Intrigue and Incest
Pearl Jam and the Secret History of Seattle (part 2)
by Jo-Ann Greene
Mother Love Bone
For the Lords of the Wasteland, everything was about to fall into place, as Greg Gilmore came walking up the street. He ran into Stone Gossard, who asked him if he wanted to come and jam with Jeff Ament, Bruce Fairweather, Andrew Wood and himself.
Intrigued, Gilmore agreed. Today, he describes Malfunkshun as a "psychedelic Kiss or Black Sabbath," adding that he remembers Andrew (and Hagar) from his days with 10 Minute Warning, "back when they were just little fans."
For now, Gilmore's role was merely to help the rest learn the songs. "I'd not played for so long, it was kind of weird dealing with it." More rehearsals followed over the next few days, until one afternoon after a practice, Regan Hagar showed up. Gilmore was totally unaware that Hagar had also been playing with the group, but sensed that something was wrong: "All of a sudden everyone got real quiet."
No one said a thing at the time, but eventually, Hagar learned the truth, as did Gilmore, who took virtually two months to realize he really was in the band.
Now, they just needed a name. One suggestion was the Dum Dum Boys, taken from an Iggy Pop song. But it was Andrew Wood who would come up with the clincher: Mother Love Bone. He then spent a week trying to convince the rest of the group.
By February 1988, the newly christened MLB was in Reciprocal studios, recording their first demo. The tracks included "Showdown," "Holy Roller," "Jumping Jehovah," "Lubricated Muscle Jive," "Capricorn Sister," "Half-Ass Monkey Boy," "One Time Fire," "Stargazer," "The Other Slide" and "Lady Godiva Blues."
Jeff Ament, acting as the band's manager, sent this first demo out to try to get some shows. One copy found its way to Mark Allen Productions, and landed on the desk of Kelly Curtis, a partner in the firm whose past management career included such local talents as Maurice and the Cliches.
Formerly in charge of Heart's fan club, Curtis had also worked as a tour manager for a time, and according to Gilmore, now offered his expertise gratis. (A particularly amusing error in the recently published Pearl Jam An Illustrated Biography, by Brad Morrell, gives Curtis a sex-change, repeatedly referring to him as a woman. This same book rechristens Greg Gilmore Gary Gilmore, scrupulously noting he is no relation "to the notorious murderer"!)
Shortly after Curtis's arrival, MLB returned to Reciprocal to record another demo. Much of this simply reprised the first: "Capricorn Sister," "Half-Ass Monkey Boy," "Lady Godiva Blues," "Holy Roller," "Stargazer" and "The Other Slide"; there were also five new songs: "Stardog Champion," Chloe Dancer," "Mind Shaker Meltdown," "Savoy Far Slide" and Elijah."
This demo, as well as cassettes combining songs from both sessions, were not only used to get more gigs, but were also sent around to record labels. Anna Statman, who Ament had met when she worked at Slash Records, but who was now at Geffen, was particularly impressed, so much so that she convinced the company to finance yet another MLB demo.
This third session took place in June 1988, and featured versions of "Half-Assed Monkey Boy," "Stargazer," "Holy Roller," "Stardog Champion," "Chloe Dancer," "Capricorn Sister" and one new track, "Time Fade Away."
In July, with Kelly Curtis in tow, MLB visited L.A. to meet with Geffen; returning home, they then invited Curtis to become their manager. At first, he wasn't interested, but the band finally got its way.
Now came the waiting. The meeting with Geffen had gone well; the label wanted to sign them, and the contract was meant to go off that week. So they waited, and waited and waited, all through the summer. Finally in September, MLB went back to Reciprocal and recorded yet another demo, debuting six new songs: "Bone China," "Captain Hightop," "Heartshine," "Crown Of Thorns," "Zanzibar" and "Red Hot Shaft."
Meanwhile, their telephones were ringing off the hook. Somehow, one of their demos had found its way to a host of other record companies. Gilmore says, "It took six months for a contract to arrive, and when it did, it was from another label entirely. When Geffen finally did make an offer, so had a lot of other labels."
