But I didn’t find it/ did a light google search and it’s entirely possible I talked about this in the time before y’all bullied me into blogging these, SO ALLOW ME TO RE(PEAT)INTRODUCE MYSELF, MY NAME IS BRIYA! And I’m a foo fighter* fan. And yes! I can say that three times fast. Anyway. In the before time (long before covid and I could stay out late on a school night) The Foo Fighters did a pile of secret shows all over LA and I went to… a lot of them.  Because also, they were free. Sometimes living in LA is pretty fun you guys. This is back when I had a shitty flip phone, but I would absolutely blow up my facebook feed with music clips. My favorite has ALWAYS been monkey wrench. Because Dave ALWAYS does a Very Chuck Berry riff and I really do love that brown eyed handsome man. I also really love a guitar playin’ dude (HELLO BOY.)

One of the things that I love specifically, is how EASILY the Chuck Berry riff FITS. That also makes sense when you remember that Chuck Berry** is the “Father of Rock and Roll” even though people like to pretend that Elvis didn’t slap a white face on black music is. In fact, your favorite white rock and roller has DEFINITELY been influenced by black music. Dave Grohl recently did an interview with Pharrell where he tells him that he ripped off Nirvana’s most famous drum beat [click the link guys! It’s safe for work!]

And! If you wanna get EVEN DEEPER, and you know I do *waggles eyebrows*: Did y’all know that Kurt Cobain was both a fan, and a roadie for the band Bam Bam, led by the Black Woman Tina Bell, known as the “Godmother of Grunge”?(!)

Tina Marie Bell. Badass.

Tina Marie Bell was the front woman of the Seattle based band Bam Bam. The band with Bell was considered one of the founders of the grunge music scene. Bell was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, the eldest of 10 siblings. She got her start as a singer by singing at the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle, and her first experience on stage was performing with the Langston Hughes Theater, also in Seattle. While looking for a French tutor so that she could sing French lyrics in a Langston Hughes Theater production, she met guitarist Tommy Martin, who she eventually married and formed the band Bam Bam with. The band also included bassist Scott Ledgerwood, and drummer Matt Cameron (Cameron went on to join Soundgarden and then Pearl Jam).

According to Seattle Times: “The legacy of Bell, a Black woman, has often been overlooked in a genre typically associated with long-haired white guys.” These include Seattle breakout bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and others of that ilk. She was sometimes the victim of racial attacks while on stage, but the Bell-led Bam Bam was popular with local audiences. Although Bam Bam were courted by punk rock label C/Z Records, they opted instead to independently release their EP Villains (Also Wear White) in 1984. This was the first grunge record made at Reciprocal Recording studio, the location where later Nirvana made their demos for the Bleach and Incesticide albums. Villains predated the better known grunge recordings by about a year.

After the mid 80’s, both Ledgerwood and Hendrickson left the band, but Bell continued to front the band with a new rhythm section, along with Martin on guitar. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Bam Bam performed in concerts with popular bands such as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. After not receiving the local recognition of the other emerging “Seattle Sound” bands, Bell and the band left Seattle for London in the late ’80s, hoping for success in Europe, which did not happen.

Bell left Bam Bam in 1990, and eventually quit music entirely. Bam Bam chose not to replace her, and instead continued as a 3-piece instrumental band. Her story didn’t have a happy ending. Bell died in her Las Vegas apartment of cirrhosis of the liver at age 55, and the coroner estimated her time of death as a couple weeks before her body was found. All of her belongings — except for a DVD player, a poster, and a chair — had been thrown away. All of her writings such as lyrics, poems, diaries, along with Bam Bam music, videos, and other memorabilia went in the trash without her family even being notified.

Woulda been nice if she coulda gotten her flowers while she was around to smell them, BUT. On July 9, 2021, Seattle musicians formed a tribute band and played a show at Central Saloon to honor Bell’s legacy. Om Johari, singer for Bad Brains tribute band Re-Ignition, had the idea for the show after CBS News’ Gayle King contacted her to do a story on Bell. The Bam Bam tribute band included musicians such as Matt Cameron, guitarist Kendall Jones of Fishbone, guitarist Ayron Jones, and bassist Jenelle Roccaforte. Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard also participated, as did black women Johari selected who were influenced by Bell’s music. This included Eva Walker of The Black Tones, Shaina Shepherd of BEARAXE, Dmitra Smith of Ex’s With Benefits and Dejha Colantuono, songwriter. The band played a selection of Bam Bam songs at the show.

*Wow! I managed to slide the foo into these facts EARLY this year! Even EYE am impressed!

** Do I have a favorite Chuck Berry song? Of course I do! Brown Eyed Handsome Man is my second favorite.