By March 1990, Mother Love Bone's Apple release was iminent and one final show was scheduled at the Central Tavern, before the record release party. On Friday, March 16th, Andy Wood's fiance, Xana La Fuente, came home around 10:30. She found Wood collapsed on their bed; he was rushed to Harborview Hospital and immediately put onto a life support system. But the damage caused by lack of oxygen meant that recovery was out of the question. On March 19th, the machines were turned off, and one of Seattle's brightest lights was extinguished forever. Andy Wood died of a heroin overdose at the age of 24. On March 24th, 1990, the Paramount Theater hosted a memorial service for Wood. A beautiful Memorial program was produced, featuring numerous photos of Wood, plus reproductions of pages from his notebooks. Included were the handwritten lyrics to "The Diamond Hand Shoot," "Love B Strong," "Brightness and Splendir" (sic), "Free Spirit" and "Chloe Dancer". In the days following Wood's death, PolyGram proved itself to be a corporation with a heart. It gave the band time to think things through. The easiest decision was the fate of Apple. The band wanted the album out. Everyone had worked so hard on it; if nothing else, Apple would stand as a testament to Wood's talent. It was released in July 1990. When Stone Gossard announced he did not want to continue, Mother Love Bone ceased to be. It would be left to their recorded legacy to continue the band's name. Having lain dormant since its original release, Apple was reactivated in 1992, following Pearl Jam's breakthrough. Retitled simply Mother Love Bone, it appeared on CD and cassette with bonus tracks drawn from the Shine EP (repeated here in near-entirety the original bonus "Zanzibar" was omitted), and a very early demo of "Lady Godiva Blues". The latest addition to the MLB discography was the 93' The Love Earth Affair video, directed by Troy Smith. Including live footage filmed at the Club With No Name in L.A., the Central in Seattle, and the band's practice space in the International District, it also features the "Stardog Champion" video directed by Josh Taft, as well as interviews with the band members.
"(About the Central's show) A pitcher flew up from the audience, directly into Andy's hands. He just caught it; I don't think he even saw it coming!", Greg Gilmore (Mother Love Bone drummer).
"PolyGram was pretty cool; they sat back and asked us what we wanted to do", Greg Gilmore (Mother Love Bone drummer).
"Everything Soundgarden didn't want to be! Mother Love Bone was definitely groove conscious. Live, though, we were inconsistent. On a good night we could be just incredible", Greg Gilmore (Mother Love Bone drummer).
"He worked right next door to Kim [Thayil, Soundgarden's guitar player]. One day we had a show, and we asked him to be the emcee, because he was so outrageous. That was when he would dress up in full makeup and wear totally outrageous clothes and sing to a tape. That was the first time I met him. Then he went through drug treatment. When he came out, I'd rented a little house and renovated it, and I was looking for a roommate. He was gonna live with his parents, and it seemed it would be a really depressing thing. I thought it would be really cool for him to get back into life. I never had any experiences, when he lived with me, of him doing drugs. He wasn't someone who had to cop every day, and who would steal your stuff. He wasn't that way at all. The only thing he was dishonest about was when he would actually do it, he would try and hide it", Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
"I knew him in some pretty crucial years of his developing his songwriting and talent. When I first started living with him, he was writing a lot of material, and tons of solo material. He was the opposite of me. He would just record any idea he had. He was so fluid in his creativity. He never edited anything; he was never self-critical. He just went for it, so some of the many songs were just totally brilliant -- maybe one or two out of ten. He grew so incredibly in the year they made that record. It's just mind- blowing, the idea that that was robbed from everybody, including him. That was just the beginning for him. He could have done anything", Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
"Wood was drawn to heroin because he saw it as a romantic side of rock. He totally created his own personality as a rock star. He was a total rock star before anybody knew who he was. There was no denying that. He just was. To him, that was part of the whole thing. Eventually, it became a really efficient escape, because he was really scared. Anyone who's a musician or a songwriter and/or a performer can be pretty insecure. Everybody has to battle with that when it comes to being creative. I don't think anybody is born believing that what they do creatively is great. Sometimes you just do it and let other people convince you. And it was moving really fast for him. It was an easy way to forget about it. He was probably a lot more scared about simple things -- living socially and working. He was probably just more afraid of being alive than anybody would realize, because he was so outgoing that you never saw that side of him. He was guarded. He was always on. At his worst times, he was laughing about it. He was like a game-show host", Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
"When he was around, there was an unspoken competition, for sure, between our band and Mother Love Bone -- a healthy kind, but it was always there. We were watching what each other was doing. It would motivate you. When he died, I felt really hollow, really lonely. When he was alive, I felt I was part of something that was really vital and really cool and really different. When he was gone, it was like, 'It was my responsibility.' It was a real serious absence. A lot of people helped bring me out of that, like Layne from Alice In Chains, and Eddie, Pearl Jam's singer -- he's a great guy. That really helped. As much as I like to be completely separate from the music industry or trends, it definitely feels good to be part of something that's vital and inspiring", Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
"Sometimes I think I can feel a certain presence, but I'm sure that has to do with how strong Andy's life force was when he was on Earth", Stone Gossard.
"To me, Mother Love Bone was great songs and the cool '70s thing, not glam rock, but Bowie. They could be amazing, and they could be not amazing as well. They were a very young band", Kelly Curtis (Pearl Jam Manager).
"I am still a huge MLB fan, and I still think they're one of the greatest things ever to come out of Seattle. I think the fragility of the whole band was what made them so great. If they'd all been best friends, I don't think they'd have been such an incredible band. You could feel the energy on stage", Chris Friel (The Rockfords).
"A good rocking band that probably would have gotten as big as Pearl Jam. You've got to hand it to Stone and Jeff for keeping the ball rolling", Kevin Wood (Andy Wood's brother).
"Mother Love Bone was a little more refined and their guitarists were a little more structured", Ben Sheppard (Soundgarden).
"It wasn't as good or as appealing as Malfunkshun. Live, it just seemed kind of standard", Matt Cameron.
"With all respect to the memory of Andy, because he was a very sharp and funny guy, the Mother Love Bone vibe rubbed me the same way as Green River did, only more so", Jonathan Poneman (Sub Pop).