"We loved the band so much that we actually bought the Stardog label to get them," was how PolyGram touted its new signing. In reality, the company Created Stardog specifically for the band, to give the EP that important "underground" feel.
In January 1989, MLB entered Seattle's London Bridge Studios to begin work on their debut Shine EP. Officially comprising six tracks, CD pressings of the EP are interesting in that they include a secret bonus track which doesn't index. After a lengthy break following "Capricorn Sister," the September 1988 demo version of "Zanzibar" appears. (One track from Shine was also lifted, posthumously, for the Singles movie soundtrack, "Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thorns.")
Shine's record release party was held March 20th at the Oxford Tavern in Seattle. For the event, PolyGram made special rawhide chewbones with GET BONED/ MOTHER LOVE BONE printed on them. About 75-100 of these very rare promotional items were sent out.
Another amusing item was the original MLB T-shirt. Using leftover Green River stock, the band superimposed Andrew Wood's head over Mark Arm's. (Nils Bernstein from Sub Pop adds this interesting insight: "Andy brought an even more glammy metal sound to the band; Mark was more the sarcastic punk while Andy was very tongue-in-cheek.")
Ten days later, MLB was at the Channel in Boston, the first date of a nationwide tour, opening for Dogs D'Amour. The outing would take them across the nation, and into Canada, before climaxing at Seattle's Oz on May 4th, where they headlined (Alice in Chains opened) to rave local reviews.
Gilmore recalls, "We played a lot of empty halls, because Dogs D'Amour didn't have much more of a draw than we did. The tour was a success on some levels, but commercially and financially it wasn't. It cost us a lot of money."
Still, numbers aren't everything, and one of Gilmore's favorite shows was in front of 10 people in Rockford, Illinois, a last-minute booking, replacing a canceled St. Louis gig. Even better, as far as Gilmore was concerned, were the two nights at the Club With No Name in L.A.
The first night, Dogs D'Amour, obviously fed up with Wood's onstage antics, positioned their equipment to ensure that he would be unable to move around as much as he normally did. Wood took his revenge the following evening. Using a wireless mike, not only did he take over the stage, he now had the entire club at his disposal. (A bootleg of an excellent show at Providence, Rhode Island on March 31 captures the excitement of Mother Love Bone live.)
Returning home, the waiting began anew. MLB had a long break from spring into the fall, relieved only by the occasional local gig. Gilmore couldn't believe "how painfully strung out the whole process seemed to be."
Finally, it was back to the studio, where MLB recorded a cover of Argent's "Hold Your Head Up." PolyGram was considering releasing a compilation featuring modern bands playing '70s covers. Sadly, the album never came to fruition, although MLB's contribution has recently appeared on a bootleg EP, backed with two live tracks, presumably taken from the Providence show.
MLB also re-recorded "Bone China" and "Holy Roller" with producer Davitt Siegerson. These tracks, too, remain tantalizingly unreleased.
Finally, in September, MLB started work on their debut album, Apple, at the Plant in Sausalito, California. Gilmore remembers finishing his contribution in five days, spending the next two months riding his mountain bike while the rest of the band continued slogging away in the studio.
Virtually everything the band recorded appeared on the album, including a rerecording of the Shine track, "Capricorn Sister." According to Gilmore, only one outtake exists: "Seasons Of Change."
"We did a couple of takes, but never finished it, because it was terrible," he says. Journalist Richard White adds that two loose instrumental tracks, "Smile And Lick It" and "Very Special Music," were also recorded, although strangely, Gilmore has no recollection of either.
Apple was completed at the London Bridge Studios in Seattle around November, although a final remix would take place in London, England, without the band. And now they would have to wait some more, as PolyGram felt that a spring release date was more appropriate for a new act.
In the meantime, a video was produced for "Stardog Champion," directed by Josh Taft, at a cost of $70,000. It was not an experience Gilmore relished. "There was some live footage involving children looking disenfranchised, but the thing that really iced the cake was this little animated Stardog that leapt from one side of the screen to the other, leaving behind a rainbow arc. It was a joke. But the joke was on us, because we had to pay for it!"
With the band on another unwelcome hiatus, Wood once again checked into a drug rehab program. For him, November and December 1989 were spent trying to come to grips with his problem. He returned home with even more creative energy than ever, and threw himself back into his music.
