It's a debate that's gone on forever – or at least for the last few decades: Did grunge ignite the downfall of 1980s hard rock and heavy metal? According to Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, yes (to some degree).

In a recent chat with VWMusic’s Andrew Daly, Gossard was asked to comment on the “long-running narrative” that grunge “killed the career of many . . . musicians” within those genres. Bluntly, he responded by stating that “hard rock was really stagnating at that point,” allowing “less musically talented” artists to alter how they approached the style via “new perspectives” and a sense of “renewal.”

Specifically, Gossard noted, these musicians had “an opportunity . . . to say, ‘Hey, there’s another way to play rock songs. There’s another way to have songs that are heavy. And there’s another way to create chaos and energy from those songs that would be outside the normal color palette of a heavy metal song.”

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He also clarified that he grew up listening to a lot of NWOBHM, and that “a lot of these heavy metal bands . . . are still around, so clearly they all didn’t die.”

He added: “Sure, a lot of them had to regroup, and yes, some did die, but that’s part of the life cycle, right? . . . I love hard rock, and I always have, but renewal and rebirth are a part of art.”

His perspective is certainly interesting and valid, especially coming only a few months after he countered bandmate Eddie Vedder’s criticisms of Mötley Crüe and ‘80s hair metal.

What do you think, though? Did the rise of early ‘90s grunge mark the downfall of ‘80s hard rock and heavy metal? Let us know!

Also, be sure to check for upcoming Pearl Jam concert tickets here.

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