When Grunge Broke into Phoenix

“Pure grunge! Pure noise! Pure shit!” – Mike Arm

Grunge (sometimes referred to as the Seattle sound) is a fusion genre of alternative rock, punk rock, and heavy metal and a subculture that emerged during the mid-1980s in the Pacific Northwest U.S. state of Washington, particularly in Seattle and nearby towns – wikipedia. 

As a Generation Xer (the MTV generation), I grew up during in the grunge area. It never was my favorite term for this style of music, but it had a profound effect on my life in the early 90’s. In early 1991, I was really heavy into glam rock music (Def Leppard, Van Halen, Warrant, Poison, etc) and quite a concert junkie. I graduated from Tempe High school in May of 1991 and started dating a girl who change both my music and clothing taste. She introduced me to Alternative rock music (another term I’m not a fan of). At first I was resistant, but later would find myself listening to R.E.M., Depeche Mode, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Violent Femmes and U2. She helped me expand my music taste and it freed my mind to be more open to new things. My parents just divorced and I was officially on my own. I was an angry teenager as the result of the brokeness in my family and was suffering from a lack of self-worth. MTV, booze, girls and music were a big outlet for me. I was a frequent visitor to both Zia Records and Tower Records and built myself a huge collection of CD’s. The concert scene was big here in the Valley of the Sun, but people were unaware of what was going on with the music scene in Seattle. Even though a year earlier on February 19, 1990, an unknown band by the name of Nirvana opened for Tad in a small club in Phoenix, AZ (Nirvana’s first AZ show was actually at the Sun Club in Tempe in 1989 – video below of Cobain outside the club). The story goes that when Nirvana played this gig in Phoenix, the cheap-ass owner of the Mason Jar charged them a rental fee for some of the equipment that they used.

Music history would change forever on August 27, 1991 when “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hit the airwaves. I caught on when the video premiered on September 29, 1991 on one of my favorite shows – MTV’s “120 Minutes”. I remember watching that video over and over for days. Being a glam rock fan, there was nothing glamorous about this band Nirvana. They were just regular looking guys that wore regular clothes that just wanted to play rock ‘n’ roll. The video was very simple as well and didn’t look like it cost a lot to make. I was instantly hooked onto this type of music.

At the time I worked at a Rally’s Hamburgers. A co-worker of mine mentioned how the Red Hot Chili Peppers were coming in concert in Tempe. Their song “Give it Away” was another huge hit on the radio at that time. He told me how Nirvana and some band called Pearl Jam were the openers. I remember wanting to go but for some reason I didn’t make the effort and regret it today. But what a killer line-up! The show was on December 29. 1991 in Tempe and it was heavily promoted on the radio. I remember everyone raving about the show as grunge music was taking the Valley by storm. I remember going to a huge rave party in the desert and somebody was blasting Nirvana on the radio. We were all standing in the back of someone’s truck drinking from a keg and singing to “Teen Spirit”. The girl next to kept going on about how much she loved Nirvana. It was such a crazy movement at that time. Nirvana played Saturday Night Live (another show I always watched) on January 11, 1992 which really thrust them into the spotlight. By this time, hair bands were slowly phasing out.

On January 31, 1992, I went to a Guns N’ Roses “Use Your Illusion” concert tour with a bunch of friends at Compton Terrace. This was back when GNR were being assholes and making fans wait hours for them to come on stage. It was a memorable show for me because I made out with this smoking hot girl from Scottsdale named Wendy Luckett in the back lawn area. Every dude in my group wanted her and I had bragging rights for some time after that. Anyway, a band called Soundgarden opened for GNR and I knew nothing about them. It took me some time to get into them, but they were hard core. I was really into “Outshined” when they played it. I remember they ended the show with Kim Thayil leaving his guitar on stage making feedback noise. This was the next grunge band I would get into after Nirvana. Looking back. I always wondered why they opened for Guns ‘N’ Roses. Apparently GNR felt Soundgarden were too serious of a band and nicknamed them “Frowngarden”. Ben Shepherd’s response was that they weren’t rock stars and were there to play music. I guess in the 2nd show (the night after my show), GNR decided to crash Soundgarden’s set by walking out in the nude with blow-up dolls because it was the final night of the tour. The band members weren’t too amused by this which shows you the vast difference in these two type of bands at that time. One took their music serious while the other one was just there to party.

