We Still Obsess Over These 8 Bands from the '90s

Deftones will be at the Ak-Chin Pavilion with Rise Against and Thrice.
Jim Louvau
Deftones will be at the Ak-Chin Pavilion with Rise Against and Thrice.
The ‘90s may seem like forever and a day ago, but we still love them as though they were yesterday. While many of our favorite bands from the decade are long gone, some of them have persisted with varying degrees of success. Beyond the usual suspects like Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Radiohead, here are some of our favorite bands we still like to rock out to.

Sacramento-based rock outfit Deftones helped usher in a new wave of alternative metal that went far beyond the nu metal subgenre. While most of their contemporaries were creating mindless jock rock and anthemic tracks, Deftones always put more thought into their songs and instruments. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chino Moreno could carry a catchy tune and write a song along with the best of them. As their nu metal brethren have all but come and gone, Deftones remain as relevant today as they’ve ever been. Proof? They're playing Ak-Chin Pavilion on July 9.

Goo Goo Dolls
Believe it or not, the Goo Goo Dolls weren’t always the dad rockers that we know and love so dearly. They got their start in Buffalo’s underground punk scene, opening for bands like the Dead Milkmen and playing in iconic venues like CBGB. It wasn’t until their fifth studio album, A Boy Named Goo, that the guys left behind their grungier sound and opted for the classic soft rock with which listeners are most familiar. We also have them to thank for their contribution of “Iris” to 1998’s City of Angels soundtrack. For a band that didn’t want the world to see them, the East Coast crew certainly did well for themselves.

Although Rivers Cuomo and the band weren’t optimistic about their standing in the music industry after the release of their second album, Pinkerton, the nerd punks have now rightfully earned themselves a comfortable spot on the list of greatest rock musicians of all time. With 10 records under their belts, 2017’s release of Weezer or The Black Album is sure give us all of the ‘90s feels, even with their new “Beach Boys gone bad” adaptation.

Lead vocalist Bradley Nowell died before the band's massive self-titled album was released, featuring inescapable tracks like “What I Got” and “Santeria." It was played nonstop on the radio, propelling the record to hit platinum status six times over. Nowell’s relatable lyrics and the band’s beachside sounds resonated so immensely — particularly along the Southern California coastline — that the fandom eventually became its own subculture, with that familiar, glossy-eyed sun appearing everywhere. Though the remaining members have since regrouped to form Sublime with Rome, Nowell’s legacy left a lasting impact on the world he left too soon.

Pioneers in the grunge movement of the ‘90s, Seattle’s Soundgarden got by with a little help from friends Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Alice in Chains in popularizing the genre that would leave people head-banging and honoring the grittiness of life for decades to come. Their unusual music keys and time signatures stood out among the more commercial sounds of other bands at the time, continuously evolving and improving their technical prowess. After frontman Chris Cornell’s death on May 18, 2017, the future of the band remains unknown. The only remaining original member of the group is lead guitarist Kim Thayil.

Gin Blossoms
Tempe’s own Gin Blossoms endured a revolving door of members, a decision to recast the roles of everyone in the band, and the firing and death of their original singer, Doug Hopkins. Through all of that, the local boys not only found mainstream success, but they’re still at it 30 years later. After touring with Lit, Everclear, and Sugar Ray on the Summerland Tour back in 2012, the guys decided to get back into the studio, announcing the completion of their sixth album in April 2017. No word on the title or when they intend to release it, but we’ll be ready and eagerly waiting when they do.

Vocalist Michael Stipe and his Georgia-based R.E.M. introduced the world to a sound immersed in both folk and rock music. It would seem that even the most renowned musical acts have to weather a few storms before they can say they’ve truly made it, and this band is no exception. R.E.M.’s 10th studio album, New Adventures in Hi-Fi, was by far their worst received project to date. But shortly after its release, the band felt compelled to change their sound and downsize to a trio, which ended up being the right decision. As it stands, R.E.M. has sold over 85 million copies worldwide, making them one of the best-selling musical acts of all time and even earning them their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Portland: the birthplace of hipsters and Everclear (the band, not the alcohol). They were the up-and-coming musicians you couldn’t avoid, mainly because you couldn’t look away from vocalist and guitarist Art Alexakis’ platinum blonde locks. Currently on tour for the 20th anniversary of their third and most acclaimed album, So Much For the Afterglow, concertgoers can gleefully sing along to radio hits “Everything to Everyone” and “I Will Buy You a New Life” while Alexakis — now gray — strums away like it’s still 1997. Catch them live on June 27 at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.