"Sometimes it makes me sad, and we talk about Andy every day. We still laugh about him; his jokes and what he would do. Not like, 'I really miss him.' We talk about Andy-isms. A lot of times I catch myself thinking I see him. It made me totally refocus, as far as my priorities. It had a lot to do with why Mother Love Bone broke up, and going with our gut feelings. Learning to not be afraid to communicate to somebody, even if it's going to piss them off... not allowing yourself to be unhappy in a situation if you can do something about it", Stone Gossard.
"With Mother Love Bone, there was this huge buzz. It was unheard of. It was such a crazy year, 1990, because it went from we're putting a record out . . . and then Andy dies. And then by the end of the year, we found Eddie", Kelly Curtis (Pearl Jam Manager).
"I loved Mother Love Bone, so when I was writing the movie that would end
up being [1992's] Singles, I wanted to interview Jeff and Stone to
explore the whole coffee-culture, "two or three jobs, one of which is your
band" lifestyle. The terrible turn of events that took place was that Andy
died. And everybody just instinctively showed up at Kelly [Curtis]'s house that
night. For me it was the first real feeling of what it was like to have a
hometown—everybody pulling together for some people they really loved. That
was a pivotal moment, I think, for a lot of people there. It made me want to do Singles
as a love letter to the community that I was really moved by. Few people know
this, but Stone is actually in [Crowe's 1989 film] Say Anything.... He
plays a cab driver, and Ione Skye looks at him and kind of flirts with him a
little bit as they're stuck in traffic on her way to graduation", Cameron
Crowe (Singles Director).
Temple of the Dog and Mookie Blaylock
Following the demise of Shadow, Mike McCready left music behind him for a bit, and returned to the community college he'd been attending on and off over the years. But it was impossible for him to abandon it forever, and under the aegis of a friend, Russ Reidner, he eventually returned to the musical fold. In late 1988/early 1989, Reidner, Mark Patterson and McCready started playing together. The band had neither a drummer nor a name; rather, they would just select whatever felt right at the time. Chris Friel played one show with them, for instance, as the X-Men. The rest of the time, they just jammed and demoed in nameless, percussion-less isolation. Around this time, McCready also started playing bluesy, Stevie Ray Vaughan-type music with another unnamed and short-lived group of friends, before forming Love Chile, a psychedelic blues band. Love Chile only played two shows, both times supporting Jangle Town. One was at the OK Hotel, and Chris Friel remembers Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament both being there. Like Mike, Stone was a big Kiss fan and After Andrew Wood's death, and after seeing Mike playing at the OK Hotel, Stone asked him to jam with. They spent the Summer playing guitar. Ament joined in later that summer, and soon, the three were compiling new songs. A band was slowly evolving. While Gossard and McCready spent their time jamming, Ament was rounding up another group of friends to play with. Luv Company, as the aggregation was named, was not meant to be a band per se, just a chance for people to play together on a fun level. The gang included Shawn Smith, longtime friend Kim Dijulio (from Lazy Susan), Tom Gunn (of War Babies), Chris Friel, Blind Horse drummer Richard Stuverud (Friel played a couple of shows, Stuverud the rest), and later, McCready, who would replace Tom Gunn. The band's repertoire was exclusively '70s covers; Bad Company and Aerosmith songs were staples. All total, the band performed around five shows, all locally.
"[about Love Chile] Muddy Waters meets Jane's Addiction", Chris Friel (The Rockfords).
"That was the night, that they were reminded Mike could really play guitar. That night was probably the greatest I've ever seen him play, he was just on fire", Chris Friel (The Rockfords).
"I saw Mike at a party when he was really drunk playing blues guitar and he was totally amazing. I had known Mike for a long time, since I was in 7th Grade, and he went through a transformation; found his own voice", Stone Gossard.
"I've always really appreciated Mike because he's very soulful kindo of Hendrix, Steve Ray Vaughan lead guitar player guy", Stone Gossard.
"It is a weird thing, yeah. It's a strange stretch. But I knew Stone from back then; we were friends. Actually the first time Stone saw me playing was right at that apartment down there [on Capitol Hill]. I was at a party at my friend's house and we were just jamming and he came in and said, "Hey, you sound really good." That was right when Love Bone was happening. So maybe he remembered that night. I don't know", Mike McCready.
"He said, "do you want to jam," so we got together and we started playing upstairs in his parent's attic. Jeff was playing with other people at the time. I said, "we've got to get Jeff, because you guys together are really great." Jeff said he wanted to do it", Mike McCready.
"I was sitting around at a party with Pete Droge, an old friend of mine. I had my guitar and I was just jamming to a Stevie Ray Vaughan record when Stone, whom I'd known for a few years walked up and said, "Wow, you're really good!" At the time Stone's band, Mother Love Bone, was happening, so I was really pleased that he liked my playing. About three months later, Stone called asking if I wanted to jam. So we got together and everything clicked. A short while after we played together, Stone called and asked whether I'd be interested in joining his new band. At the time I was working at a restaurant called Julia's in the Wallingford district (an upscale hippie/brown rice community in North Seattle), so it didn't take me long to decide. It all stemmed from that party. God knows why it happened", Mike McCready.
"Me and Mike have known each other for a long time, he was in another band in Seattle that we were huge fans of, and they actually left town for a while and came back, and as soon as Andy died, me and Mike just got together and played some songs I had", Stone Gossard.
"I was going through a major identity crisis at that point; I'd put my heart and soul into Mother Love Bone, gave up school, and to have it be snuffed out so quickly. All summer, Stone and I would meet up, mountain bike and just talk. We aired our grievances with one another. He told me that I needed to lighten up a bit and I told him that he needed to take it more seriously", Jeff Ament.
"Well, Andy died in 1990. it was kind of a summer of Stone and I just hanging out, riding our bikes around, meeting for coffee every day, trying to figure out what we were gonna do. And uh, he kinda went right back to work. He started uh, actually playing a little bit with Mike McCready. And we actually hooked up with Matt uhm, shortly after that at Kristen Berry's house. Played a bunch of instrumental songs that Stone had written, Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald", Jeff Ament.
"These big charts. He brought in these like two foot high charts with like, the letter G, dash B, dash, you know", Matt Cameron.
