Green River

Mudder Love Hone
*special introductory paragraph!
*Come On Down EP
*Dry As A Bone EP
*Rehab Doll EP

Named for popular serial killer/CCR fan Gary Leon Ridgway, Green River was a Seattle band of the mid-80s that featured Mark "Arm" McLaughlin on vocals; Steve Turner (for 1 EP), Bruce Fairweather (for 2 EPs) and Stone Gossard (for 3 EPs) on guitar; Jeff Ament on bass; and Alex Vincent on drums. They basically stunk to High Heaven, but all six members went on to greater things, with Mark and Steve founding Mudhoney, The Monkeywrench and The Thrown-Ups; Stone and Jeff doing the diddle-do with Mother Love Bone, Temple Of The Dog and Pearl Jam; Bruce joining them in Mother Love Bone for a spell before scurrying off to Love Battery; and Alex playing drums for Green River. If you're hoping for a garagey yet melodic cross between Mudhoney and Pearl Jam, prepare for a letdown comparable only to a giant blimp bursting into flames and landing on a children's hospital. Instead, Green River sounds like a lo-fi Mother Love Bone with Mark Arm singing -- in other words, poorly-recorded mid-range hair metal with stuffed-nose 'don't give a shit' vocals and some Samhainy deathrock chord changes thrown in. Rancid, rancid stuff. Ugly, macho, stupid and mostly hookless. The most incredible thing about this band is that Mudhoney and Pearl Jam actually turned out to be quite good! Not anymore though; they both stink now. Might as well reunite as as a nine-piece Green River 2K6.

Come On Down EP - Homestead 1985
Rating = 4

Oh, I came on down alright. And what I found was a sewage plant filled with URINE!

Having established the purpose of a sewage plant, let's discuss the debut Green River EP. This was Steve Turner's only EP with the band, and knowing his penchant for '60s-style garage rock, it's amazing he lasted even this long. You can certainly hear him playing his Mudhoney-toned diddle-doo asides and wah-wah solos, but they're all tied down to these awful 'tough guy' hard rock riffs. If you can call two chords a 'riff.' And if you can do that, why not call two strikes a 'whiff'!? Fuckin' umpire. (*pulls third base out of the ground, throws it across the field*) Fuck you, you fuckin' umpire! (*kicks dirt all over home plate*) Get some glasses, because you're BLIND! (*throws a bunch of bats out of the dugout*)

(For video footage of the previous paragraph, please visit

On this, the first recorded effort of Seattle, Washington DC's Green River, the guitar tone is distorted but very much mid-range - not heavy or threatening in any way. Every track drags on and on and on and on and on with plodding pre-grunge beats, shifting from one bum riff to another to another to another with no flow at all -- just like a bunch of disparate parts all flung together with no thought put into their arrangement. Most of it is ugly, stupid, over-reverbed hard rock with no power, no dynamics and no bottom end. And Mark Arm sounds exactly like he sounds today, in Space 2006.

But that's just the window dressing - what really matters are the SONG TITLES, and this one's got 'em in SPADES! "Swallow My Pride"? Sounds like a Ramones cover, doesn't it? And "Tunnel Of Love"! Springsteen, my man! "New God"? That's the Meat Puppets, homeslice! Unfortunately, all three of these tracks are Green River originals, and all are macho, tough-talking, faux-evil HORSESHIT -- the aural equivalent of that scene in Grizzly Man when the bear absentmindedly takes a dump while supposedly in a 'vicious fight for his life.' Fuck you, Bear! I know Bear Acting when I see it! That Bear near the end was acting too, so watch for Bear Holocaust at your local grindhouse this Fall.

God, all this negativity is sucking the sun clear out of the sky! I gotta do something to reverse this trend, called 'dusk.' Here then are some positive things I have to say about Green River's Come On Down EP. First of all, some of the chord changes are actually interesting in their unnaturalness. A few honestly cool 'spooky' riffs pop up too, as they will on a heavy metal album. Furthermore, two of the six songs start off with excellent, atmospheric bass lines before succumbing to cock rock stupidity. And finally, Mark Arm has some fun with crude lyrics, double-tracking and stereo buffoonery. Check out these hilariously bent lyrics:

- Title track (about the Green River Killer) - "A little bit here, a little piece there/Pieces of love, everywhere".... "You're the one i want to hold/you're the one to fill this hole."

- "New God" - "I'm the new god on the block/and i won't destroy the earth/if you give me what i feed on/born again afterbirth"

- "Swallow My Pride" - "She looked at me with dignity/'There's one thing you gotta see/even though we're headed for war/this nation's prouder than ever before/yes there's a spirit in the air/we're more american than anywhere'/Well i just smiled cuz i could tell/this little girl's going to hell!"

