Former TNT singer Tony Harnell says that the rise of the early grunge movement, which symbolized the working-class spirit and focused on music over image, was ultimately a positive thing for the rock genre because it “shined a really harsh light on how boring and repetitive” the ’80s glam metal scene had become.
“I remember seeing the NIRVANA video on MTV, and I instantly knew,” Harnell told the “Cobras & Fire” podcast. “I think the first time I saw it, I just was, like, ‘Yeah, this is gonna change things for everybody.'”
According to Harnell, however, he has a “different” take on the impact of grunge on the overall rock scene, insisting that bands like NIRVANA, SOUNDGARDEN and ALICE IN CHAINS sounded fresh and exciting compared to the acts of the ’80s which focused more on girls, clothes and haircuts than coming up with original-sounding material.
“A lot of my peers and a lot of the fans are, like, ‘Oh, I hate that shit. Grunge killed our music,'” Harnell said. “I don’t see it that way at all. I think the labels started signing way too many bands that looked and sounded like other bands. And there was never really a rock era that was like that before. Because if you think about the ’70s, you had a lot of different styles of big hard rock bands. On one side, you had LED ZEPPELIN, you had DEEP PURPLE — they were very different from each other. You had AEROSMITH — they were different. You had KISS, you had JUDAS PRIEST, you had BLACK SABBATH. You had all these different bands that were very, very not like each other at all, but they were all hard rock. And they looked a little different, they had their own image. And then, all of a sudden, in the ’80s, everybody wanted the same clothes, the same hair, the same guys, the same producers, the same songwriters.”