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Seattle Grunge Pioneer Jonathan Poneman Has Parkinson's Disease

Seattle Grunge Pioneer Jonathan Poneman Has Parkinson's Disease

Jonathan Poneman, who co-founded Seattle's Sub Pop Records with Bruce Pavitt in the late 1980s, has Parkinson's Disease.

But, the disease is not getting him down.  Speaking to the Seattle Times Poneman says he wants to show others with the disease that there is life beyond a Parkinson's diagnosis.  He says, “As ironic as it sounds, I am truly grateful to the disease.”  He goes on to say that he's more aware of the troubles of others, “Being an open heart and mindful. Anything that leads a human being to that kind of living can’t be all bad. In fact, it’s pretty good.”

Poneman and Pavitt incorporated Sub Pop in 1988 after funding various releases from local bands.  Sub Pop worked to market the "Seattle sound" and signed bands that fit that image.

In the late 1980s, Sub Pop signed several Seattle bands.  Sub Pop was the first label to sign Nirvana and Soundgarden.  They also signed Green River, which included future Pearl Jam members Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament.

Sub Pop's most famous grunge bands signed with other labels prior to the international grunge explosion of the early 1990s.  That made life tough financially for the label, but when Nirvana's Nevermind made the world listen to Seattle, things started paying off.  Nirvana fans in love with Nevermind started buying the band's first album, Bleach, which was a Sub Pop album.  Bleach is still the label's best selling album.

In the late 1990s, Poneman and Sub Pop struggled.  But, they have enjoyed success in the 2000s after signing indie rock bands like The Postal Service, Foals, Fleet Foxes, and The Shins.

Poneman is still very involved with Sub Pop and plans on celebrating the label's 25th anniverary in July.

 

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