I prefer Nirvana to Pumpkins, but honestly, I feel like there were so many better "alternative" bands out there.
I would rather listen to the worst Pixies album over anything by either Nirvana or Smashing Pumpkins put out any day of the week.
To me, crunch is a factor of just-beyond-breakup distortion on a tone that is very low mid heavy with a solid (not squishy) bottom end. And the mids are the differentiator in my opinion.
Obviously there are a lot of amps that get there, but my favorite is the Bogner Helios 100.
Original music? Do whatever you want. One of the things I love about Phish is that there is no predetermined setlist. Even the first song is discussed after they hit the stage, right before they launch into it.
For cover music, I think it's smart to have an opener and have songs that cluster...
Dumb question maybe, but what is the point of the interior amp pic anyway? Do you guys know a lot about the components, or is it more of a cool aesthetic thing? Do people post shots of pedal interiors?