PolyGram still owned Stone and Jeff. The contract they had signed with MLB was both as a band and as individual artists. As soon as it became obvious that Ament and Gossard were starting to put something worthwhile together, PolyGram determined to hang onto them. So the new band had a record deal already locked up—it was just with a record company they no longer wanted to work with. At the same time they began an active search for a singer and drummer. While they were searching they'd asked Soundgarden's drummer Matt Cameron to fill in. In August 1990, they recorded a set of instrumental demos known as the "Gossman Project", [The King (early Even Flow), Dollar Short (Alive), Richard's 'E' (Alone), 'E' Ballad (Black), ? , Weird 'A' (Animal), 7Up (Pushin' Forward Back), Doobie 'E' (Breath), Agytian Crave (Once), Times of Trouble (Footsteps), Evil 'E' (Girl), Folk 'D']. Soundgarden's Matt Cameron contributed drums to ten of the tracks, and Shadow's Chris Friel contributed to two: 'Times of Trouble' and 'Black'. 'Dollard Short' was an unfinished track that Stone started working on back when he and Jeff Ament were in Mother Love Bone.
"Michael Goldstein was the A&R person who signed MLB, and he had moved to Epic. Now Jeff and Stone were stuck with this other guy who we all used to make jokes about. Everyone we knew at PolyGram had left, and Jeff and Stone had to fight to get out. And it was expensive", Greg Gilmore (Mother Love Bone drummer).
"All these songs came out of that time: Jeff had "Jeremy," Stone had "Black," "Alive." I came up with "Yellow Ledbetter." When Matt [Cameron] helped us out with [with drumming on] the demos, I knew these songs were going to be good", Mike McCready.
"I knew we had a band, when we started playing that song 'Dollar Short'", Mike McCready.
Stone and Jeff shopped the tape (with working titles only) around to various connections including the Wilder Brothers in Los Angeles. One of the people they sent the tape was drummer Jack Irons (ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers).
"I forwent my paycheck that night to go hang out at Soundcheck, because to me, just to look at Joe Strummer's guitar was cool. And that night the power went off and I sat in a tiny room with Joe Strummer for like an hour with just this big Mag-Lite on his face. It was totally surreal experience. I remember he gave me a hit off his cigarette and it was half pot and half tobacco, and I nearly puked", Eddie Vedder.
"Surfing and Music, it's what I did. I was working at a club, and I'd get home from work and play guitar and make demos all night, sleep for an hour or two, go surfing, then go back to the club. I was working for the privilege of standing next to Joe Strummer's guitar and maybe play a D-minor and A-chord like in London Calling when no one was looking, just real quick, on his black and white telecaster", Eddie Vedder.
"It was so exciting. I was nick-named 'Crazy Eddie' by Flea and everybody else. It was partly because I was with these people I respected so much, people who were so intense. They were questioning doing certain things, and I'd think, 'I could do that, my body could withstand that'. If you ever bump into Flea, tell him you know Eddie, and he won't know who I am. But tell him you know Carzy Eddie and he'll go, 'Crazy Eddie, he's crazy'. After that I was expected to do everything crazy", Eddie Vedder.
"It was the weirdest thing. We went backpacking up in Yosemite, and Jack brought him along. He was like, 'This is Eddie'. Then a year later, we go on tour, and there's this band that's gonna open for us called Pearl Jam, I never heard of 'em. And it was the guy from the backpacking trip. I was like, 'oh wow, we spent two weeks together in the mountains'. Eddie goes from being an obscure figure on a backpacking trip to, you know, the world's largest rock star. Man, that was intense", Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers).
And so on September 1990, Jack put Stone and Jeff in touch with Eddie, and not long afterward, during a trip to Los Angeles, they met with him. Stone and Jeff were promoting Mother Love Bone's Apple and Eddie was visiting Jack Irons. Back in San Diego after his meeting with Stone and Jeff, Eddie took the tape home and listened to it. The following day while surfing, he came up with the lyrics to the song "Dollar Short". He then raced back to the Mission Beach apartment of his longtime girlfriend, Beth Liebling. Working from yellow Post-it pads lifted from his job, he taped himself singing over three of the instrumentals. Using his 4-track recorder, he layed down vocals for 'Alive' (his title for 'Dollar Short'), 'Once' and 'Footsteps'. Eddie marked his tape 'Mamasan', xeroxed some graphics he had designed himself, then sent his efforts back to Seattle. Eddie didn't think about the tape again until later that week. He treated himself to a movie one afternoon "David Lynch's Wild at Heart", and then piloted his Toyota truck down to the beach to play some guitar. While there, he bumped into a friend who had the latest issue of Rolling Stone, and in it was an item about Stone and Jeff's search for a singer. Eddie examined the magazine. He said nothing to his friend, but the article left him feeling self-conscious about the tape he'd just put in the mail. He needn't have worried. Back in Seattle, Jeff listened to the Mamasan tape in his apartament and played it through three times. Then he got on the phone, "Stone, I may be totally whacked out, but I think this guy is amazing. You'd better get over here". Eddie left town for a few days and returned home to a series of answering machine messages from Jack. Within days, Eddie and Jeff were talking at lenght on the phone, and all he'd requested in his earlier, lengthy phone conversations with Jeff Ament was not to waste time. He wanted to come straight from the airport -- right to their rehearsal room -- and make music. And that is what happened. By the time Eddie arrived in Seattle on October 6th [two weeks after sending the tape], he'd already written 'Black'. With Eddie now filling their vacant vocalist position, Stone, Jeff and Mike turned their attention back towards a drummer. Tal Goettling, a member of Son of Man, thought he knew someone that would be perfect for the group, his longtime friend Dave Krusen. Goettling knew Stone and Jeff from the days of Mother Love Bone, as Son of Man used to open from them; when he heard that the group was auditioning drummers, he passed the information on to Krusen. Dave auditioned, and was given a copy of the demo to take home. In early October, he was asked to join the band. A new chapter was going to begin.
"Actually talking with Jack Irons
the RHCP) about playing drums with us and he was pretty busy at the time and I
just said to him one day if you ever hear any singers down there certainly we
respect your tastes and he said well the only guy I know is a friend of mine
named Eddie who plays in this band down in San Diego and I said if you wanna
give him a tape or whatever you should definitely do that and he did, we met him
in Los Angeles, and flew him up about 2 weeks later, it's been going really
well since then ", Stone Gossard.
