[In the hugely entertaining documentary series Metal Evolution, there’s a special branch reserved on the metal family tree for “Post-Grunge,” that nebulous brand of hard rock that emerged almost immediately after Nevermind hit #1—and hasn’t disappeared from the charts since. “Post-grunge” (also known as “grunge lite,” “fake grunge,” or simply “crap”) borrows liberally from the sound of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and/or Alice In Chains to create a sound that feels like the real thing, despite not having a shred of originality anywhere in its DNA. Unsurprisingly, radio programmers ate this recycled mess up for decades.
Can I defend any of these acts? Not really—at least not in their original “post-grunge” guises. But do some still possess a certain nostalgic charm? Of course, especially when you compare the goofy earnestness of a one-hit wonder like Sponge with the grim, by-the-numbers plodding of today’s rock radio landscape. Hell, I even get nostalgic for Bush every once in a while. How screwed up is that?
So below, please enjoy a roughly chronological rundown of the era’s “greatest” post-grunge acts. Bad as they were back then, even the biggest offenders now seem less repulsive in hindsight.
Except for Nickelback. Those guys are still f—n’ terrible.]
For those wondering what a band would sound like if their entire scope of musical influence consisted of the Alice In Chains episode of MTV Unplugged, here’s your answer.
Fun Fact: The second Days Of The New album found frontman Travis Meeks dumping the rest of the band in favor of future Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger. The fired members retaliated by creating the world’s first Days Of The New tribute act, Tantric. History proceeded to throw up again.
Most post-grunge bands managed to sustain bafflingly long careers… and then we have The Flys. Apparently, they came up with a foolproof way to avoid over-extending their fifteen minutes: Simply insert a completely bizarre Rastafarian toasting breakdown about two minutes into your first (and only) chart appearance.
Fun Fact: “Got You (Where I Want You)” appears in the film Disturbing Behavior, the one box office “success” for Katie Holmes before she became Mrs. Tom Cruise. James Marsden also stars. And dear Lord, this movie is terrible.
12. 3 Doors Down
Imagine a band from
Fun Fact: 3 Doors Down is still hitting the Top 10 on the Mainstream Rock charts in 2011, which perfectly illustrates why no one listens to rock radio anymore.