Mother Love Bone

Mother Love Bone

So, I’ve been listening to Mother Love Bone (album title of the same name) lately. I think they are most commonly known as one of Seattle’s original grunge bands. That is how I perceived them growing up anyway. These are CD’s that I’ve owned for almost 20 years?? ..not sure. Somehow they traveled with me through all the changes that went on throughout my life. This album is packed with songs.. 17 on the main CD (some of them long songs) with a bonus CD of a few songs. The recording “style” is unlike today’s recordings and it is best listened to with the volume turned up. You just can’t grasp the effect otherwise. If you listen to them with the volume down, the recording sounds “treble-tinged” and a bit amateurish in my opinion. However, that stuff goes away once you crank it. The bass is deep and moving and you experience the full gamut of highs and lows, and the songs come alive.

It seems like I’ve pulled out these CD’s only on sporadic and rare occasions throughout my life. However, many of the songs have stuck with me and have indeed become a part of me. At the time I listened to them, I knew very little of just how instrumental (wow, an unexpected pun) they were to the formation of bands to come and the impact they had on many bands that followed them. It was more about me back then… I listened to the music that took me to the places I wanted to go… which some of the time wasn’t of the most healthy directions. Back then, exploring new music played a major role in my life. I felt a kinship with musicians and the music that they were playing. It took me places.. both physically and mentally. I had been in a couple rock bands myself. Though those bands never really went anywhere, I think I gained a glimpse into the lifestyle of the music culture of those days. Someday I may blog about some of that.. living in a one-room “flat” in Pheonix with 4 other band-mates and our P.A. equipment… :) or jamming with String Cheese Incident in a Telluride club, etc… but that is for another time. For now, what I really want to say is that perhaps I am lucky in a way that I was a bit removed from the scene. Many of these bands were plagued with serious issues.. including deaths of band members. Anyway, it occurs to me that I somehow made it through those years. Now, had I been in the Seattle area at that time, who knows.

It is only recently that I started learning more about Mother Love Bone’s impact on the music industry.  Since the information is out there on the web, such as on wikipedia. I won’t go into too much detail here. But here is a few interesting thoughts:

Mother Love Bone consisted of :

Andrew Wood (vocals), Bruce Fairweather (guitar), Jeff Ament (bass), and Stone Gossard (guitar) and Greg Gilmore (drums).

Andrew Wood died shortly before MLB was to release their debut album, Apple. They were expected to hit it big with that album, and his death had an impact on eager fans and fellow musician friends. Soon after his death, Chris Cornell of Sound Garden (Also roommate to Andrew Wood) approached Gossard and Ament with the idea of recording some songs as a tribute to Andrew. This idea turned into a band called Temple of the Dog (A reference from Wood’s lyrics), which included Mike McCready (lead guitarist), Matt Cameron (drums), and Eddie Vedder, all of whom later formed the more well known Pearl Jam.

Once you get going with the wiki information, you soon discover how intertwined these guys were…  Sound Garden, Guns-n-roses, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney, etc etc.. they all seem to be related by 1 common musician at one time or another. It appears Alice in Chains’ song titled ‘Would’ was a tribute to Andrew. There lead singer Layne Staley later met a similar fate as Andrew unfortunately.

I don’t claim to know everything about the history here, but it is interesting to me, having liked many of these bands growing up. There is a 2005 documentary of Andrew Wood apparently. It’s available on iTunes for $9.99. That will be my next step in learning more about Andrew and Mother Love Bone. It’s called: Malfunkshun: the Andrew Wood story.

Anyway, I’ll end this blog post with a suggestion. If you have iTunes, download the MLB song titled Stardog Champion (99¢). If you have a good car stereo, find a stretch of highway somewhere, and crank it up.

Keep it turning,

Donovan

EDIT Nov. 1st 2011:

PBS has came out with a great “rockumentary” on the Seattle (grunge) music scene. Check it out here:

http://kcts9.org/pearl-jam-twenty

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