", Stone Gossard.
"Eddie was a friend of Jack Irons, he's the old from the Chili Peppers, he suggested a friend of his from San Diego. He said Eddie was a surfer guy, said he was a totally great singer. Sent him a demo tape, guess it was 8 or 10 instrumental demos, he just recorded over the top of the demo tape on his 4 track, flew up to Seattle", Stone Gossard.
"Yeah, we were trying to get Jack into our band, cause he'd quit the Chili Peppers I think a year previous, and uh, he was already kinda starting this pretty amazing band, Eleven, who uh. Well we gave him a tape, and he said he couldn't do it, cause had obligations with Eleven. And uh, we said if you know any other drummers or any singers, or anybody else that you think would be into this music, you know, pass it along. And about two weeks later, he called up and said he'd given the tape to this guy Eddie. And we talked, I think I called him, and talked for a couple minutes, and kinda talked about the music that we liked or whatever, and what we've been doing. And then uh, he sent a tape of some home recordings that he had done, which were pretty cool, just him and an acoustic guitar. And then about a week later, he sent up a tape that had Once, Alive and Footsteps on it. It was, I mean, I don't think it'd ever been so obvious to me that it was the right thing. Like pretty much as soon as I heard his voice, I was like, 'Wow'", Jeff Ament.
"Jack called and said,'You know those guys from that tape, Mother Love Bone?'. He explained the whole story to me. He said they'd asked him to play drums, and also asked him about singers. He said he'd talked to them and said, 'Well, I could never move to Seattle', and they'd said maybe they'd move. So I thought that if all went well, I would be playing with Jack. He was a great friend, and that meant a lot to me, that maybe I could be playing with Jack", Eddie Vedder.
"[In Los Angeles] He gave us a tape of some of the stuff he'd done, and we thought it was pretty cool", Jeff Ament.
"The sleep deprivation came into play. When you haven't slept for days, you get so sensitive that it feels like every nerve is directly exposed. You can watch a mother with her child walk across the street, or see a little article in the newspaper, and you'll just start to weep. I went surfing in that sleep-deprivation state, and totally started dealing with a few things that I hadn't dealt with. I was really getting focused on this one thing, and I had this music in my mind at the same time. I was literally writting some of these words as I was going up against a wave or something. I got out of the water, and I went right into the house and recorded three songs. I didn't even write down the lyrics. I just wrote an outline and sang it, and the only time I even listened to it, got it right, and then listened to it again, and then just sent it off. I didn't really think about it. When I think back, it's pretty weird, because it was like a three-song mini opera, this story that was really intense. Pretty much half of it was real, and half of it was extensions of reality", Eddie Vedder.
"I hadn't slept in days. I played the tape at work, all night, and then went out surfing. It was a great feeling: a combination of sleep deprivation and being very excited by the coldness of the water, with this music floating around in my head. I got out of the water, walked into this little rundown shack on the beach I was living in, and laid down three songs, 'Alive', 'Once', and 'Footsteps'. My feet were still wet and sandy. It was such an honest thing", Eddie Vedder.
"I didn't think about it as being an opportunity or anything. At the time, it didn't matter to me. The coolest part was that it was helping me get a few things out of my system. The music was bringing things out of me that hadn't been brought out. It was really natural with this music. Before, it had always seemed forced", Eddie Vedder.
"[About the Mother Love Bone Rolling Stone ad] It was like, 'Aw fuck, those are the Love Bone guys right there, I should have paid more attention to that tape. You know, you'd think I would've written a better hook, something about 'Meet you on Saturday night' [laughs]", Eddie Vedder.
"I had bumped into Jack [Irons] at a party because I knew Jack from [the
band] What Is This?. I told him [Jeff and Stone's new band] needed a drummer and
was looking for a singer too. He initially turned it down, then forwarded his
demo to Eddie, and then I guess Eddie called those guys direct", Michael
Goldstone (Epic executive).
"Jack [Irons, drummer in Eleven and formerly of the Red Hot Chili Peppers] sent me three of their songs. I had them in my head from the night before at work, and I went surfing and had this amazing day. The whole time I was out there surfing, I had this stuff going through my head -- the music -- and the words going at the same time. I put them down on tape and sent it off. I didn't really know what Stone and Jeff wanted. The music just felt really open to me. Then I thought, 'Wow, the music is really good; maybe I should have paid more attention. Maybe I should have written it down. Maybe I should have really listened to it before I sent it off. It was three songs, like rambling weird stuff. One of them is called 'Alive,' and one of them is called 'Once,' and then one of them was called 'Times of Trouble,' which, actually, Chris [Cornell, Soundgarden] did a version of on the Temple [Of The Dog] record. Mine was called 'Footsteps.' It was the same music, but different words. There are two versions of that floating around. Actually, the whole thing was a three-song mini-opera. Using Stone's music, I set it to this three-act play 'Alive' was the first act, and that has incest and violence. You have to read all this into it. Actually, the violent one was 'Once' -- he goes out and kills people. Then 'Times of Trouble,' or my version, 'Footsteps.' That song sounded like sitting in a jail cell. It's about a guy who was tortured as a child, which is the reason behind him turning into a mass murderer", Eddie Vedder.
"Everybody writes about it like it's a life-affirmation, thing -- I'm really glad about that, It's a great interpretation. But 'Alive' is... it's torture. Which is why it's fucked up for me. Why I should probably learn how to sing another way. It would be easier. It's... it's too much. The story of the song is that a mother is with a father and the father dies. It's an intense thing because the son looks just like the father. The son grows up to be the father, the person that she lost. His father's dead, and now this confusion, his mother, his love, how does he love her, how does she love him? In fact, the mother, even though she marries somebody else, there's no one she's ever loved more than the father. You know how it is, first loves and stuff. And the guy dies. How could you ever get him back? But the son. He looks exactly like him. It's uncanny. So she wants him. The son is oblivious to it all. He doesn't know what the fuck is going on. He's still dealing, he's still growing up. He's still dealing with love, he's still dealing with the death of his father. All he knows is 'I'm still alive' -- those three words, that's totally out of burden. Now the second verse is 'Oh she walks slowly into a young man's room... I can remember to this very day... the look... the look.' And I don't say anything else. And because I'm saying, 'The look, the look' everyone thinks it goes with 'on her face.' It's not on her face. The look is between her legs. Where do you go with that? That's where you came from. But I'm still alive. I'm the lover that's still alive. And the whole conversation about 'You're still alive, she said' And his doubts: 'Do I deserve to be? Is that the question?' Because he's fucked up forever! So now he doesn't know how to deal with it. So what does he do, he goes out killing people -- that was [the song] 'Once.' He becomes a serial killer. And 'Footsteps,' the final song of the trilogy, that's when he gets executed. That's what happens. The Green River killer... and in San Diego, there was another prostitute killer down there. Somehow I related to that. I think that happens more than we know. It's a modern way of dealing with a bad life", Eddie Vedder.
