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The '90s Seattle sound: Music that defined a generation

The Summerland Tour creator Art Alexakis
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Is it too hot for flannel in Tempe? '90s rock, or alternative, or dare it be said “grunge,” is making a return this summer in the form of the Summerland Tour at The Marquee on July 15, headlined by Everclear, with Soul Asylum, and Eve 6 filling out the bill.

The Summerland Tour was created by Everclear front man, Art Alexakis. Everclear who formed in 1991, and signed to Capitol in ’94, had their first breakout single “Santa Monica” in ’95.

The single helped the band find an audience, driving their major label debut album “Sparkle and Fade” platinum. Their follow up album “So Much for the Afterglow,” featured the hit “I Will Buy You a New Life.”

The tour first appeared in 2012. On the bill that year in addition to Everclear, was Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray, and Marcy Playground. Rolling Stone ranked it amongst its “Ten Hottest Summer Package Tours of 2012.”

There will also be former presidential inauguration performers playing on the new incarnation of the tour coming to Tempe. Soul Asylum, scoring a massive hit with their Grammy winning single, “Runaway Train,” off of their triple-platinum selling album “Grave Dancers Union,” played the inauguration of President Clinton in 1993.

The alternative rock, or grunge sound came out of the Seattle music scene in the 90’s. The Seattle scene was one of those special moments in time, where the geographical location, mixed with angst, creativity, pathos, and for at least one well known band of the era, genius, producing a sound that was different, distinctive, emotional, and melodic, with lyrical content that had poetic substance, and sharp intelligence.

This sound eventually spread into other parts of the West Coast, with bands adopting the style and incorporating elements of it into their music. Many bands didn’t make it through the decade, but those that did, carry on the legacy, a reminder of the sound that certainly defined a generation.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, grab your Doc Martens and head over to The Marquee in Tempe on July 15.

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