Craig Schuftan: Entertain Us! The Rise And Fall Of Alternative Rock

Australian music critic’s shrewd perspective on 90s corporate/revolutionary tensions.

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Although many of its key acts are still very much part of today’s scene, the 90s were a very different time for alternative rock music.

After a moribund later 80s, the Stateside rise of grunge, Lollapalooza etc saw a rise in both the creative and commercial fortunes of alt.rock, and with it, hopes of a cultural revolution in which the music industry would be destroyed. In the end, it was the internet which ravaged the industry, rather than touchingly naïve efforts by Kim Gordon to forge an alliance between alt.rock and hip-hop in a meeting with LL Cool J which did not go well.

Schuftan maps the hopes and eventual disappointments of alt.rock with erudition, making intriguing connections with the 90s war-torn political scene and the guitar rage of the day, retrospectively finding patterns and developments with hindsight’s benefit which we hacks missed at the time.

Classic Rock 214: Stuff

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.