"When Jeff and Stone got me that tape, I knew I had to pick up and move, the music was so amazing. If they would have lived in Alaska, I mean I would have gone where that music was 'cause it was definitely the most honest thing I'd heard", Eddie Vedder.
"The vibe was really cool. I finally found music that shad something special about it, it worked with the way I like to write", Eddie Vedder.
"The pivotal moment was Jeff coming by the office with the tape and saying you aren't going to believe this. We were like, "Oh my god, this is scary", Kelly Curtis (Pearl Jam Manager).
"We were blown. He was really the first that had it. We had a few other tapes of singers, but it was always people singing Mother Love Bone songs or trying to be like Andy. When we heard Eddie's tape, it was like, here's a guy who didn't really know anything about Mother Love Bone for the most part. He didn't have any preconceived notions about what it was. He just related to these non-vocal demos that we sent him", Stone Gossard.
"It was a kind of a sick, disturbed rock opera -- if Nietzsche were to write a rock opera. I mean, lyrically, I think he's amazing. I think he's really visual. I think just the fact that he's coming from a completely different place than Andy was coming from, that really appeals to us", Jeff Ament.
On October 6th, two weeks after sending the 'Mamasan' tape, Eddie was in Seattle. On the day he arrived in Seattle, Eddie went directly from Seattle Tac Airport to the band's rehearsal space, then in the basement of Galleria Potatohead, a Belltown art gallery not far from the Crocodile Cafe. The first song they played together was 'Alive'. And within six days, he, Stone, Jeff, Mike and drummer Dave Krusen had written eleven songs, (Even Flow, Once, Breath, Release, Girl, Alive, Goat, Alone, Oceans, Black, Yellow Ledbetter). From home, Eddie had brought a box of then cassettes by Kipper Jones, an R&R artist on Virgin records, where Beth (His girlfriend at the time, now wife) was working in the publicity department. As they practiced, the band recorded over these, making cheap tapes of their rehearsals. Was on one of those tapes that the guys recorded their first ever demo as a full band, on October 13th.
"I'm gonna take a minute to tell you what this actually means to us, without getting all sentimental. We actually figured out right before we went on it was an exact year ago tomorrow that I made my first trip to Seattle and we all became best friends through music, so this kind like a birthday party for RIP and maybe for this band", Eddie Vedder at the Palladium on October 6th, 1991.
"Eddie was this shy guy. It was just the opposite of [late Mother Love Bone
frontman] Andy Wood, who was this flamboyant, David Lee Roth kind of guy", Kelly
Curtis (Pearl Jam Manager).
"I think when we first heard Ed sing, we knew we had something special," Kelly Curtis (Pearl Jam Manager).
"That first week was just a totally magical thing, the most intense musical experience I'd ever been involved in. I'd written three more songs before I left San Diego, and then we wrote more from scratch while I was in Seattle. All of a sudden we had eleven songs", Eddie Vedder.
"It was just a totally magical thing. It was the most intense musical experience I'd ever been involved in", Eddie Vedder.
"Everything happened so quick. When we got together those first few days, I knew that that's what I was supposed to be doing. I don't think you're ever sure of anything you're ever doing but that week was one of the greatest weeks of my life", Jeff Ament.
"The minute we started rehearsing and Ed started singing—which was within
an hour of him landing in Seattle—was the first time I was like, "Wow,
this is a band that I'd play at home on my stereo." What he was writing
about was the space Stone and I were in. We'd just lost one of our friends to a
dark and evil addiction, and he was putting that feeling to words. I saw him as
a brother. That's what pulled me back in [to making music]. It's like when you
read a book and there's something describing something you've felt all your life",
"I came up and we were going to coffee shops, fuelling up and going into this dank basement, playing this music with the band that had a magical intensity about it. We rehearsed for five days and all of a sudden, there were 11 of the most emotional songs any of us had ever heard. The sixth day we played a show, which was pretty religious, and on the seventh day we recorded it all", Eddie Vedder.
"Since these aren't rock n roll songs where you'd sit and smile afterwards, give each other high-fives, light up another cigarette, pop open another beer, the ultimate response was having to take a huge breath and the silence that followed...along with the slight buzz of someone's distortion box [laughs]. Everyone felt pretty locked in. There was definately something happening there", Eddie Vedder.
"We rehearsed like crazy for six or seven days. We were in the studio and recorded everything that we had rehearsed, which was like ten songs. Then we played a show. Within ten days, it was pretty happening. Everybody knew it was the right thing", Jeff Ament.
"I'd never been in a situation where it clicks. It all happened in seven days. We had worked up all the music a month prior to that with [original drummer Dave] Krusen. When Eddie came up he had "Footsteps," "Alive," and "Black." And out of that week came so many other things. It was very punk rock. Eddie would stay there in the rehearsal studio, writing all night. We'd show up and there was another one. And then he had to get back. I remember giving him a ride back, at about five in the morning, to Sea-Tac Airport. I remember him saying "Don't be late!" He had to get back to work", Mike McCready.
"I always had the kind of clip-on-tie, stocking-the-shelves-at-drugstores
jobs. And for that first week of rehearsing with the band, I wasn't going to
have to go to work. It was just going to be about music. We practiced in an art
gallery, in the basement. And the alley that we were on was like crack-alley
central. I remember having to use the restroom upstairs and going through these
rooms that smelled of oil paint and sawdust and stuff. The guys would come in,
and we'd practice and then maybe go play some pool and then come back and keep
working, surrounded by Gatorade bottles with piss in them for those times when
you didn't feel like walking up the stairs", Eddie
"I don't think I appreciated Eddie like I do now back then—his words and where he was coming from. Writing songs like "Release" or "Even Flow" in that basement together, I knew immediately when he was singing it felt good. But it took Ed and me a long time to get to know each other. We were very different kinds of people", Stone Gossard.