Wood's constant writing and taping had continued unabated throughout MLB. In fact, he had been discussing a solo project with PolyGram, which had expressed interest. Brother Kevin remembers, "Working with his emulator, he was putting together his own songs, quite a bit apart from the rock thing. Stone and Bruce also did some work with him, and Andy and I were working on the pre-production phase."
By March 1990, the band was eagerly awaiting the imminent release of Apple. One final show was scheduled at the Central, before the record release party. Gilmore has one lasting recollection of that night. "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!"
On Thursday, March 15th, Wood did an interview with Seattle journalist Michael Browning. Reading it today, there's not a hint that anything was wrong. One gets the impression, as Wood talks about his drug problem, that for the moment he had it licked. No one expected the moment to be just that.
The following evening, 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. Wood was 24.
On March 24, 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."
Another, less than legitimate, tribute appeared later in the year, a Melvins/Malfunkshun bootleg single which claimed to be a Special Melvins Fan Club/Andrew Wood Memorial Edition. Pressed on both black and yellow vinyl, the single featured Malfunkshun's two Deep Six contributions, plus four Melvins tracks. Packaged in a box, the release also included a condom, a pair of earplugs, a fold-out poster of the cover and, displaying an alarming lack of taste, a bag of white powder (either baking soda or sugar).
In the chaotic days following Wood's death, PolyGram proved itself to be a corporation with a heart. It gave the band time to think things through, as Gilmore remembers. "PolyGram was pretty cool; they sat back and asked us what we wanted to do."
The easiest decision was the fate of Apple. There was no question here: 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 finally appeared later that same year.
But what of the band itself? Rumors have circulated in Seattle that Ament wanted to recruit a new singer and go out on the planned tour, a scenario which outraged many local onlookers. In actual fact, it was Gilmore who wanted to continue.
This is not as heartless as some people think it sounds, Gilmore envisioned recruiting a new singer, recording some new songs, and including them on the album —one has to remember that at the time, MLB was virtually unknown outside of the Seattle area. The rest of the world had neither heard them, nor heard of them. Gilmore saw it as a fresh start.
But it was not to be. When 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."
Why this latter track was picked remains a mystery: "Hold Your Head Up," or the Siegerson session would have been of far more value. Gilmore himself was horrified: "What a dog!"
"Everything Soundgarden didn't want to be!" is how Gilmore laughingly sums up MLB. Then continuing on a more serious note, "Mother Love Bone was definitely groove conscious. Live, though, we were inconsistent. On a good night we could be just incredible."
Kelly Curtis echoes this sentiment. "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."
Chris Friel, on the other hand, had no doubts, "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."
Kevin Wood adds, "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."
Other people, of course, automatically compared MLB to Matfunkshun. Ben Sheppard states, "Mother Love Bone was a little more refined and their guitarists were a little more structured."
Matt Cameron adds, "It wasn't as good or as appealing as Malfunkshun. Live, it just seemed kind of standard." Other critics complain that Wood was far more flamboyant in Malfunkshun.
Finally, there were some people who really didn't like MLB at all. Steve Turner delicately opines, "I was a lot happier when Pearl Jam got going." Sub Pop's Jonathan Poneman is equally candid: "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." But then given more time, maybe both would have come around, just as Poneman finally did with Green River.
The latest addition to the MLB discography has been the 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, as well as interviews with the band members.
Bootleggers have also been busy in the band's name. A recent trip to New York unearthed a cassette titled Live In Seattle, recorded during June 1989, and a CD single featuring what appeared to be a demo recording of "This Is Shangri-La." The most exciting news, however, comes courtesy of the July issue of ICE magazine, where it was reported that the Italian label MGR is planning an Andrew Wood compilation, including Malfunkshun and MLB demos, plus several of Wood's home demos.
Following Mother Love Bone's untimely demise, Bruce Fairweather took a job at a photo lab, returning to music with Blind Horse (the name was inspired by the play Equus), a band started by vocalist Chris Tilden, and including bassist Mark Patterson and drummer Richard Stuverud.
