? Where you here in Seattle when it all went down and how did you feel at the time?