At the same time that Eddie arrived in Seattle in early October 1990, Chris Cornell, Matt Cameron, Mike McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard and producer/keyboard player Rick Parashar were preparing to record what became the Temple Of The Dog album. Chris Cornell, Andrew Wood's roommate and close friend, as a release from his grief penned in June 1990 (after returning from Soundgarden's European tour) two songs in tribute to Wood, 'Say Hello to Heaven' and 'Reach Down', envisioning them as a single. Somehow Jeff and Stone heard the tape and got really excited about it. Suddently the single began growing into an album. It was not quite a tribute, but it was certainly inspired by Andy. The Chris Cornell Project had now a name, 'Temple of the Dog', after lyric in Mother Love Bone's 'Man Of Golden Words':
want to show you something, like joy inside my heart
Andrew Wood, "Man of Golden Words"
New material was constantly being brought into the sessions, not all of it for the project in hand. Some was destined for a demo that the trio of Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament and Mike McCready would use to complete their own band. All told, 12 songs ended up on tape, 10 with the trio augmented by Cameron, two —"Times Of Trouble" and what would eventually become "Black" — featuring Chris Friel. Of these songs, the majority ("Once," "Alive" and "Black" included) would even eventually appear on Pearl Jam's Ten. Two more including 'Times Of Trouble', and 'Pushin' Forward Back' would find their way onto the Cornell project, now dubbed Temple Of The Dog. On a few nights after Mookie Blaylock had finished their rehearsals, Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron had shown up at the band's practice space to work on Temple material. Eddie, on hand but not a participant, had for the most part contented himself with recording the Temple rehearsals on his cache of Kipper Jones tapes. But at one point, as Chris Cornell was trying to work on an overlapping vocal on a song called 'Hunger Strike', Eddie had stepped in to help out. Chris Cornell had been impressed with the shy singer's improvised contribution, and as it happened, he and the others were finishing up the recording of Temple of the Dog when Eddie returned to Seattle. The album was recorded in 15 days (November/December) and was released on Soundgarden's label, A&M, on April 16th, 1991. As the band-penned Temple Of The Dog bio concludes, "10 songs. Spontaneous. Creation. Emotion. Very Pleasing. Real Music. No Analyzation. No Pressure. No Hype. Just music to make music. Friends and a reason. Chemistry. Beauty. Life Rules!" Released as both a 12-inch and CD promo in the U.S., "Hunger Strike" appeared in all formats in Europe, spinning off a few collectibles in the process, including both 7-inch and 12-inch U.K. picture discs (the latter also packaged with a free poster), a cassette single and a CD digipack. The regular B-side on all four releases was "All Night ,Thing"; the 12-inch and CD also feature "Your Savior." A second Temple U.S. promo CD single, coupling full length and edited (4:25) versions of "Say Hello 2 Heaven," also exists.
"Right after Andy died, we [Soundgarden] went to Europe, and it was horrible, because I couldn't talk about it, and there was no one who had loved him around. I wrote two songs, 'Reach Down' and 'Say Hello 2 Heaven.' That was pretty much how I dealt with it. When we came back, I recorded them right away. They seemed different from what Soundgarden naturally does, and they seemed to fit together. They seemed like music he would like. I got the idea to release them as a single, and to get at least Stone and Jeff, or all of Love Bone, to play on it. I had the idea for a couple days, then, with an artist's lack of self-confidence, I decided it was a stupid idea. Somehow those guys heard the tape, and they were really, really excited. Stone and Jeff and our drummer, Matt, had been working on a demo for what ended up being Pearl Jam, so we had the idea that we would make an EP or a record, and maybe even do some of Andy's solo songs", Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
"A few of Andy's friends and family, and his girlfriend, started grumbling, being a little concerned about our motives for doing Andy's music, which is totally fair. But it wasn't something that any of us felt like having to explain or worry about, so we decided we would make our own album, let the Andrew thing go, and have fun collaborating as a band, because we were really having a good time working together. The rest of the material came within a few weeks", Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
"We made a record with Chris Cornell called Temple of the Dog. I
still listen to it and think that it's the best thing I've ever been involved
with. Whatever that combination of people was, I'd never been in a situation
where it was that easy. I've almost been looking for that ever since. The very
first thing we did was a very high water mark, the way that our two bands
complemented each other. And it was a bunch of songs that Chris wrote totally
from the heart. He wrote these songs without any preconceived notions of where
they might end up or what they were going to be. That's where the real gold is.
In terms of writing music, being self-conscious is the worst place to be", Stone
"Stone and Jeff were in Green River, and Green River and Soundgarden always
had a friendly rivalry. I've had discussions with Johnny Ramone about the New
York scene when the Ramones were coming up, and he was very surprised at how
well bands like Soundgarden and Pearl Jam would get along, because he said that
in the New York scene, bands weren't very nice to each other", Chris
"Actually when he died I was on tour or, actually, I had got back the day he died and then like about five days later I went to Europe for another tour and I figured it would be this great thing, because I would be away from home and I wouldn't have to look at places where I saw him or see things that would remind me of him and I thought it would be really great but it was awful because I couldn't talk to anybody. So I started writing songs, that was the only thing I could really think of to do. The songs I wrote weren't really stylistically like something my band Soundgarden would be used to playing or be natural for us to do, but it was material that Andy really would have liked, so I didn't really want to just throw it out the window or put it away in a box, y'know, put the tape away and never listen to it again. So I thought it would be good to make a single, and I thought it would be really great to record it with these guys, Stone and Jeff, because they were in his band and I just thought it would be a really fun thing to do... I was getting to be friends with these guys before he died, actually, and it just seemed like maybe it was a good idea. At first I thought about it and then I thought maybe they would think it was horrible and that I was an asshole...", Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
"So anyway, these guys had material that they had worked on before and since he died, it sort of at first was this requiem thing but it ended up just sort of being "Let's make a record," this cool collaboration and that's what it sort of turned out to be, really", Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
"It was a really good thing at the time for us too, because Stone and I were still trying to figure out what the hell we were doing, it kind of put us in a band situation where we could play and make music, and I think in some ways it was so much fun that we didn't want to stop", Jeff Ament.
