Turns out, you can read the entire definition online at the amazon.com
site...more about that in a moment. But as for the definition itself,
the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia describes "alternative" as:
"...a catch-all adjective for young rock artists of the Nineties who
vociferously condemned the commercialism and glitzy conventions of
mainstream pop rock..."
Anong the groups named are R.E.M., Nirvana, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails,
Cure, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone, and a whole bunch more.
There's lots more in the extensive write-up. To have a look yourself,
do the following:
--Head to: http://www.amazon.com/
--type the name of the book into the search box and hit search
--THIS IS IMPORTANT: On the results page, click on the Encyclopedia
by Patricia Romanowski (the 1995 edition) -- the more recent edition
doesn't include sample pages with the defintition of "alternative",
but the earlier edition does.
--At the listing for the book, click on the "Look Inside" icon.
--Where it says "Browse sample pages" click on "Excerpt"
This will open up the Encyclopedia to the first few pages which --
happily -- are the "A" entries, starting with everyone's favorite,
ABBA. Click through the pages until you get to "Alternative" and
there you have it.
Any questions about all this, just let me know by posting a Request
for Clarification, and I'll be happy to assist you further.