Bruce Pavitt Was There, Man
You may not know who Bruce Pavitt is, but you know all about what the indie label he pioneered in the 90s, Sub Pop Records. Sub Pop didn’t birth “grunge”—the media did. Bands like Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Nirvana (duh), and the other heavy hitters on Sub Pop’s roster just made the music.
These days, Bruce has retired from running the label full time, but he recently released a photo book with Bazillion Points called Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe 1989. The book follows Nirvana, Tad, and Mudhoney through their first European tour, and if you’ve been keeping up with VICE you probably saw the exclusive photos we published a few months back. Nearly three decades later, grunge has become a cultural phenomenon and bounced by into a retro-trend for younger musicians. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
So why put this book out now? I called up Bruce because he’s extremely cool and I wanted to talk about the 90s, the label, and why this book needed to get out into the world.
VICE: Hi Bruce. So first off, why do this book?
Bruce Pavitt: Essentially, the Seattle scene in the late 80s was a revolutionary time. The level of emotional intensity that those bands was expressing was incredible. I thought it was time to share some of those memories.
What did you think of The Oral History of Grunge?
Honestly, I didn’t read it.
Really? I mean, I don’t see why you would have to as you were kind of… there.
Yep. I actually took a very long time off from thinking about the scene, after Kurt’s passing. It was just last year when I started revisiting those times.