The Reason Rob Zombie Blamed Nirvana For Killing Rock Music

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The Seattle grunge music is an alternative genre that emerged in the mid-1980s. The bands became famous for combining punk and heavy metal with distorted electric guitars and well-crafted lyrics. The lyrics mainly focused on self-doubt, abuse, neglect, betrayal, social and emotional isolation, so the music turned into a way of reflecting those feelings that they went through.

Grunge’s mainstream success came with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots, especially after they had released their best-selling records. Even though the members of these bands gained great fame, not all of them wanted to fit in the rock star stereotype. Still, according to Rob Zombie, their behaviors killed rock music.

Why Did Nirvana Kill Rock Music?

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There’s no doubt that grunge drew significant attention from hard rock and heavy metal music fans, so the genre’s rise was defined as the decline of them. The young musicians preferred to create grunge-based sounds and lyrics while the others wanted to listen to those songs anymore. Nirvana’s and other grunge bands’ influence on young people helped the genre become a subculture, especially during the 90s.

Nirvana can be considered one of the most popular grunge and rock bands worldwide. The band’s members, lead singer Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic, and drummer Dave Grohl received positive reviews from music critics and rock music lovers as talented songwriters and musicians. However, they created an anti-rock star image to criticize the music industry’s striving for gaining more and more money and fame without focusing on the art itself.

Therefore, they didn’t perform extraordinary stage shows or wear extreme makeup and stage costumes. Even the lead singers performed sitting with their guitars in some of their performances, not paying attention to showmanship. Although many people saw Nirvana and other Grunge bands’ perspective toward fame and commercial success as a revolutionary and milestone event for rock music, the famous heavy metal musician Rob Zombie had another idea about that.

During one of his previous interviews, White Zombie’s co-founder Rob Zombie claimed that Seattle-based bands like Nirvana killed rock music in the US with their anti-rock star looks and performances because rap musicians filled that gap. Zombie stated that they wanted to act like rock stars, so they became more popular. Young people also found rock music ‘boring’ and listened to rap music more.

In Rob Zombie’s words, he said:

“In the ’90s, when the grunge rock thing hit, with Nirvana and all that, everybody thought it was cool to be an anti-rock star. However, in a way, they sort of anti-rock-starred themselves right out the door because the rap guys came in, and they said, ‘F’ck it. We’ll be the rock stars then if you guys are going to wear flannel shirts and stare at your feet.’

In the US, truthfully, rock music has never recovered from that. A whole generation of kids thought, ‘F’ck this! Rock music is boring. Let’s go listen to rap music.’ It’s never recovered. I mean, over in the UK, it’s different. You could never throw a festival like Download in the US and get this many people, with just rock music. Never.”

Rob Zombie added that the UK recovered from this effect, but the US was lost to rap musicians due to the grunge bands, so they can’t have a Download Festival full of rockers. Moreover, previously, the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain had named White Zombie’s third EP ‘Psycho-Head Blowout’ as one of his favorite and defined the band as his significant influence. However, Rob Zombie blamed Nirvana and the other Grunge bands for killing rock music in the US.