KCMU KEXP in full nostalgia mode to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind, CHS thought it might an appropriate time to spin around the Hill and recount Capitol Hill’s role in the birth of grunge. Just one problem. The Hill’s role — thanks in no small part to Cameron Crowe — is overstated. The Capitol Hill of the late 80s and early 90s was a much different place — certainly nothing like the glossy entertainment district that we’ve grown into. Moe’s Mo’Roc’N Café — now Neumos — wasn’t even born until 1992. Most of the venues where “the Seattle sound” was born weren’t on Capitol Hill. Grunge was born, for the most part, in Belltown and the International District and Pioneer Square. But the rockers did live and drink (and plot and plan) here. And, according to the histories, some played here.
Here’s a quick and dirty look at some points of interest from Capitol Hill’s (smaller than you might think) place in grunge history. If you were here and know of a landmark or two we should consider, add a comment.
possibly the first “true” grunge band, rocked the old rafters. Today, we’re betting a U-Man or two may have sampled a delicious Oddfellows scone.: Before the growth of the Hill’s live music and nightlife scene, one of the most important performance venues on the Hill was the Odd Fellows Hall. It was also a much different place than the overhauled building we know now. The U-Men,
: Of course. Rock things happened there. But most references to it in the early grunge histories involve drinking, not laying down, sweet, thick layers of guitar fuzz.
Chris Cornell’s living room: Somewhere on Capitol Hill. We don’t know where but you might. Soundgarden practiced there. Sorry neighbors.
: Old house at 19th and Denny. A squat/commune/whatever that housed a tribe of Capitol Hill rockers.
: Nirvana played its first show at The Vogue — when it was in Belltown or whatever they called the place back in the old days. The Vogue later moved to 1516 11th Ave. Today, the place where Nirvana kind of played its first show but really didn’t is now The Crypt.
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