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C200: Cities: The Cradle Of Degeneracy

2011 March 16
by Megan Jasper

Sub Pop was largely designed by Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman in the mid-eighties so that they could release music by Soundgarden.  They also wanted to make records for Green River, Mudhoney and Nirvana.  Bruce and Jon both lived in Seattle, then a beautiful but quiet city with a gritty edge.  In order to make their dreams (of furthering degenerate activity and creating a frightfully unwieldy nightlife in the city) come true, they needed to be in a city that was big enough to create a small army of hellions (preferably consisting of drunks, drug addicts and/or mentally unstable individuals), but a city that was also small enough for that army to have an impact.  Seattle became the epicenter of “grunge”, a cultural venereal disease with no known cure that Sub Pop was proud to spread globally. This natural disaster couldn’t have happened anywhere else nor could it happen today.  Seattle was the right place and the mid-eighties was the right time for the shit to hit the fan.


Megan Jasper is Executive VP of Sub Pop Records.