About the Hamelin Project

If asked to name four pivotal bands from Seattle's grunge rock years... even for me --  a true poser who was either too young or too poor to attend a single concert -- it's a very simple answer: 

Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam.*

*(Mudhoney and Melvins fans can troll me later.)

*(STP fans can go f**k themselves.)

But let's remember each of the respective lead singers of the first three bands (Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, and Layne Staley) have one tragic thing in common. 

HAMELIN is my retrospective on what was happening in Seattle between 1990 and 1996. I was a boy at the time, but it's my observation there was perhaps something in the air, or in the water, brewing in the forests of the Pacific Northwest during this time in American history. Desert Storm had come and gone. Music changed rapidly from New Jack Swing to Grunge Alternative Rock in months or weeks. And kids in Seattle began to dress in a way my high school classmate Christine Celio (as an adult) would artfully describe as "the most unattractive possible way a person can dress."

HAMELIN is a series of stories that happened to me, to other people I know, or to characters I conjured in a fictional world that reflected feelings or impressions of what was happening at the time.  

HAMELIN is not journalism about grunge rock concerts or grunge culture. Instead, it's meant to show what was happening in the minds and hearts of angsty teenagers in Seattle during the years leading up to Columbine in 1999.

Why did the anger of grunge resonate with young people during this time? 

What can it tell us about the youth of the 2020s, in a vastly different time when gun violence, drugs, mental illness, and dangers of social media sway the landscape? As a father of two boys, I'd like to know.

Watch or Listen to the first chapter of Hamelin on Youtube: The Demon: A Hamelin Story


Russell Nakamura (April 2023)


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