Jonathan Poneman caught some early Blind Horse shows. "The first couple of times I saw them they were mind-blowing, and I was very interested in working with them [at Sub Pop]. They were akin to Black Crowes, but it wasn't 'Lead Singer Rock.' It had a very rootsy Rory Gallagher / Stones/ Humble Pie vibe. But they did it so effortlessly, so unpretentiously at first."
It wasn't long before Blind Horse was recording a demo; soon after, however, Stuverud left. Greg Gilmore remembers, "I was around when Blind Horse was being formed: I went and jammed a bit, but I was not moved at all. But then I saw them a few months later, and they were alright. A lot more time passed and when I saw them at RCKNDY, they were taking on a whole direction, making noise and creating chaos, a Stones kind of thing which I saw could be heavier, darker."
Gilmore promptly joined the band, but it was not to last. The Sub Pop deal fell through, and Gilmore played no more than five shows with Blind Horse before both he and Fairweather quit. Tilden followed, moving on to Native Messiah, with future Fire Ants bassist Dan McDonald. (Tilden would later audition for the Fire Ants.)
Only one Blind Horse recording would ever be released; "Black Sun" crops up on the Young And The Restless compilation album, released in 1991 by the Art Institute of Seattle's music department's own 3:23 label (323001). A limited edition of 1,000 CDs, the album also features the Monomen, Slam Suzanne, Slobberpocket, Damn Bam, and Inspector Luv and the Ride-Me Babies, who grabbed another piece of history when they headlined over the future Pearl Jam, at that band's first-ever gig.
Fairweather, meanwhile, would eventually make his way into Love Battery (the band's name comes from a Buzzcocks' song), But instead of playing his usual guitar, he was brought in to replace bassist Jim Tillman. (Strangely enough, Tillman left because he wanted to play guitar.) Battery's drummer, Jason Finn, of course. was a founding member of Skin Yard, and was introduced to Battery guitarist Kevin Whitworth by Daniel House. The band—which The Rocket describes as "a pop-punk-psychedelic monster", also includes guitarist and singer Ron Nine, ex-Room Nine (a band best remembered as the winner of MTV's first Basement Tapes competition.)
By the time Fairweather signed on, in early 1992, Love Battery already had a sizable back catalog, including the Dayglo album (Sub Pop SP 131). A second album, Far Gone (Sub Pop SP208), has recently been released, and does feature Bruce Fairweather. "Love Battery," says Poneman, "are very guitar heavy, but very listener friendly. They write durable, memorable songs, with a '90s pop psychedelia feel, definitely containing a strong element of '60s influences."
Greg Gilmore, meanwhile, was cutting a swath through the Seattle scene, playing with so many people and bands that he would swiftly earn the title of "Seattle's premier pick-up drummer." As Ben Sheppard confirms, "Greg Gilmore is a goddamn good drummer, but nobody's discovered him yet." Prior to joining Blind Horse, Gilmore worked briefly with Shawn Smith, a local talent who had previously kept away from the incestuous band scene, preferring to write and play at home. CBS's Guy Ekstein was impressed, and arranged a session in L.A., with Smith accompanied by Gilmore, Paul Hinckland (from Son of Man and Sadhappy) and Pete Droge. Their efforts were in vain; according to Gilmore, the session was ruined by "Guy and his L.A. coke-head engineer. "
(Peter Droge is another big name around Seattle. mining a singer/songwriting vein. Mike McCready is a big fan and occasionally jammed with him onstage.)
To recover from such experiences, Gilmore left for another exotic vacation, traveling around Mexico and Central America; returned to Seattle for his stint with Blind Horse; then joined Crack Jockey, a trio comprising himself, Jack Endino and Stuart Dolquist (of the Hungry Crocodiles, and brother of Mike Dolquist, now a member of Silkworm, three of whom were in the Missoula-based Ein Heit, alongside Deranged Diction's Tom Kipp).
Crack Jockey played one gig, comprising one 45-minute improvised song, at the OK Hotel before Gilmore started working with El Steiner (real name: Larry Steiner) in a group that also included Shadow's Friel brothers, Chris and Rick, Michael Wenke and Michael Foste (now in Easy with the Friels), with a rotating series of guitarists. "'It was free love music," is Gilmore's glib description.
