Thursday, February 19, 2009

Screaming Trees Dust proposal

I have gotten a kick out of reading other's rejected proposals and figured that someone might like to see mine.

Thoghts, comments, spare change.


The Screaming Trees


A Grunge Requiem

On June 25th, 1996 the Screaming Trees released their final album, Dust. It had been four years since their previous album Sweet Oblivion had hit shelves and they had seen their world turned inside out, their community shoot to international prominence and acclaim and then spiral into chaos. They had been in the trenches, they had lost friends, they had seen into the deep dark depths of their generation and they had made it to the end of the grunge era. Andy Wood was gone, Kurt Cobain was gone. Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden had hit their zenith as commercial powers, and either becoming a cult only act, imploded or faded away.

The grunge revolution, renamed Alternative had been commoditized and processed, the labels, radio, promoters had gotten their hands into the pie, and their machine had figured out how to manufacture and market it for mass consumption. The confidence men running the record industry were also getting ready to launch a new wave of hyper poppy disco on a new generation who were more than happy to let take the money and walk away.

Knowingly or unknowingly the Screaming Trees offered up their last recorded document as a requiem for their scene, their city, and their friends and for the era. Part eulogy, part history, part meditation, Dust stands at not only the last record of that scene that matters, but as one of the last classics of the first era of alternative rock era as a mainstream concern. This is the story that I want to tell. The story of not only the record, the band, and the scene, but of Generation X and its first real foray into the mainstream of American pop culture as a voice, mostly saying something isn't right and isn't as it seems.

Drawing on lyrics, articles, reviews and my personal experiences, I want to talk about the reflective elements of this record; along with it's mapping out music of the world of alternative rock from the early days to what it has become. I also want to talk about the journey into roots rock for those who were there, those who survived and those who listened.

My target word count is 30,000 words, broken into three rough sections.

Pre Dust- this section would focus on:

  1. a history of the Screaming Trees

  2. a history of the grunge scene and their role with in that scene.

  3. a time line of the band's history

  4. notable events in the scene

  5. An overview of the Screaming Trees sound as it developed through:

    1. Psychedelic punk

    2. Grunge

    3. Rootys hard rock

Dust- This would focus on 1996 and be the biggest part of the book covering:

  1. the album,

    1. It's release

    2. The cover art

    3. The Songs

    4. The singles

    5. Radio play

    6. Videos

    7. Reviews

    8. sales

  2. Exploring how grunge had been renamed Alternative (just as punk was re-chrisined new wave) and marketed.

  3. The coming prominence of the Internet and it's effect on music

  4. the Telecom act of 1996

  5. The death of MTV as a music channel

    1. Headbangers Ball being canceled

    2. 120 Minutes floundering and vanishing from the airwaves

    3. The Real World/ Road Rules

Post Dust- this would cover what has happened with the album since it was released.

1. The end of the Screaming Trees

2. looking at the record from the lens of 2009

3. Discussion of the albums status and that it is considered by many to be a lost classic of the era

4. The current state of the former members of the Screaming Trees

5. wrap up section



At this point I have not contacted the former members of the band, but if this proposal was to be moved forward I would do my best to contact some of the members just to ask a couple of general question and see if they are at all interested in talking about the album.

Promotion. In addition to writing about the project on my blog, my mog (which is a music blogging site) and my face book, I am open to talking to the press, participating in radio and podcast interviews on the book. I am not the best at reading in public, but I would love to find a way to DJ at an event (with the Screaming Trees music of course) and/or talk about the book in public discussion.

I would like this book to read like the Minutemen 33 1/3, that is to say, readable, and not overly academic, and with sections that can be read on their own, but also read as a part of the whole. I want to be approachable and thought provoking. Too many of the installments in the series that I have read have been overly techy, or dry, and offered more in the way of the Names/Dates/Places school of history. I am also a big believer in not dragging things out, or padding. I strive to say what I have to say and move on.

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