10 Grunge Albums Shinedown’s Barry Kerch Thinks Every Music Fan Should Own

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Consequence’s Post-Grunge Week continues with a Crate Digging list of 10 grunge albums that Shinedown drummer Barry Kerch thinks every music fan should own. See our picks for the 50 Greatest Post-Grunge Songs, and keep checking back throughout the week for more lists, artist-driven content, games, and more.

Drummer Barry Kerch grew up as an ’80s metalhead and was initially upset when grunge came along to knock his favorite bands off the hard-rock pedestal. But he soon embraced the Seattle sound, which would eventually influence his own band, Shinedown, one of the standout acts of the post-grunge scene.

As a teenager working in a record store and with an older brother working in radio, Kerch was exposed to a lot of new music in the early ’90s. He witnessed the grunge explosion during his formative years as a musician — even if he resisted its allure at first.

In curating a list of 10 essential grunge albums exclusively for Consequence‘s Post-Grunge Week, Kerch included some of the genre’s biggest acts (Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden) and some short-lived projects (Mother Love Bone, Mad Season), as well as a pair of notable movie soundtracks. A couple of entries might not be purely grunge to most fans, but as Kerch reasons, they capture the grunge spirit.

Shinedown are one of post-grunge’s most successful bands, currently holding the record for the most No. 1 songs by any act on the Mainstream Rock tally with a whopping 19 chart-toppers. Kerch and company are currently working on the follow-up to their 2022 album, Planet Zero.

While their focus is on creating a new album this year, Shinedown have booked a number of shows running from late May through late September, with tickets available here. The band also recently introduced a line of hot sauces.

Check out Shinedown drummer Barry Kerch’s picks for 10 grunge albums every music fan should own below.

Soundgarden — Badmotorfinger

Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger
Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger

I was working at Camelot Music — CDs, tapes, posters. I was in high school and that album came in and I saw the title: Badmotorfinger. I just thought that was cool. My boss at the time, she was really cool and would let us play a lot of the new music that came in, and we didn’t always have to play what the corporate store told us we had to play. So I put it on, and when Chris Cornell’s voice hit, I was like, “Oh my God, what is this?”

Matt Cameron’s drumming, especially being a young drummer at that time myself, just to hear something that was so different — he had like a fusion-type of playing. And Kim Thayil’s guitar tones and weird chord structures. That record changed a lot of things for me coming from being an ’80s metalhead. That album really blew my mind. I was a fan of Soundgarden ever since.

Alice In Chains — Dirt

I’m not somebody who typically listens to vocals. Some people listen to vocals and melodies. Some people listen to rhythm, and me being a drummer, obviously I’m more akin to listening to rhythm. But Layne Staley’s vocals on Dirt, and the harmonies between him and Jerry Cantrell, those weird dissonant harmonies that they would do were just so haunting.

And that record was so cool. I remember I had my first car at that time and it had this cheap system that I upgraded so I could crank the music. That album was formative — those teenage angst ridden years, especially the influence of grunge. Gone were the party days of ’80s metal. It fit that teenage angst really well.

The Crow: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

I questioned myself putting The Crow soundtrack on here just because it is a little bit outside the box. Even though there’s a lot of industrial and metal songs, the album had a grunge feel to it. Not only is Stone Temple Pilots on there, but even The Cure’s song “Burn” on there is very grungy. It’s also my all-time favorite movie, but it is a grungy movie.

The film and that soundtrack fit that time period of dark brooding revenge. It was that whole feeling, just the world’s in on me, and it was dark and bleak. And with songs by Nine Inch Nails and My Life With the Thrill Kult, it also helped make me a big industrial music fan. It really turned me on to a lot of different music that was happening at that time period.

The Smashing Pumpkins — Siamese Dream

My brother’s a radio guy, and he’s seven years older than me, so he was already working at radio stations when Siamese Dream came out. He said, “Man, I’m not really into this” — ’cause he didn’t like Billy Corgan’s vocals. But he said, “I think you might dig it, there’s some cool drumming on this.” And I threw that record on and it’s one of those love-hate relationships. You either love his voice or you don’t. I happen to love it.

