'90s Musicians Today: Photos and Stories

An excerpt from Mike Hipple's book Lived Through That: 90s Musicians Today

The music of the 1990s shaped more than one generation. It was the music Generation X came of age listening to and the songs millennials cut their teeth on. The '90s also saw the explosion of alternative music and culture into the mainstream. In my book, Lived Through That, I set out to share intimate and unique photographic portraits of dozens of the greatest artists from the '90s as well as some underrated artists that helped define the culture of the era. Accompanied by in-depth interviews throughout, my image-driven collection reveals details of each musician's time in the limelight as well as where life has taken them. Their words and images are open, honest, inspiring, and personal, offering profound and humorous memories and maybe a few gems of wisdom. The book, available everywhere now, also has a companion podcast of the same name where each episode is devoted to one of the artists telling a story of a pivotal time in their life where things changed for them dramatically. You can find those at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you listen to your podcasts. Enjoy these excerpts from the book!
-Mike Hipple

Krist Novoselic, Nirvana

Impossibly, Krist Novoselic seems taller in real life than I had even imagined. You would think his stature (both in frame and legacy) would make him intimidating, but he puts an egoless and kind vibe out into the world. The first time I met him, he was passionately talking about election reform and his work with FairVote, an organization of which he has been a member for 25 years and currently serves as the Chair of the Board. In addition to his interest in politics, he's still making music as well, these days with his fantastic new band Giants in the Trees.

Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses, The Breeders, Belly)

Having been a founding member of Throwing Muses, The Breeders, and Belly, Tanya Donelly was one of the leading lights of the '90s musical scene. She took a break from recording with Belly after their second album, King, was released in 1995 and focused on solo material and raising a family and also found joy in being a doula, helping new families with their postpartum experience. In 2016, Belly reformed for a reunion tour and, by 2017, had recorded a new album's worth of music, releasing Dove in 2018. Tanya says more solo work and work with Belly will continue in the future.

Tracy Bonham

Tracy Bonham's first album, The Burdens of Being Upright, took off on the strength of her massive hit "Mother, Mother." The inevitable pressure to create a follow-up hit was difficult though. Changes in personnel at her label, changes in the business at large, changes in what people wanted to hear on the radio, all of it created an environment that wasn't working. She still was creating music and also starting a family at the same time – finding that balance also proved challenging. Combining her love of music and passion for music education, she released Young Maestros Vol. 1 in 2020 with a goal of helping kids connect with the music and their own emotional well-being.

Adam Schlesinger (Fountains Of Wayne)

Generation X eschewed role models and the need to have a "voice of a generation." But Schlesinger, who died from COVID-19 on April 1, 2020, helped tell our story through his songs with his band Fountains of Wayne detailing the minutiae of everyday suburban life with such perfect storytelling on top of a brilliant pop beat. Beyond Fountains of Wayne, he helped create the atmospheric pop of Ivy, the Broadway-style songs of the TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and his Oscar-nominated song, "That Thing You Do," created for the Tom Hanks-directed film of the same name. He sadly passed away of complications from COVID-19 in 2020.

Adrian Young, No Doubt

Gwen Stefani was not the only showman in No Doubt. Perched behind the drum kit was the always entertaining Adrian Young – whether he's sporting a mohawk, devil horns, or a top hat, he's just as fun to watch. With No Doubt going dormant, Young, along with No Doubt members Tom Dumont and Tony Kanal, enlisted AFI vocalist Davey Havok and formed Dreamcar, producing 2017's '80s-inspired, self-titled debut. Young also runs the production team the Moxie Brothers along with Sublime's Todd Forman. Depending on an artist's needs, they'll produce, write, mix, or perform on an artist's records.

December 20, 2021
You can get Lived Through That at Amazon

Further reading:
Our 2011 interview with Adam Schlesinger
'90s Music Quiz #1
Our interview with Smash Mouth Songwriter Greg Camp

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