Seattle's Josh Niehaus reflects on the 90s in Zanadu.

Another great and truly independent artist out of Seattle; perhaps the Olympia Brewing Company is right about the water up there. Josh Niehaus couples his gift of song writing with a polished production value uncharacteristically high for an unsigned artist. To top it off, Josh writes about his music in a way that we, at IndieAndie, couldn't have done better ourselves. So, without further ado, this week's spotlight is a repost of a spot Josh Niehaus wrote about his song Zanadu; a tribute to growing up in Seattle. 

Growing up in Seattle during the nineties was the best! Well, maybe it would’ve been cooler to be in Paris in 1789 or in Greenwhich Village in 1968. But, if you had to spend your teen years alive during the 1990's, you couldn't hope for a better place to do in it than Seattle. I can already feel the non-Seattle-ites rolling their eyes, and saying, "how can you possibly back that up?" Well, to understand what was so great about Seattle in the 90's, let's take a look at the popular culture that it emerged out of, my first decade, the 80's; a time when the counter cultural revolution was but a fading memory, and in its place stood an empowered GOP with Reagan at the helm. A time when the airwaves were saturated with synthesizers and drum machines. A time when Eddie Van Halen melted peoples faces with some of the most iconic guitar shredding ever played. In other words, it was a time when the spirit of rock and roll was being suffocated under a nation's desperate plea for order and conservatism. A time when the chaos of rock’s sound was quantized into new-wave dance fluff by primitive computers. And a time when the men and women who yielded rock’s most powerful weapon, the Axe, were all trying to be Van Halen. But luckily the cultural tides shifted as I entered into the 90's, and Seattle was at the center of this movement.

From the muddy banks of the Wishkaw to Puget Sound, the 90’s were ruled by flannel wearing, garage dwelling, skateboard riding junkies from Seattle, whose appearance left but one title; Grunge! Grunge was a genuine form of expression, free from consonant fluff, cheesy synthesizers and overly-reverberated drum kits. Free from ostentation, affectation and record label subordination. It was a tiny movement that housed a few creative geniuses who sounded nothing like the billboard bands of their times, yet astonishingly took over the charts. Of course the labels caught on, as they always do, and began mass-producing Nirvana knock-offs by the mid to late nineties. But there was a time, in my childhood, in my city, were there was a genuine artistic movement that the whole world wanted a piece of. A time when I could ride my skateboard down 'The Ave' to buy comic books at Zanadu, bump into Krist Novoselic at Cellophane Square, see Pearl Jam in concert for free, or, sadly, attend a community wide vigil for Kurt Cobain; the unofficial poet laureate of our city’s scene. 

My song Zanadu is a tribute to growing up in my city during this era. The song ends with a simple notion that 'all good things must come to an end'. Grunge is dead. And Although I am left with only memories, the music lives on as a reminder of how lucky I was to grow up within the pages of music history. 


Check out more music and videos by Josh Niehaus on Facebook or Reverbnation

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