Seattle Grunge Rock course, excerpt from syllabus

Posted: August 23, 2012 in The Strangest Tribe: the College Course

Course Syllabus: Seattle Grunge Rock

Delaware Valley College

(HR 2111, Section 201)

Fall 2012

Classroom: Mandell 216

Meeting Times: T, 1:40 – 2:55 pm

Instructor:  Stephen Tow Phone:   123-456-78910 (cell)
E-mail: Office Hours: T/R, 12:15 – 1:30 pm (@ the Pub); and by appointment

Texts: Stephen Tow (no relation): The Strangest Tribe: How a Group of Seattle Rock Bands Invented Grunge; Michael Azerrad: Our Band Could Be Your Life.


On Blackboard: Seattle band charts (grunge and non-grunge) for your viewing pleasure.

Additional web readings: As directed by week.

Movies: (optional, for further background/exploration): hype! (about the Seattle music scene); TAD: Busted Circuits and Ringing Ears (about the seminal grunge band TAD); Pearl Jam Twenty (about PJ, of course, but it does delve a little into the scene that preceded them); Malfunkshun: The Andrew Wood Story (about Andy Wood, Seattle’s lost rock star); I’m Now: The Story of Mudhoney (about Seattle’s quintessential grunge band, set for release online/DVD in early fall…I have yet to see this one); Singles (early ’90s romantic dramedy that uses grunge Seattle as a backdrop and features performances by Soundgarden and Alice in Chains; also stars three members of Pearl Jam); American Hardcore: The History of Punk Rock 1980 – 1986.

Course Description: This course focuses on rock music experimentation by examining the origins of the Seattle music scene. Students will also compare and contrast Seattle’s music community with other vital contemporary scenes including Boston, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York, and Olympia, Washington.  The course will explore the complex dynamics that arise when music scenes become commercially viable.

Course Objective: After completing the course, students will have explored the nature of music scenes including motivations, communication, class structures, and the inevitable conflict between art and commerce.  (If nothing else, you’ll be able to tell your grandkids who played bass for Vexed in 1986.)

  1. Ralph Becker says:

    Too bad you don’t include “Loser” on your reading list.

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