Artist: Green River
Title: 10,000 Things / 33 RPM
Released: 1985 (but not really)
Format: vinyl 7”
Trying ever so hard to pass as a fan club single, this bootleg highlights two demos the godfathers of grunge cooked up during a 1984 recording session. Neither of these made it onto an album or EP the band released officially, aside from a compilation (“Deep Six”).
The A-side is gritty and raw; a nice ditty from the pre-grunge era. It’s a good head bangin’ tune but despite its rocking merits, there isn’t much remarkable about it. It’s very catchy but it can grow old if spun one too many times. Not to bash it, because I like it, but it is not the greatest tune the band had to offer.
“33 RPM” is quite different. The pace is fast, furious and Mark really growls and shouts. I find this track a lot more developed and intense than the A-side. It’s practically pure punk and reminds me a bit of Flipper, or maybe extremely early Nirvana (pre-Bleach demos on the box set). The track is very short but packs a mean punch. It really makes me wish Mark and the gang, after the brief reunion for Sub Pop Records’ 20th birthday festival, would have considered releasing an album of rarities and demos.
Green River went on to release one EP and two albums, all issued on vinyl in the mid to late 80s, and eventually onto CD. The band, though accidentally, created the term ‘grunge’ as a definition for their music and the media ran with it, eventually coining the term to define the style of most bands that spawned out the Seattle area, even if they themselves weren’t playing grunge rock (i.e., Alice In Chains was more on the side of metal, Love Battery was more garage psyche, and even Nirvana was more pop punk).
Should you buy the bootleg? While it is great to dive into the band’s early works, it might not be worth the price some dealers and collectors might be selling it for. The sound quality isn’t the best but that’s considering its origins— it was originally recorded on tape, and god knows how many times that tape was copied before it was eventually pressed to vinyl and bootlegged. It’s not horrible, in other words, but not superb.
So far, only two other bootlegs are known to exist for the band—one is a vinyl entitled “Dude, Party! Live at their First Gig 1984” which features a version of “10,000 Things,” though mistitled. The second is a CD of demos from the band, Stone Gossard and pre-“Ten” Pearl Jam. Prices for that, from what I have seen, are high, and the title of the album varies. In short, this single is worth a buy if you’re into grunge or punk, or, if you’re a fan of Green River to start with.
4 out of 5.