As its title clearly states, my latest book, ‘Survival of the Fittest: Heavy Metal in the 1990’s,’ is about the 1990’s. But as quite a few alt rock fans are probably aware, there were several groundbreaking bands leading up to Nirvana’s big breakthrough in 1991 that helped “pave the way,” and would eventually alter the direction of not just alternative, but heavy metal and hard rock, as well.
Primus’ Les Claypool discusses this in the book, as he talks about the importance of bands such as the Bad Brains and Public Enemy, but tops on his list is the Hillel Slovak-era of the Red Hot Chili Peppers:
“I think one of the greatest albums of that period – when I speak of my contemporaries – that was hugely influential sonically and just inspirational of like, ‘That’s fuckin’ amazing!’ was that Red Hot Chili Peppers ‘Uplift Mofo Party Plan’ album. To me, that is their best album by far. I mean, Chad Smith’s a great guy and he’s a great player, but when Hillel [Slovak] and Jack Irons and Flea and Anthony [Kiedis] were together – and we used to play with those guys back then – it was like Led Zeppelin. It was unbelievable. Really, really cool. Michael Beinhorn produced that, that record is just huge sounding. And there’s lots of space, and lots of little intricacies in it. It’s just an amazing, amazing record.”
You can read an entire chapter from the book here (which recounts how guitar solos nearly vanished from rock music by the mid ’90s), another excerpt here (in which Scott Weiland discusses the affect of Kurt Cobain’s death), yet another chapter here (in which Richard Patrick talks about what led to his exit from Nine Inch Nails), and find ordering info for the paperback/Kindle versions here, and the Nook version here.