Also known for his starring roles in both MLB's "Stardog Champion" and Pearl Jam's "Alive" videos, Steiner, according to Chris Friel, "is just this crazy person, who puts musicians in front of him, and lets them go wild."
Gilmore adds, "It's not just another Naked Guy on Stage story." Or is it? "One night he was playing in a rug diaper, which promptly fell off during the first song. He continued the show naked. This was at the OK Hotel at an all ages show."
Gilmore later helped record an El Steiner demo. He also linked up with Brian Fox (with whom he had briefly worked years before), in Chubby Children (the band folded in late '92). Along the way, he briefly replaced Chris Friel in Kristan Barry's band, and played some shows with local talent Rick De Church.
On February 2nd, 1993, Gilmore joined Son of Man. The band had been around since the days of MLB, surviving a house fire which destroyed all their gear in the spring of 1990, and a resultant two-year split. The group re-formed in the fall of 1992; typically, within the twisted Seattle scene, Gilmore replaced Dave Krusen.
Shadow—Enter Mike McCready
There was no question in Jeff Ament's and Stone Gossard's mind that they would continue playing together following Andrew Wood's death; it was just a matter of when and with whom. While waiting for the answer, Gossard spent the summer playing guitar with an old friend, Mike McCready. Like Gossard, McCready was a big Kiss fan; Chris Friel remembers that the day he met McCready, they watched Kiss take off their make-up live on MTV, Friel was a big Kiss fan too.
McCready's first band was Warrior, which formed somewhere around 1978-79. Originally a four-piece, the band also included Chris Friel and his brother Rick, and vocalist Danny Newcombe. Chris, a few years younger than the rest. was eight or nine at the time. Inevitably, the band played lots of Kiss covers: "Black Diamond," "Come On And Love Me" and "Cocaine," to name but three.
"We tried to write originals, but how do you write lyrics that young?" Chris asks.
Sometime around 1982-83, Warrior became Shadow, and the foursome was augmented by Rob Weber. "We were a good band, I was really proud of it," says Chris. "We were hard rock, but we had pop chords. We hated hardcore! Our look was somewhere between braces and spandex. To us, Kiss was everything. Mike was the tongue (as in Kiss's Gene Simmons); at rehearsals he would stick out his tongue and run around naked."
Mark Arm compares Shadow to early Def Leppard in that "they were really, really young. (The Rocket called them "Seattle's Menudo.") Their big thing was hoping to get signed, like Def Leppard were, at an early age. Stoney used to hang out with that scene as well; it wasn't really metal, it was like '80s pop-psychedelic-metal. not trying to be like Van Halen, trying to be like Quiet Riot."
Dave Krusen's only recollection of Shadow was their old promo picture. What struck him was the Band's make-up and outfits. "Elvis Costello meets Menudo in slick, new wave outfits!"
Although Stone Gossard was indeed hanging out with the band during the early 1980s, Chris points out, "It was as a friend, not necessarily as a fan. At that point, he was learning how to play guitar. He was learning
'Dr. Love' by Kiss; that was the first song I ever heard him play!"
Early on, Shadow mostly played roller rinks, aiming for the all-ages crowd. That changed in October 1984, when the Moore Theatre hosted a Headbanger's Ball, with a bill that included Culprit, Overlord and Shadow. Suddenly, Shadow found themselves opening in front of a packed house, and received an amazing response.
The following year, Halloween 1985, on a bill with TKO and Metal Church, Shadow was booed for not being heavy metal. Still, says Chris, "It was the pinnacle for us."
It was also the end of an era. Newcombe and Weber left following the second Headbanger's Ball, and Rick Friel took over the vocals. (Newcombe would rejoin briefly, before leaving for good.) On New Year's Eve, 1985, Shadow officially became a three-piece.
By this time, Shadow had moved onto the bar circuit, and found themselves opening for Green River at Gorilla Garden, noting good-naturedly that Gossard seemed finally to have come to grips with "Dr. Love."