the source/ deanna

 

Urbanspoon -> Zomato

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Today is a sad day. Zomato officially transitioned Urbanspoon into Zomato. They acquired them back in January. I’ve been using Urbanspoon for a few years now and ended up becoming a Prime. I initially used them to time-stamp my restaurant visits for this blog and to help keep me organized. But after I became a Prime, I started to build community with other fellow passionate foodies. I personally put many man hours into posting photos, writing reviews and editing mis-information about different restaurants on Urbanspoon. I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly a big fan of this new platform. But Zomato is continuing to keep my reviews, photos and will let me use the spoon back feature for my blog. I have decided to transition to Yelp (not a huge fan either) but will occasionally use Zomato when I can. Thanks for the good memories Urbanspoon and for getting me out trying new places to eat.

Long Live the Spoon!

From Wikipedia: Zomato’s intention, based on information from its CEO, Deepinder Goyal, as reported by John Cook of GeekWire, is to give the company “a nice footprint” as it expands in preparation to “battle industry heavyweight Yelp.” Goyal is reported to have said: “‘The biggest challenge and most fun part of this move, however, is the fight we’re going to be picking with Yelp, … [i]n the market they have dominated for so long. After all, like Mark Twain famously said, it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Zomato reportedly will integrate the Urbanspoon app and Web site over the next few months [of early 2015], “meaning the Urbanspoon brand will be phased out.”

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From Zomato Blog: Needless to say, the road ahead is a long one, and there are big challenges to overcome. For one, we’ll need to ensure that Urbanspoon’s website and app are integrated into Zomato smoothly over the next couple of months, without sacrificing the usability or utility of either. Urbanspoon has built vast legions of faithful followers over the years, and we’ll need to work extra hard to ensure that the finished product is one that users and merchants alike will love and enjoy using.

Sadly, Zomato alienated the Urbanspoon Primes and they all faded away to other food apps. I’m not sure what the future will hold for Zomato, but they ended laying off tons of U.S. staff members after their start and thus far have not replicated what Urbanspoon did here in the U.S. Zomato may be big overseas, but Yelp continues to dominate the market here in the States. There is a Facebook group for former Prime members (pending approval) if you ever want to connect with us. 

Serious Pie & Biscuit

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Serious Pie and Biscuit, located in the bustling South Lake Union neighborhood, is a multi-storied building brimming with delectable pizzas, buttery biscuits and a very serious bar. Biscuits are topped with everything from fried chicken and gravy to seasonal jams. Our bar features 22 rotating taps and 60 bottles and cans. The pizza? Deliberately browned crusts are topped with things like housemade charcuterie, foraged mushrooms and imported cheeses.

I love the South Lake Union neighborhood (located at the tip of Lake Union) in Seattle. While looking for a bite to eat, I stumbled upon Serious Pie & Biscuit. I had sampled some food at their Belltown location some years back on a food tour. Known for their amazing pizza pies, this location combines both their pizzas and breakfast. Their pizza crusts are both light textured but full of flavor and cooked in a 600 degree stone-encased apple wood burning oven. Chef Tony Catini came from the Serious Pie location in Virginia and now serves as head chef over all the locations in Seattle. Because it was early, I went for “the Zach” – a homemade buttermilk biscuit with fried chicken, a fried egg, bacon and smothered in tabasco black pepper gravy. Wow – the biscuit was fresh and delicious and the gravy was amazing. Serious Pie definitely ranks up there as one of my favorites in Seattle.

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The Zach

Serious Biscuit Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food Tours

I think one of the best ways to get to know a city is to learn about the food that is distinctive to that particular city. Walking food tours have become very popular in some of the major cities because they not only give a taste of different restaurants, but they also give you  a chance to walk around and see some of the sights of the city. I’ve done a couple of these food tours in Seattle and here in old town Scottsdale. You not only get to sample some great fine foods and wine, but at the same time learn about the city and its history. I highly recommend doing one of these food tours on your next visit to a major city.

Here are some pictures from some of the food tours that I did in Seattle and Scottsdale.

Seattle Food Tour

Scottsdale Food Tour

(Look closely and you’ll see me in the Scottsdale food tour video!)