"Yeah, there was one particular song, Hunger Strike, which I believe is the first single, he was at one of our rehearsals for Temple of the Dog because he had flown up here, it was the week he was trying out for you guys I guess, and he told me afterwards that he really liked that song and the thing about that song among a couple of others that where stylistically the vocals really weren't anything that I had ever done before, on a record anyway, it wasn't really the way I was used to singing, and I thought his voice suited that song really well and I thought it would be great to do a duet", Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
"Yeah, the whole situation was just so non-pressure filled, nobody expected this to be anything, so when we just went in and did it the record company wasn't around, we basically paid for it ourselves to start out with and are still in the process of getting reimbursed for that. I mean, there was no pressure and we did the whole thing in a total of three weeks of studio time, if that...It was as easy to record as anything we've ever done. The drum takes went down like that (snaps fingers) and everything was just very smooth", Stone Gossard.
"Yeah, it might have almost disappeared if anyone had got involved regarding what material we should do... I mean we were originally talking about doing some covers of some of Andy's solo material and realised right away that politically that would get kind of involved, people being worried about us exploiting his material. Which is okay, it makes sense to me, but I don't think any of us were in the mood to deal with that at all", Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
"More than anything else we just wanted to play, the whole Andy thing was more of an inspiration...", Jeff Ament.
"I'm sure he'd be blown away by the whole thing. I'm sure he is. If there's anyone's spirit who'd be hanging around to check things out, it would definitely be Andy Wood's", Stone Gossard.
"That's the funny thing too, because the time we spent on making the Temple of the Dog record as well, writing the songs and putting the material together was sort of... it was such a short amount of time that that whole thing kind of came and went and we're all totally submerged in what we're doing now. It's kind of strange to even think of it that way...", Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
"He would love the record. He had no prejudices musically at all. He was a really unusual guy", Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
"Some of the songs are now on Temple, some on Ten some are on both, twisted into combinations, like 'Times Of Trouble,' there's different lyrics. It was just a kind of get-together. There wasn't an agenda as far as what we were going to do. We wanted to try some new songs with a hand-picked group. When we got together for the demos, Stoney, Jeff and Mike were still getting their vibe together, it was really fun to witness. And of course, Jeff and Stone are full-on partners", Matt Cameron.
"We actually had a chance to make a record where there were no expectations from anybody. And it came out great", Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
"I had written "Say Hello to Heaven" and "Reach Down"
and I had recorded them by myself at home. My initial thought was I could record
them with the ex members of Mother Love Bone as a tribute single to Andy [Wood].
And I got a phone call from Jeff, saying he just thought the songs were amazing
and let's make a whole record. When we started rehearsing the songs, I had
pulled out "Hunger Strike" and I had this feeling it was just kind of
gonna be filler, it didn't feel like a real song. Eddie was sitting there kind
of waiting for a [Mookie Blaylock] rehearsal and I was singing parts, and he
kind of humbly—but with some balls—walked up to the mic and started singing
the low parts for me because he saw it was kind of hard. We got through a couple
choruses of him doing that and suddenly the light bulb came on in my head, this
guy's voice is amazing for these low parts. History wrote itself after that,
that became the single. I think Temple was the first full-length album
that McCready ever recorded. You almost kind of had to yell at him to get him to
realize that in the five-and-a-half minute solo of "Reach Down," that
was his time and that he wasn't going to be stepping on anybody else. He started
recording what was eventually the solo, halfway through it he got so into it
that his headphones flew off, and he played half that solo without even hearing
the song", Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).
"When we started doing Temple, Eddie was just hanging out at the basement rehearsal studio that Jeff, Stone and Mike have. He wasn't totally acclimatized yet, so he was juststaying down there, hanging out, listening to the songs we were working on. And then he started singing", Matt Cameron.
"Rick Parashar is a guy that we had done demos with before and we liked the way he recorded songs. We didn't want to spend a lot of money, especially with the Temple thing. Temple was kind of like...testing...We didn't spend very much money and we made a great sounding record", Stone Gossard.
"Actually when he died I was on tour or, actually, I had got back the day he died and then like about five days later I went to Europe for another tour and I figured it would be this great thing, because I would be away from home and I wouldn't have to look at places where I saw him or see things that would remind me of him and I thought it would be really great but it was awful because I couldn't talk to anybody. So I started writing songs, that was the only thing I could really think of to do. The songs I wrote weren't really stylistically like something my band Soundgarden would be used to playing or be natural for us to do, but it was material that Andy really would have liked, so I didn't really want to just throw it out the window or put it away in a box, y'know, put the tape away and never listen to it again. So I thought it would be good to make a single, and I thought it would be really great to record it with these guys, Stone and Jeff, because they were in his band and I just thought it would be a really fun thing to do... I was getting to be friends with these guys before he died, actually, and it just seemed like maybe it was a good idea. At first I thought about it and then I thought maybe they would think it was horrible and that I was an asshole...", Chris Cornell.
"So anyway, these guys had material that they had worked on before and since he died, it sort of at first was this requiem thing but it ended up just sort of being "Let's make a record," this cool collaboration and that's what it sort of turned out to be, really", Chris Cornell.
"It was a really good thing at the time for us too, because Stone and I were still trying to figure out what the hell we were doing, it kind of put us in a band situation where we could play and make music, and I think in some ways it was so much fun that we didn't want to stop", Jeff Ament.
"Yeah, there was one particular song, Hunger Strike, which I believe is the first single, he was at one of our rehearsals for Temple of the Dog because he had flown up here, it was the week he was trying out for you guys I guess, and he told me afterwards that he really liked that song and the thing about that song among a couple of others that where stylistically the vocals really weren't anything that I had ever done before, on a record anyway, it wasn't really the way I was used to singing, and I thought his voice suited that song really well and I thought it would be great to do a duet. Yeah, and he sings backups on three other songs. He sang half of that song not even knowing that I'd wanted the part to be there and he sang it exactly the way I was thinking about doing it, just instinctively...when I asked him it seemed like he was flattered, it wasn't anything any of us had planned. He was just there and he's a great guy and an amazing singer, and I was like this is a fun project, so why not have him involved as well?", Chris Cornell.