Between 1983 and 1986 Shadow made four visits to the Kay Smith studio (now the Heart sisters' Bad Animals complex) to record demos. The first comprised four songs (Chris's comments are included): "Shadow" ("pretty great song"), "Don't Count The Tears" ("definitely our song"), "City Lights" ("pretty stupid") and "Gates Close On Me" ("another ridiculous song").
The second session was intended as an EP, but it was not to be. The group members were such perfectionists that they were never satisfied, and as they intended releasing the record themselves. Tracks included "Everyday," "Don't Count The Tears," "Just A Thought," "Blind Lead The Blind" ("a real heavy metal song") and the proposed title track, "The Kids."
The third session was done after Shadow became a three-piece, and featured "Don't Count The Tears," "Message Of Love," "Between 19" and "Running Straight Ahead"; the band's final studio stint produced "Love You So," "Don't Say Goodnight" ("a really awful song"), "Crash It Down" and "Life Goes On."
As a three-piece Shadow gained a harder edge, adding an infusion of energy and thrash. "Previously," Chris explains, "we'd been into being super tight. We'd practice at my mom and dad's five or six times a week, driving the neighbors crazy. As a three-piece we were having fun, and we definitely were not as perfect."
Visually, they were exhibiting an equally precocious, side. Shadow's original glammy look had now been replaced by "T-shirts, scarves and [orthodontic] braces," according to Chris, while Mike McCready had created a new stage act, bringing baby dolls on stage and smashing them. They were still heavily influenced by Hanoi Rocks, albeit with a heavier and funkier feel, directly attributable to local bands like Green River and U-Men.
A classic pose was captured in a Rocket T-shirt ad, in February 1986; Chris chews his brother's bead necklace, Rick looks provocatively at the camera, while McCready shrugs off his denim jacket, his expression evoking a startled rabbit.
Shortly after the completion of their fourth demo, Shadow relocated to L.A. At the time, they thought it would help their career; they secured a manager, and it seemed they were heading for the big time.
"Our sound and attitude was so different from everything else going on down there," Chris relates, " we really thought we'd make our mark. But we'd tell people we were from Seattle, and they'd say, 'Where's that? Is that an Indian village or something?"'
It wasn't long before the band's finances started running low. And without money, they couldn't practice. The end result was they weren't writing any music, although they did keep playing shows. Shadow's biggest gig was opening for Andy Taylor (ex-Duran Duran) at Fenders. "We got a really bad review from L.A. Weekly." Chris remembers. 'These guys are from Seattle...' They had this whole angle: 'Maybe a couple more shows down here and they'll get with it."'
Still, Shadow struggled on. They continued playing around town, including the Whisky, and their audience slowly began building. The band was having fun; the only thing missing was Danny Newcombe. They finally convinced him to come down and visit, but he hated L.A. so much that he refused to stay ... even though the band begged him.
Shadow stuck it out in L.A. for 13 months. They returned to Seattle in 1988, and resumed playing the local scene. Rick Friel then decided that he'd like to switch to guitar, and bring in a new bassist, an idea that left McCready cold. In fact, McCready was left cold by everything now; L.A. had totally burned him out on music. Less than six months after returning home, he left the band, at which point Shadow ceased to be. (The original five-piece reconvened for a reunion gig at Scattle's Hollywood Underground later that year.)
The split was more than amicable, says Chris. "Mike gave Rick one of his old, custom guitars. 'I can't do it anymore, you guys still have the energy, go for it."'
The Friels' next project was Jangle Town, formed in 1989, with Russ Reidner and Geoff Cooper. Chris describes them as "twangy, jangly rock with an edge. We had that Black Croweish kind of feel before the Crowes, but it was kind of poppy, more Stonesy." During this period, Chris also played with Kristin Barry, and recorded demos with her. Upon his departure, Greg Gilmore would take his place. (Barry later landed an Epic development deal through Michael Goldstone, who also signed Pearl Jam.)
In 1990, the OK Hotel staged a second full-fledged Shadow reunion, following a Jangle Town show. It was so successful that the band was requested to do a third reunion this April, opening for TKO. This time they said no. Besides the fact that McCready was currently off recording the new Pearl Jam album, for Chris, "it just didn't feel right."
