My teenage years were a music bridge, they covered a weird gap through the late eighties into the early nineties. I almost feel that I was in limbo – I relate to those slightly older 80’s poster-children but also fit into the 90’s grunge as I watched it unfold.
Generation X – and I fit the mold. I think. I’ve been scouring the internet trying to find a clear definition of the Gen-X and who they are, but man alive that is a difficult process. Maybe that’s the point? Perhaps Gen-Xers cannot be defined, are we are generation that was so much in this state of limbo that that is our definition? The stereotypical image is the flannel-wearing grungey lazy teen slacker looking for the easy route to success, is that me? Perhaps in some ways.
The music we grew up with in the early years is heavily influenced by the Baby Boomers and the overlay into a music era in the late 70’s and early 80’s that produced so many one-hit wonders and artists that VH1 started a show called “Where are They Now?” Notice that many of the artists featured on that show that ran from 1999-2002 fit this musical niche. Baby Boomer music defined that generation the legacy still holds strong, many of the artists are still relevant and have come full circle into being ‘cool’ music with Generation Y.
I wonder if it’s the end of each so-called generation that brings out the best in music. If you look at the baby boomer generation much of the music that is labelled as the music of the times seems to have been in the later part of that time period. Was it all that ‘revolution’ and ‘change’ from the youth that moved us into the next generation? And where the hell does Disco fit into all of this?
The early 90’s after we conveniently swept the somewhat embarrassing music of the 80’s under the carpet were a real time of change much like the 60’s. From my perspective it seemed like a switch was turned on. I was right there in the middle of it when “Alternative” music became mainstream. For some of us it was a weird feeling to watch the music you had already been familar with and were jamming to with your friends become the new fav of the jock that sat next to you in history class.
I had a few friends during my teenage years that were fanatical music fans (like minds and all) and working in a record store really helped keep my current, but also developed my love for the obscure not so mainstream music (now with a classification of it’s own). The ‘Alternative’ music label still makes me giggle as I’m still not sure what it is the alternative too anymore. In the early years it was literally the alternative to Top 40 hits on the radio, now it’s too confusing to define.
Pearl Jam, twenty years and counting. I remember in August 1991 when that one lonely CD came into our small little record store in the mall. One copy that was it. My boyfriend at the time was quite excited that we had a copy and scooped it up on my discount. I may have purchased the next copy that was delivered, it was one copy at time as the album was not on any chart in 1991.
Pearl Jam graced The Concert Hall in Toronto on April 4, 1992 and I had the pleasure of being there. It was the first of many unbelievable concerts I attended. The setlist: Oceans, Even Flow, Why Go, Jeremy, Deep, Alive, Black, State of Love and Trust, Once, Porch, Breath, Happy Birthday, Leash. I remember during Porch,’ that Eddie climbed up onto the balcony and starts working his way all the way around the venue on the edge of the balcony. About 3/4 of the way around, two security guards grab him and pull him off the edge. They don’t realize who he is, thinking he is a fan climbing. When they realize their error, they let him go. Ed stands on the edge of the balcony and then drops down onto the crowd below – quite a drop but they catch him! Then he “swims” to the stage, picks up the mic and says, “I can do … whatever the fuck I want!”
My teen angst turned into a hot and bothered hormonal hot mess with the release of Pearl Jam “Ten”. Eddie Vedder in Jeremy is unforgettable, and I bet even today with a Ukulele he would invoke that hot mess in me.