How much do you know about grunge music?


By: Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

It was the sound of anger and alienation, and it galvanized listeners in the late 1980s and early 90s! Now, test your knowledge of this musical subgenre with our quiz!

The grunge sound is most strongly identified with which city?

There's a theory that Seattle developed a distinctive sound because it was, back then, relatively cut off from the big music scenes of the United States. New York and Los Angeles were constantly getting new talent, and sending acts out into the world -- but Seattle was a world of its own before it blew up, culturally, in the 1990s.


Grunge music was considered the sound of which generation?

Grunge music summed up the attitudes of the then-youthful Gen-Xers, expressing themes of depression and disaffectedness. (All this while living in an era of almost unparalleled peace and prosperity).


Layne Staley was the lead vocalist for which band?

Staley, like other Seattle musicians of his era, struggled with drug addiction. He died in 2002.


Which drug is most associated with the grunge scene?

While grunge musicians and fans certainly drank and smoked marijuana, grunge was uniquely associated with heroin. For example, the signature look of grunge culture -- thin, unkempt, underdressed -- became known as "heroin chic."


The cover of "Nevermind" features a naked baby swimming toward what object?

A baby boy swims toward, and reaches out for, the bill. A syringe probably wouldn't have flown on a major-label release, which "Nevermind" was (Nirvana's debut album, "Bleach," was through the smaller Sub Pop label.)


Mike McCready is the guitarist for which band?

Pearl Jam apparently takes its name from Eddie Vedder's grandmother Pearl. Before that, they had the name "Mookie Blaylock," after a basketball player.


What seminal record label brought out many early grunge recordings?

Sub Pop was founded in the mid-80s and signed acts like Nirvana and Soundgarden. Later Sub Pop acts include Flight of the Conchords and Sleater Kinney.


For which group did Matt Cameron play drums?

The lineups of grunge bands were often in flux. For bands to share members, replace members, or break up entirely, was a fairly common thing.


Which band was started by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl?

The Foo Fighters are considered a rock band; few would classify them as old-style grunge. The name comes from a WWII term for unidentified flying objects, which in turn is taken from the French word for fire, "feux."


Which group boycotted Ticketmaster venues in protest of price gouging?

Pearl Jam refused to play Ticketmaster venues because of excessive fees added to tickets. Other bands didn't join the boycott, and Pearl Jam found itself sidelined at minor venues for several years.


What is the name of the touring festival that gave a stage to many grunge bands?

Lollapalooza carries on today. It had never been reliant on one musical genre, which is likely why it survived the demise of grunge and alternative rock in the late 1990s.


Nirvana got their start in which town?

Aberdeen is a coastal town on the Olympic Peninsula. A city-limits sign there reads, "Welcome to Aberdeen: Come As You Are," a homage to Kurt Cobain.


Which band was derailed by the death of its lead singer around the time of their first release?

Andrew Wood died of a heroin overdose several days before the planned release of "Apple." That CD was released months later, but the band did not continue on without Wood.


On which album would you find "Rooster" and "Them Bones"?

"Dirt" was Alice in Chains' second release. The album has gone quadruple platinum.


Which of these grunge bands is not like the others?

Hole, is different from the other three groups in that it mainly has females in its lineup, headed by Courtney Love. This isn't to say that grunge has a sexism problem -- women have been more prominent in grunge music than in genres like, for example, rap.


Mark Arm sang for Mudhoney and what previous band?

Arm was an early fixture on the grunge scene in Seattle. He continues to make music with Mudhoney.


Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was married to which musician?

Love has been a controversial figure for many Nirvana fans, who see her as having been bad for Cobain's mental health. But then, Love is no stranger to controversy; she has something of a reputation for punching perceived enemies in the face.


Kim Thayil played lead guitar for which band?

Soundgarden reunited in early 2010, with Matt Cameron also drumming for Pearl Jam. The future of the band is in flux with the death of lead singer, Chris Cornell.


Temple of the Dog was a tribute band formed to honor which musician?

Temple of the Dog was the brainchild of Chris Cornell. It was he who wrote the songs "Reach Down" and "Say Hello 2 Heaven."


Which band was started by Thomas Arthur Doyle?

"TAD" never broke through to mainstream success, but is highly regarded within the music community. Doyle, who goes by the name "Tad," can be seen in grunge documentaries like 1996's "Hype!"


Krist Novoselic played which role in Nirvana?

Novoselic was Nirvana's bassist. The lead vocalist, of course, was Kurt Cobain.


Which of the following bands is LEAST likely to be classified as grunge?

Sleater-Kinney, a trio of female rock musicians, is not commonly classified as grunge. However, they are from Washington state. The band takes its name from Sleater-Kinney road in Lacey, Washington.


In what year did Soundgarden break up for more than a decade?

Soundgarden's breakup is seen by some as the death knell for grunge. Nirvana had dissolved after Cobain's death, while Pearl Jam had retreated from the spotlight. This left grunge with no A-list band in the public eye.


In which year did Kurt Cobain die?

Grunge peaked earlier in the 1990s than many people remember. Though it didn't end with Cobain's death in 1994, Nirvana's demise and the struggles of other groups -- many of them unwilling to deal with fame and fortune -- meant the grunge scene was already in decline by the mid-1990s.


Which album title was inspired by a public service message about drug use?

The title was inspired by a health-services poster. In it, drug users are urged to "Bleach your works" to prevent the spread of HIV.


Before Mother Love Bone, Andrew Wood started which band?

Wood formed Malfunkshun with his brother, Kevin, in 1980. Though grunge is associated with the 1990s, many of its important figures started playing in the early 80s.


The Melvins were formed in ______.

The Melvins were another early-80s grunge band. Founding member Buzz Osborne was a friend of Kurt Cobain, and takes credit for bringing Cobain to his first punk rock concert.


Which band was NOT on the compilation album, Deep Six?

Deep Six was released in 1985 to capture the Seattle sound. The six bands on it are U-Men, Green River, Soundgarden, Skin Yard, The Melvins, and Malfunkshun.


From what city is Eddie Vedder?

Yup! Belying the insular, everyone's-from-Washington aesthetic, Vedder came from the San Diego area. Bassist Jeff Ament is from Montana. For a grunge band, that's extraordinarily geographically diverse.


Which fashion designer did a grunge-themed collection for Perry Ellis?

Jacobs was fired because of the collection, but it turned out to be a visionary move. Grunge had a huge influence on 1990s fashion.


Greg Gilmore was a drummer for which band?

Skin Yard was one of the six groups featured on 1985's Deep Six album. Gilmore also played drums for Mother Love Bone, the short-lived group fronted by Andrew Wood.


Which of these is NOT a lesser-known grunge band?

There were any number of grunge-sound bands in the Pacific Northwest in the 80s and 90s, each with a name stranger than the last. There's probably a "grunge band name generator" somewhere online. If there isn't, there should be.


Who is the most likely candidate for naming grunge "grunge"?

It's not clear who coined the "grunge" name. But Arm has a good claim. In a letter, he called his band's sound, "...pure grunge, pure noise, pure [expletive]."


"The Rocket" is the name of a Seattle ______.

The Rocket is a free music magazine based in Seattle. The editorial staff once received a package containing urine and feces, anonymously, but probably from Alice in Chains's Layne Staley, after implying that the band's manager had to "wipe and change" the frontman.


Which label released the compilaton album Deep Six?

Deep Six was a compilation album meant to capture the Seattle sound. Six bands contributed to it, and C/Z Records released it, not the later-influential Sub Pop.


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