Chicago Sun-Times pop music critic Jim DeRogatis takes a look back to the promising music scene in Chicago in the mid-90s: The curse of alternative nostalgia: What the heck happened to the Class of ’93? For those of you too young to remember or too otherwise occupied to give a shit at the time, the Class of ’93 included Urge Overkill, Liz Phair, Veruca Salt, and Smashing Pumpkins. DeRo checks back after a decade and a half to see where they are now:
“Alternative to what?” we may once again ask, and finally the answer is obvious: “Absolutely nothing.” Like so many rock bands before them, 15 years down the road, the most promising members of the Class of ’93 are treading dangerously close to that sad but true scene in “Spinal Tap” where the aging metal legends find themselves playing at the state fair.
Of course, this is the same conclusion that famously grouchy Steve Albini came to, well, fifteen years ago in his fantastic letter-to-the-editor of the Chicago Reader in January 1994, Three Pandering Sluts and Their Music Press Stooge:
In your rush to pat these three pandering sluts on the heinie, you miss what has been obvious to the “bullshit” crowd all along: These are not “alternative” artists any more than their historical precursors. They are by, of and for the mainstream. Liz Phair is Rickie Lee Jones (more talked about than heard, a persona completely unrooted in substance, and a fucking chore to listen to), Smashing Pumpkins are REO Speedwagon (stylistically appropriate for the current college party scene, but ultimately insignificant) and Urge Overkill are Oingo Boingo (Weiners in suits playing frat party rock, trying to tap a goofy trend that doesn’t even exist). You only think they are noteworthy now because some paid publicist has told you they are, and you, fulfilling your obligation as part of the publicity engine that drives the music industry, spurt about them on cue.
Does rockcrit get any better than the phrase, “Weiners in suits playing frat party rock”? I’m going to incorporate that phrase into my everyday language.