KISMIF Conference 2020

KEYLECTURE | ‘Looking Backwards: Route 666 in the Rear View Mirror’, by Gina Arnold

Gina Arnold_ edit

What is that feeling when you’re driving away from
people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks
dispersing? It’s the too-huge world vaulting us and it’s good-bye.
But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies…
Jack Kerouac, On the Road.


2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the year about which popular media has said “punk broke”. It’s also the year that I wrote the majority of my book “Route 666: On the Road To Nirvana,” which charted the journey from punk to grunge. This talk will revisit those years before discussing where punk and grunge has wound up, and the ways that it has shape-shifted the music and culture that would follow it. The internet and peer-to-peer file sharing has changed how people consume music, taking lots of money out of the conventional music business. Happily, the networks formed by road bands like Nirvana and those who came before them have always been less dependent on record sales to make a living: indeed, for these bands, the music is less important than the communities that were forged at the tiny nightclubs in cities across America. Those communities are still largely intact, and D.I.Y. still governs their ideology. In a way, one can argue that the ideals of punk and grunge preside over the post-digital music era, forging new bonds as we, in the words of Jack Kerouac, “lean forward beneath the skies.”

Keywords: Route 666, Nirvana, grunge.


Biographical note of Gina Arnold >>>




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