2011 in Grunge was a year about honoring and remembering the past. Pearl Jam and Nirvana celebrated the 20 year anniversaries of their landmark albums, while Soundgarden toured for the first time in 14 years playing their classics.
I made some predictions at the beginning of the year, let’s see which ended up being true. I predicted that Soundgarden would tour and write new material, and both ended up happening. My predictions about the success of the PJ20 festival and Foo Fighters’ new album were correct. I was wrong though on STP releasing a new album, along with Mark Lanegan releasing his new album this year. I also predicted that Smashing Pumpkins’ would release their best material yet from Teargarden, which was completely wrong. Outside of Widow Wake My Mind, this year’s Pumpkins songs were some of Corgan’s worst work ever. But hey, at least I got the Soundgarden prediction right! That’s what matters most anyways. But a lot definitely happened in Grunge in 2011.
Sadly the biggest story in Grunge was the loss of one of its own. In March founding Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr passed away at the age of 44, tragically losing his battle against drug addiction. Starr had returned to the spotlight in 2009 and 2010 when he appeared as a cast member on Celebrity Rehab, where he emotionally talked about being the last person to see Layne Staley alive in 2002 and discussed his regrets. In 2010, Starr cleaned up and began playing music again. Things were looking up for Mike in 2011, but he tragically passed away shocking the legions of Alice In Chains fans on GrungeReport.net. Starr’s death had a big effect on me since I was covering him so extensively from late 2009-early 2011, constantly rooting for him to beat his demons. Mike is gone but his pulsing basslines will not be soon forgotten.