After two weeks of rehearsals, energized by the productive weeks they'd had and wanting to test their new lineup in a live setting, Stone and Jeff finagled a slot for the band on a bill at the Off Ramp Cafe. On October 22th, under the name Mookie Blaylock [from a basketball trading card found in the demo tape package], Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready and Dave Krusen performed their first live show on October 22th at Seattle's Off Ramp Cafe.
"Ultimately, it was kind of goofy. But that first week, we were too busy working on songs to think about a name", Eddie Vedder.
"We took the name Mookie Blaylock in the beggining just because his card happened to end up in our demo cassette case one day. He's an unsung hero who really tries hard, so we thought it was kind of appropriate. But I think there were some legal problems with it. We were just told to change it, and Pearl Jam just came up. There's no great story behind it", Eddie Vedder.
10/22/90 - Off Ramp Café: Seattle, WA
Opened for: Inspector Luv and the Ride Me Babies (who later became Green Apple Quickstep), Bathtub Gin
Soundcheck: Even Flow
Setlist: Release, Alone, Alive, Once, Even Flow, Black, Breath
Notes: Being a new band, the guys were still becoming familiar with the music and with each other. They barely move around. All of the songs sound different, many sound too slow compared with the ones on the Ten album. 'Even Flow' was an example. The lyrics for 'Release' and 'Once' were a bit different as well. 'Girl' was performed live for the only documented time. At this point, the members of Mookie Blaylock most likely have no idea what a turn their lives were about to take.
"[about the Off Ramp gig] I opened my eyes and it was full, and everyone was just clapping and going nuts. It was the weirdest thing, it was like a fucking serious dream", Eddie Vedder.
"We were both singers. When I first came up and he [Chris Cornell] put out
his hand to me early on which is so important to me it's almost undefinable. The
first time we played he came to this little club and he told me that it was
really good and he was thankful that I was there and that I was who I was, or
something really nice, but the whole time he was saying this, he didn't realize
but he was standing under a black light, and his teeth were glowing and his eyes
were glowing. I remember it as my first conversation with Satan", Eddie
"[Mookie Blaylock] played their first show at the Off Ramp, a female-motorcyclist bar. It was the same club Cameron shot Soundgarden in for Singles. And everyone was nervous, wanting to see the phoenix rise. There was such an intense connection among all of them. Even though the Off Ramp show was amazing and people wanted to see Stone and Jeff win, when they opened for Alice in Chains [on December 22] at the Moore Theatre, there was still a lot of grieving about Andy. He was such a special guy, such a character, so fearless and outrageous—the whiteface and the sparkly spandex outfits. So this was the first time that a lot of fans saw Eddie, and the feeling I was picking up from the audience was "Who is this guy? Is he good enough to fill Andy's shoes?" It felt like the place wholeheartedly accepted him", Susan Silver (Chris Cornell's wife).
The day after the Off Ramp show, Mookie Blaylock went into Seattle's London Bridge Studios with Rick Parashar and made a rough demo of all the new songs they'd written. That night, with the recording finished, Eddie and Jeff enjoyed a basketball bonding session at the Seattle Kingdome, watching the Chicago Bulls tap-dance all over the Seattle Supersonics in an exhibition game. Two days later, a rather shell-shocked Eddie found himself back in San Diego. Wanting to include Eddie in the Temple of the Dog project, Chris Cornell phoned Eddie and invited him to supply background vocals on a few of the Temple tracks, and also to duet with him on 'Hunger Strike'. By December, he was back in Seattle, for good.
"I'm at work, and everything's just the same. I'm punching the time clock and doing that whole thing, and it was as if I'd fallen in love with a girl over the summer and now shw was back at home. It was like this thing that you could remember so well, but you couldn't grasp. I'd be feeling that way, but then I'd put in this tape. It was so intense to hear that it really happened. I'd listen to 'Release' and just go 'Jesus'", Eddie Vedder.
"This little experiment ended up turning into Ten within a six-week process.
Ed went up to Seattle initially, came home, moved up there, and never came back
[to Southern California]", Michael Goldstone (Epic
Opening for: Bathtub Gin
Hunger Strike, Wooden Jesus, Say Hello 2 Heaven, Reach Down, Call Me
a Dog, Times of Trouble, Pushin' Forward Back, Your Saviour, Four-Walled World
Notes: This Seattle Musicians for the People show was a benefit for Toys for Tots, Food Bank, etc. Stone joined Alive in Chains to play a few songs acoustically. Only a few people attended the show due to the bad weather.
During Eddie's first week back in Seattle, Mookie Blaylock opened a show for Alice in Chains at the Moore Theater on December 22th. The Seattle Times declared that they played "Bad 70's country rock...not even a cameo appearance by Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron made Blaylock interesting". The review didn't spoiled their enthusiasm, they'd wasted no time in adding to their repertoire of new songs, and they'd already begun discussing their agenda with Michael Goldstone and other key personnel at Epic.
"We wanted to make a record, and we didn't want it to come out in like, 1993. We told the record company, 'This is when we want to make a record, and we want to be on the road this summer, that's a huge priority. And we're not gonna overthink this thing, we're not gonna get caught up in the game and the bullshit. We're gonna make a record the way people are supposed to make records", Jeff Ament.
"We were looking to get a band together right away (after Mother Love Bone). We thought it was going to take a lot longer than it did. Once it started to happen, I didn't really want it to stop. I basically told Michael Goldstone at Epic 'We had a schedule of when we wanted to make a record'. It was only six or eight weeks after we'd been a band. It was exactly what we didn't do with Mother Love Bone, and that was to actually get some of the spontaneity and freshness of the songs: to get really close to them when they were written. With Mother Love Bone, most of the songs on that record had been written for a year. That's the way a lot of music is made. It's an analytical process, where you try to write a certain kind of song for a certain kind of audience to sell a certain amount of product or records. I think that's not what it's about. I wanted to get back to making a record that was a little bit more raw, with a little more emphasis on getting the intensity", Jeff Ament.
Opened for: Alice in Chains