Grunge Rock Concert Poster

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Mark Arm, the vocalist for the Seattle band Green River—and later Mudhoney—is generally credited as being the first to use the term grunge to describe the Seattle genre of music. Arm first used the term in 1981, when he wrote a letter under his given name Mark McLaughlin to the Seattle zine Desperate Times, criticizing his own band Mr. Epp and the Calculations as "Pure grunge! Pure noise! Pure shit!". Clark Humphrey, contributor to Desperate Times, cites this as the earliest use of the term to refer to a Seattle band, and mentions that Bruce Pavitt of Sub Pop popularized the term as a musical label in 1987–88, using it on several occasions to describe Green River. Sub Pop called Green River's 1986 EP Dry as a Bone "ultra-loose GRUNGE that destroyed the morals of a generation. " Everett True states that when Arm stated that Seattle's streets were "paved with grunge", he was using the word in a negative way to mean "[w]orthless. " In this use of the word "grunge", Arm was using it as an adjective, not to describe a music genre.