From Jangle Town, the Friels, along with Michael Foster (who also played with El Stien, and had been in a late version of Jangle Town) and William Mueller, formed Easy, in 1992. Already one of the most exciting live acts on the current Seattle scene, Easy have recently completed a ten track demo album.
Tracing these musicians on vinyl is not easy. Shadow, sadly, never released anything, although Rick Friel reports that Mike McCready recently encountered a Shadow bootleg in San Francisco, apparently drawn from an early demo.
Six Shadow tracks can also be found on a two-cassette package, The Power Of Things, released privately by Alex Kostelnik, a friend and avid fan of the band. Shadow's contributions, two of which are titled "Untitled," were taped at various rehearsals in early 1984, and Kostelnik's liner notes wryly remark that, "Mike [McCready] is now on MTV with the old Mother Love Bone, but we still like to make light of his guitar antics. I don't think he minds, though."
Released in 1991, The Power Of Things was a limited edition, originally given to band members and Kostelnik's friends. A copy obtained by this writer is numbered #2029, but Rick Friel, for one, doubts that anywhere near that number was produced. In fact, he couldn't even believe that a copy had turned up. "That's a real collector's item," he said.
Chris Friel, meanwhile, can also be found on a couple of releases by the Squirrels' Joey Klein. Klein, who Friel describes as "a mellow singer-songwriter," cut a demo, from which the single "Stuck In First Gear" / "Making Wishes" (Pop Llama, PL57, 1992) was released. The pair is also on a local tribute album to coffee (before grunge, it was all Seattle was known for), Hey Joe. Chris can be heard on the aptly titled "Gotta Brew Another Pot" (Carving Knife, CKR 002, 1992).
Temple Of The Dog
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 (who is now in the Cheap Ones, alongside former Shadow Danny Newcombe), 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: "Muddy Waters meets Jane's Addiction," as Chris Friel puts it.
Love Chile only played two shows, both times supporting Jangle Town. One was at the OK Hotel, and Chris remembers Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament both being there. "That was the night," he recalls, "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."
Gossard and McCready started working together almost immediately; 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.
It was during this lazy summer of 1990 that Matt Cameron reentered the picture, along with fellow Soundgarden member Chris Cornell.Cornell had been a close friend and former roommate of Andrew Wood. As a release from his grief, Cornell penned two songs in tribute to Wood, "Say Hello 2 Heaven" and "Reach Down," envisioning them as a single. He enlisted Cameron, Ament, Gossard and McCready to help with pre-production, and slowly the single began growing into an album. It was not quite a tribute, but it was certainly inspired by Andy.
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 Gossard, Ament and 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," would find their way onto the Cornell project, now dubbed Temple Of The Dog, after a lyric in Mother Love Bone's "Man Of Golden Words." (At least two others, including "Alone," were apparently shortlisted for the second Pearl Jam album.)
As Cameron explains it, "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."
The Temple project was still underway when with their own demo now cornplete, Ament, Gossard and McCready began an active search for a singer and drummer. There was just one small problem: 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. According to Gilmore, "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." Once free, the pair and McCready signed with Epic.
For once, Gossard and Ament were to look outside the incestuous Seattle scene to make up the numbers, contacting someone they had no personal connection with. One of the people considered was drummer Jack Irons.
The former Red Hot Chili Pepper was certainly a talent worthy of consideration. The day they came knocking on his door, however, Irons was out, but his wife invited them in. She was given a tape with five songs ("Alone," "Once," Alive," "Black" and "Times Of Trouble"), and passed on the message, "Give it a listen; if you like it, call and see if you want to come up to Seattle for a little bit. Or if you know any singers, pass it on.
By now, of course, Irons was involved with his own band, Eleven, and had no interest in leaving. But he did have a friend, a singer that might be interested, Eddie Vedder.
Vedder and Irons met back in the autumn of 1989 at the Bacchanal in San Diego, when Irons was touring with Joe Strummer's band. A devout Strummer fan, Vedder was backstage, and was equally keen to meet the Peppers' former drummer. A friendship quickly formed, and Vedder would go up to L.A. once a week to play basketball with Irons.
