Seattle Growth Podcast 4.2: Footnotes of flannel

In the early 1990s, Seattle transformed from a quiet outpost in the soggy Northwest into an international music mecca on the crunching riffs of megabands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, The Presidents of the United States of America and Foo Fighters.

But for every Seattle musician who became a bona fide rock star as the Seattle sound took over the world, real stardom eluded countless others.

Episode 2 of the Seattle Growth Podcast, season 4, introduces a few fixtures of Seattle’s “Grunge” era who remain merely “almost famous.”

Seattle singer-songwriter Ben London began his music career in early ’90s, but he and his band, Alcohol Funnycar, never quite broke through to a national audience. London went on to serve on the development team for the Experience Music Project (now known as MoPOP), as an executive at the Grammys, and as the inaugural chair of the Seattle Music Commission. London describes what it was like to be a “footnote of flannel” during the grunge era, “to do all the things that other bands did… except sell millions of records.”

The episode also features Marco Collins, an influential radio personality and music tastemaker through the ’90s whose ability to spot the next big thing drew the attention of record executives from around the globe. Collins, whose dramatic personal story is documented in The Glamour & the Squalor, opens up about his experiences rubbing elbows with Seattle’s rock stars, helping catapult local bands to international fame, and turning on the music world to the sonic rumble coming out of Seattle.

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Ben London
Marco Collins

The Seattle Growth Podcast is hosted and produced by Jeff Shulman, an associate professor of marketing and the Marion B. Ingersoll Professor at the UW Foster School of Business.