It’s like Rush. A lot of people don’t like Geddy Lee’s voice. Well, I love Smashing Pumpkins, but it wasn’t Billy’s voice that got me. It was Jimmy Chamberlin’s drumming. He’s a jazz drummer and he’s playing basically jazz grooves over grunge guitars. And then it had a female bass player in D’arcy Wretzky, which was unheard of at that time. It was like, “What is this?” They were a cool band out of the Chicago area. It’s not even West Coast, it’s not even part of the grunge scene necessarily, but the drumming on that record that just blew my mind and made me a big fan of them.

Stone Temple Pilots — Core

With Stone Temple Pilots, Scott Weiland and the DeLeo brothers just had a swagger. A lot of people, when STP first came out, were kind of hating on them because they’re like, “Oh, they’re the same as everybody else,” until you’d see them live and it was like, “They’ve got a thing.”

It was like the grunge version of The Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger. And it’s unique. Their writing was so profound, the way that the DeLeo brothers worked off each other. And Eric Kretz’s drumming was so laid back that it helped give Stone Temple Pilots their own tone and their own sound. And Scott was a real rock star.

Temple of the Dog — Temple of the Dog

What a supergroup that was. In a way, I think Temple of the Dog was better than both bands [Soundgarden and Pearl Jam] combined. It was so good. And even the deeper cuts were great — a great record front to back.

“Say Hello 2 Heaven” — holy shit, what a song! I think it showcased Chris Cornell’s voice even more than Soundgarden allowed him to sing. It was a whole different register and different range. And with Eddie Vedder on a few tracks, their voices together were so completely different and so unique together.

Pearl Jam — Ten

Just an aside: I didn’t put Nirvana on this list. I didn’t like Nirvana at the time because I didn’t get it and it was killing my ’80s metal. I went back and listened to it, and I think probably In Utero is their best. But getting to Pearl Jam’s Ten, that was one of the first CDs I ever purchased for myself. I had seen one of their videos, and I was like, “Wow, this guy’s got an interesting voice.” And the drumming on there is really cool and different, with the splash cymbals and all these different fills — almost like an influence of jazz fusion music. And that impressed me.

The songs were so cool. The only thing that bothered me is I can never fully make out what Eddie Vedder is saying all the time, but he’s so good it makes you want to believe in his passion, like, “Whoa, this guy’s got something to say!”

Mother Love Bone — Apple

I think if Andrew Wood wouldn’t have sadly passed, Mother Love Bone would have been the number one grunge band. That record is so good. When you hear the lyrics and vocals, that really bridged the gap from the ’80s to ’90s grunge.

It pisses me off to see all these artists die from such stupid shit — ODs and things like that. It’s sad, but musicians as a whole are tortured people and we’re very fragile artists that are easily susceptible to the curses of the world. I think had he lived, it would have changed the atmosphere of the grunge scene.

Mad Season — Above

Mad Season - Above
Mad Season - Above

Again, it’s Layne’s voice. I think he was going through a tough time with Alice in Chains because of his addictions, and he really showcased his heart on his sleeve on the Mad Season album. It was dark and deep and had cool tones. It wasn’t just grunge. It had the mallet percussion and different sonic things that made it just a unique record.

Even though Layne’s voice is so associated with Alice in Chains, he showcased different things with Mad Season and it was very cool.

Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Singles soundtrack is a front-to-back banger, song after banger song. If you put it in a time capsule and brought it out today to a kid who never listened to ’90s music, you can go, “Here, listen to this. That’s it, you’re done. You’re going to get it.” You either get it or you don’t from the Singles soundtrack. I didn’t even watch the movie at the time. I just bought the soundtrack. It was so good.

I could still put that on today and I become 17-year-old me. It brings me back to high school, girlfriend, cars, going to college, all those things. It’s a really cool soundtrack.

10 Grunge Albums Shinedown’s Barry Kerch Thinks Every Music Fan Should Own
Spencer Kaufman

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