Ironic that I just wrote about Green River’s 1985 Come On Down EP last month, then I just happened to find a copy of their follow-up EP from 1987, Dry As A Bone. I’m pretty sure I had this back in the day, though honestly I’m not 100% sure. Regardless, this is pure roots proto-grunge from the band that basically became more famous for what happened to its members after its demise, most notably the formations of Mudhoney, Mother Love Bone, and Pearl Jam.
I have to say, the two tracks on side A came as a bit of a surprise and aren’t what I remembered in that these songs don’t sound like Green River. They’re not very punk, with “Unwind” opening with a guitar riff that I swear is straight from a Led Zeppelin song, and both it and “Baby Takes” are more straight forward sounding rock songs. The flip side, however, is more like it, right from the opening riff on “This Town,” followed by Mark Arm doing that thing that he does, wandering all over the music and singing/sneering as he sees fit. That leads into the heavy, muddy “P.C.C.,” a song that would have been just as at home with Iggy & The Stooges. The last song is, I believe, a cover of “Ozzy” originally performed by Sacramento punk rockers Tales of Terror.
Dry As A Bone is more than just a rehash of Come On Down, it’s a band who’s sound is transitioning away from a more traditional punk sound and towards something different, something that Green River as a group never quite realized, but the individual band members would with their post-Green River projects. They may or may not have been the “first” grunge band, but the elements that would come to define the genre can be heard in their music.