Green River - Dry As A Bone (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Green River

Dry As A Bone (1987)

Sub Pop

                Green River was, stylistically and literally, the grunge band that birthed grunge. Formed in 1984 by Mark Arm, Stever Turner, Alex Vincent, Jeff Amment, and Stone Gossard. Steve Turner would be replaced by Bruce Fairweather and the band would pioneer the blend of metal, rock, and punk that would become synonymous with the term grunge later in the decade and throughout the early to mid-nineties. The fact the members of this band helped pioneer a genre, shouldn’t be surprising as they would all go on to play in more prominent bands in the grunge scene. After Green River came to an end, Mark Arm and Steve Turner would reunite start a band called Mudhoney. While Jeff Ament, Stone Goassard, and Bruce Fairweather would come together with Andrew Wood to form Mother Love Bone. After Wood overdosed on heroin, they’d record a tribute album for him with Chris Cornnell and newcomer Eddie Vedder as Temple of the Dog. They would then recruit Eddie Vedder to sing vocals in what would become Pearl Jam. In short, love it or hate it, grunge largely exists because of the band Green River.

In 1987, the band would release their second EP, Dry as a Bone, and while it didn’t take the country by storm, it certainly took Seattle by storm. The band’s combo of 70’s hard rock and metal attitude and punk rock aggression came together perfectly here. This was every bit as angry as Black Flag’s album My War, but the songwriting fell more into the vein of traditional rock and roll. Granted, Stone Gossard and Bruce Fairweather still played guitar like men possessed at this point. This is to say while Greg Ginn was the punk rock Tony Iommi, Stone Gossard and Bruce Fairweather were the punk rock version of Mick Ronson while they were in Green River.

Vocally, Mark Arm was unbridled energy. Screaming and shouting lines, much like he would throughout much of Mudhoney’s early career. But, here he also adds vocal flares in, think a more authentic version of David Lee Roth, Brett Michaels, or Vince Neil that add to the vocal performance. Which is an odd thing for me to say, as I’m not typically a fan of those things. They just sound authentic here, it didn’t sound like something they wrote into the song, it was something Arm decided to do. Whether it was an attempt to mock some of the aforementioned vocalists or a twenty-two year old paying homage to singers he enjoyed, I guess only he knows for sure.

Everything about this EP is raw energy. It sounds like the band got locked in a room with Jack Endino (who also worked with Soungarden, Nirvana, Blue Cheer, and Bruce Dickinson) he hit record and they just saw what happened. The band, like so many of their peers, perfectly captures the angst and boredom of being young with the power, speed, aggression, and passion that comes with it. With a runtime under twenty minutes, I’m not going to say which songs are the best. They’re all great. They’re all vital. They all capture a band in top form. If you check this out, and dig it, Sub Pop just put out a great re-release earlier this year.