- "Tunnel Of Love" - "When she was young she was told/the way to a man's heart is through his stomach/she didn't listen to her mom/she slipped in through his prick"

Unfortunately, back to the negative side of things, not a single one of these collections of hard rock moments coalesces into a solid beginning-to-end "good song." There are just too many boring thumpathumpathumpa sections thrown into each one, cutting off any momentum right as it threatens to get going. And the lo-fi production lays to waste any potential qualities that a bit of audio power might have contributed. I try not to talk about myself in these record reviews, but I have to pee. If you're reading this review in real-time through a secret spy-hole into my computer, hang on a minute while I 'Drain The Wizard.'

I'm back. My point is that, regardless of Green River's reputation as the forefathers of 'grunge,' they didn't play 'grunge.' Imagine the worst Motley Crue songs recorded in a basement and sung by Sky Saxon, and that's pretty much what you've got here. In fact, that's how it was recorded. They just made up all those fake names like "Stone Gossard." To this day, 4/5ths of Pearl Jam is comprised of Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx. And you know that 'Eddie Vedder' guy? That's the old bass player from Enuff Z'nuff!

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Dry As A Bone EP - Sub Pop 1986
Rating = 6

The thing that sucks about gay people is that you want to be able to call them 'sissies' and 'faggotass faggots' and 'fairie whiffles' and shit but then you actually MEET one and he's this big muscular guy with a handlebar mustache all dressed in black leather. Who the hell makes up these incorrect stereotypes? If gay people were WUSSY, they'd be hilarious to make fun of! Unfortunately, they're gigantic and constantly kick my ass. As such, I've decided to concentrate on making fun of babies.

Ha ha! You drooling little asshole! Why don't you take a CRAP in your DIAPER, you stupid bald little piece a shit???

Having established my standing as a shocking Politically Incorrect liberal, please allow me to Jew you with a niggardly little review of the second Green River LP. It's 'women are inferior'-tastic!

Dry As A Bone? OBVIOUSLY!!!!

I should do that for every album I review. The Beatles' White Album? Then why's it making me BLUE????? Exile On Main St.? Yeah, because they THREW HIM OUT of England because of his SHITTY MUSIC!!!!!. This is heartbreaking, me making casual light of albums that mean so much to me. Please, I must cease post-haste lest my heart literally explode twixt my ribs.

If Godd says, "Hay, buy a Green River album or I'll see you in Hell, my friend," then buy this one. If nothing else, it contains the only two good songs they ever wrote -- the fun uptempo AC/DC-esque blues rock riffer "Unwind" and slow EVIL Billy Idol-style hard rocker "Baby Takes." One time I said something like that on another page and I got this angry email saying, "You do realize that what you're saying is just your OPINION and not actual fact, right???" That kicked ass. I don't even remember whether or not I responded because the question itself was just so perfect. "Wait a second. So what you're saying is -- just because a thought appears in my brain, that doesn't necessarily mean it's been scientifically proven? FUCK! What's the point of having a brain AT ALL if its conclusions aren't pumped in straight from the laboratory?!?!?"

Steve Turner is no longer in the band so that Mudhoney dirty lickin' around the edges is no longer present, but the songs actually flow logically this time, rather than just going part to part to part with no direction. As with the last record, there is a mid-range distorted guitar planted in each speaker, and they are more often than not playing bad '80s Dark, Evil hard rock licks. Is 'mid-range' even the right term? Who cares. What I mean is that it's neither super-trebly nor heavy/bassy, but smack dab in the middle of a situation overlooked by fools. (Tink!) That was for all you Ween fans out there - you know who you are!!!! (*winks at all the Ween fans out there*)

Two instantly noticeable changes do arise however and I'd be remiss not to point them out in such a review as that which I'm penning: (a) Mark Arm is using some dopey fake accent ('rest' becomes 'RAY-est!', 'driving' becomes 'DRAH-VAY-in'!') and letting his voice fade away into J. Mascis-like hoarseness in some of the tracks, and (b) the drums are ridiculously loud. He's a good drummer (enjoy all those rolls in "Ozzie"! It has lots of rolls!), but that's no reason to make his instrument the dominant sound in the mix, is it? I've asked around and the consensus is "Stop touching me."

This EP features five songs, and only one of them strikes me as completely awful (and that's mainly due to Mark's terrible vocals). Compare this good/bad ratio to that of their next EP and you'll see that it's quite an impressive little feat!

Heh heh. I used the term "impressive" in conjunction with "little feat." I assure you that's the first and last time THAT will ever happen!!!! Those guys SUCKED!!!!!

Thank you, that was my tribute to the late great Lowell George.
Hahaha, I don't know why it's so amusing to see Green River getting bad reviews on this site. Maybe because there may be some truth to it, while they have godlike status as the "first grunge band" or whatever, and once upon time I bought into all that, and was so proud for owning a copy of a Green River album(s). At the time (late 90s) it was hard for a guy to find this in stores.

