I discovered rock music the same way a lot of other kids did in 1992: Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. The song had been out a year and hit big in ’92. With that song I became a card carrying member of the 120 Minutes/Alternative Nation contingent aka Generation X (which i wasn’t old enough to be apart of actually). I devoured all of the Nirvana clone bands and other acts to emerge from the new alternative movement. The alternative nation had its own sound, language, and style. A counterculture to their parents counterculture of the 60’s and 70’s. The movement was about angst, social issues, depression, drug use, and flannel (I engaged in none of those things at the time but I enjoyed the music immensely).
While there was great music during this movement their wasn’t much musical diversity represented commercially. The alternative nation sound was quite homogenous in its style and themes (adults don’t get it and they suck). Radio stations found the format they were comfortable with (loud/quiet/loud/quiet) and embraced bands that helped create the alternative rock format for radio. Once the mainstream media began to analyze the culture, more light was placed on the artists that fulfilled the long hair/doc martens/heroin addict stereotype. The sound, style, and approach was dictated within the group and reinforced via mainstream media “What’s wrong with these kids??” pieces.