MTV interview with Neil "Don Grungio" Young : August 1993 on YouTube
Neil Young MTV interview from August 1993 on YouTube.
This is the interview where Neil Young refutes the title "Godfather of Grunge" preferring the handle "Don Grungio" instead.
So who really is the Godfather of Grunge?
Nirvana's Kurt Cobain is often cited as the Godfather of Grunge. In October 1988,according to Rock On The Net Nirvana's first recording effort together resulted in a demo named 'Godfather Of Grunge' and the single 'Love Buzz/Big Cheese.' "
So does recording a song 'Godfather Of Grunge' truly establish Nirvana's Kurt Cobain as THE 'Godfather Of Grunge'? And where does Neil Young fit in the picture?
Wikipedia defines Grunge as:
"As a style of music, it is generally characterized by 'dirty' guitar, strong riffs, and heavy drumming. Grunge is also popularly referred to as the Seattle Sound."
In many ways, grunge music was to the 90's what punk was to 70's. Both grunge and punk were relatively short lived musical genres that had a much greater impact than their sales, radio play, and concert performances would indicate. However, critically, both genres were both hailed and disparaged as either the future of rock or an indication that rock was dead.
So just as Neil Young's 1979 release of "Rust Never Sleeps" marked a turning point in both punk and rock, so did "Ragged Glory"'s release in 1991 foreshadow the emergence of grunge. Ragged Glory's raging feedback was widely emulated and influenced numerous bands, including Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth among others.
The earliest written reference to Neil Young as the 'Godfather Of Grunge' was in December 1991, when Tower Records in house publication Pulse! published a cover article on Neil Young titled 'The Godfather Of Grunge Rock' by Steve Martin.
The album Freedom is considered to be one of the ten most important albums in the history of alternative music. Pagewise in 2001 said:
Despite what some Nirvana fans might say, this is the album that started it all. Neil Young is the grandfather of grunge.
'Freedom,' which Young released in 1989, was the first true alternative album. It seems a stretch to call an album by someone Young's age alternative, but the label is applied to the music, not the artist. The edgy guitar-driven songs on “Freedom” set it apart from Young’s other albums, which tend toward the mellow folk rock end of the spectrum. If “Freedom” is the first true alternative album, “Rockin’ in the Free World” is the first true alternative song.
More on whether -- in fact -- is Neil Young the Godfather of Grunge.