I disagree that Green River were the same deal as Mother Love Bone with a different vocalist. Okay, so, it's often closer to sleaze rock than what we tend to define as grunge but, that's the problem with the label, it describes a genre that draws influences from both punk, metal and classic rock. I never got Come On Down, but Dry As A Bone rules. I just listened to it after reading this review and while it really isn't as great as I once thought, it still rocks; "This Town" and "Ozzie" both kick ass. I also like "Searchin'" which for some reason was excluded from this EP, but I have it on my 2-in-1 CD. "Unwind", I agree, is a good rocker. Also, Mark Arm is a hilarious vocalist for various reasons.

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Rehab Doll EP - Sub Pop 1988
Rating = 2

No no, you don't understand. See, the reason it's exciting to me that I won the Tae Kwon Do Sparring Tournament this week is because I've never been physically good at ANYTHING. I used to be able to play the guitar really fast, but that's no sport. I played Little League Baseball for nine years and probably didn't bat over .235 a single season. Furthermore, I can never remember how to spiral a football, my basketball "skills" almost demand a Medical Journal analysis, and bikes can go suck a dick. So to get to my hearty old age (32 Going On 33) and suddenly find myself possessing these semi-formidable martial arts skills (mainly I can do about five million speedy roundhouse kicks in a row without dropping my leg, and I've got a fast, strong right-hand punch that nobody can ever see coming. Also I can jump really fuckin' high, but that doesn't have much to do with sparring) is not only neat, but REALLY neat! And it should give hope to all you younger folks who suck at everything -- eventually you might find something suited to your gawky, ugly body. Like I did! I came in first place out of 14 competitors! I didn't lose once! And, joining the ranks of such great men as Richard Pryor, James Brown and Mike Love, I even beat up my own wife! "BAMM!" I said to her. "Fix my dinner!"

That's not true. We ordered in. But SHE had to buzz him into the building! BAMM!!!!

Perhaps the best way I can fully express the sheer, complete lousiness of this EP is through a bit of self-reference. If you've spent any time on my site ( on the World Wide Winternet), you might have picked up on the fact that I can't stand David Bowie. He has a few good albums, but in general I really don't like the Thin White Douche at all. Now see if you can guess how bad this EP is by the following statement:

Out of a possible nine songs on here, the best one BY FAR is a David Bowie cover.

And I mean "BY FAR." In fact, it's the only good song in the lot. "Queen Bitch" they call it, and either its riff is a ripoff of Alice Cooper's "Raped And Freezin'" or vice-versa. You can look up the chronological details yourself, in all your free time.

There is a lot of really good hard rock in the world. Wishbone Ash has a few great records, ditto for Atomic Rooster. Nazareth has some winners, the first 7 Aerosmith albums kick some major ass, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC - it's basically a solid subgenre, in my opinion. Or was, back in the '70s. But this -- this 'music' (for dearth of a more appropriate term) is absolutely rotten. To quote the late great Richard 'Dale' Nixon, "Look that up in your Funk & Wagnall's" and you'll find 'rotten' defined as "Bad hair metal licks, tons of guitar solos, too much reverb on everything, the worst gated drum sound in history, and song after song of failed 'spooky metal,' embarrassing sub-G'n'R bottlenecking, and hookless Aerosmith forgery." Holy shit! I just realized that that definition TOTALLY applies to this EP!! Thank God I brought it up, just all out of the blue!!!

Did Green River tease their hair, coat their faces with cosmetics, and prance around in torn lingerie? If not, they should have because these songs paint them -- Sub Pop label notwithstanding -- as essentially an underground version of the Bullet Boys. Remember the Bullet Boys? I think we all do, and I'll tell you why: Smooth Up In Ya: The Opera.

On the very limited plus side, the verse parts of "Forever Means" could pass for Samhain and the re-recorded "Swallow My Pride" includes a reference to the much, MUCH better band Blue Oyster Cult. Not that they were perfect, but even their worst songs sound like "Don't Fear The Reaper" compared to this dopey, ugly hard schlock cock.

Well, except for Imaginos, which sounds like Green River with heavier distortion.

So take it from me, all you Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser fans out there -- Green River's Rehab Doll EP is the perfect companion piece to the shittiest album BOC ever recorded!

Also, wasn't it awesome how I wrote "for dearth of a more appropriate term" instead of "for lack of a better word"? That makes me an honorary English professor!
Man, those 2 stars are justified. The good thing is we don't have to feel sorry that Green River broke up soon after this. The songwriting is mediocre at its peak, and the production is awful. Well actually I like "Swallow My Pride", though I prefer Soundgarden's cover. Haven't heard the earlier version. But the rest is shit. Come to think of it I guess it was around the same time that they did "Hangin' Tree" for the Sub Pop 200 compilation. THAT is a good song.

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Due to their overall high quality, I must insist that you purchase Green River's CDs by clicking HERE

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