And so Irons passed on the tape, telling Vedder, "These guys have been around, they were members of MLB. It looks like they've got a deal going, it's a serious thing, so see if there's something there for you."
Vedder took the tape home and listened to it. And there was indeed something there for him, so much so that he immediately started writing lyrics for the music (the demo had none), dubbed them onto the tape mixed it down and mailed it back.
This exchange occurred shortly before Irons left on tour with Redd Kross (coincidentally, a slot which Chris Friel had jus rejected). When he returned three month later, Vedder was already in Seattle.
Back in the Emerald City, McCready played Vedder's tape to Friel, and asked hit what he thought. "I said it was great. I told him I could hear this guy on FM radio, that he was definitely a great singer."
Originally from Chicago, Eddie Vedder family moved to Evanston, a town north the city, where they fostered seven younger children in a group home. Eventually, the family moved to San Diego, and it was there that Vedder bought his first guitar at 13 or 14. Once out of school, his life revolved around two things: surfing and music. At night he worked at a local club, and when wasn't working or surfing, his time was spent playing in a succession of local bands, including Bad Radio, Surf and Destroy, the Butts, and Indian Style.
The latter three bands faded into obscurity with no recorded history. Bad Radio however, did produce a demo between 1988-89, featuring four songs: "What," "Believe You Me," "Answer" and a live "Better Man." Vedder, who took over the managerial work for the group, shopped the tape around (this has now reportedly materialized on bootleg).
One of those tapes was sent to Marco Collins, now the music director at Seattle's KNDD, but back then DJing a local music show on 91X, out of Mexico. "The first time I met Eddie was in Seattle when he came into the studio. But he used to call and bug me to play his tapes back at 91X all the time. He told me, 'You were the first person to play my voice on the air. I even remember what you said about us, you said we were pretty thumping stuff, man."
Listening to the demo today, Collins remarks, "It sounds very Pearl Jammish; in fact, there's a tune on this tape that is very reminiscent of 'Even Flow' ('Answer'). They kind of have that Chili Peps thing going also." Hearing it, it indeed sounds as if Gossard and Vedder had joined the Peppers.
"Eddie was a contemporary of the heavy rock-funk type of thing," Jack Irons agrees. "He was very serious about making music; he was just younger at doing it. He got to the big leagues really fast." Today, Bad Radio would have been signed in a second; back then, record companies weren't interested in the San Diego sound. Vedder would have to come to Seattle to realize his dream.
Vedder arrived in Seattle to find Cornell, Cameron, McCready, Ament, Gossard and producer/keyboard player Rick Parashar preparing to record what became the Temple Of The Dog album.
Cameron explains what happened next: "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." Vedder eventually took lead vocals on one track, "Hunger Strike," and contributed backing to three more.
Temple Of The Dog was recorded over a few weekends in November-December 1990, and was released on Soundgarden's label, A&M, in April 1991. The "band" itself played only one live show, at the Off Ramp in Seattle; it also convened for a video, shot to accompany the album's first single, "Hunger Strike."
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.
The Last Piece Of The Jigsaw
With Vedder now filling their vacant vocalist position, Gossard, Ament and McCready 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 Gossard and Ament from the days of MLB, 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. Two weeks later, he was asked to join the band.
Although he'd been playing locally since 1979, Krusen was a bit of unknown. Even Greg Gilmore, who seems to have played with every musician in town, didn't know him —at least, not at first. "Long ago, I did a gig at a high school, and there was this band of little kids, who opened. Their drummer was this little tiny guy — it was Dave!"
Krusen joined his first band, Outrigger, in 1979, when he was 13 or 14, The four-piece, like Greg Gilmore, hailed from Gig Harbor, and also included Tal Goettling, singer John Lester, and guitarist Dave Bowe. Playing straightforward rock 'n' roll, Outrigger performed mainly at high school dances and parties, and survived until 1981, folding when Bowe quit.
Krusen then enjoyed a brief stint in the Boibs, before joining Agent Boy with Gilmore's old (Eternity) hand mate, guitarist Paul Jackson (later of Bloodgood), keyboardist Shawn Kemp, singer Todd Stovall and bassist Regan Balmen. The band played what Krusen describes as "keyboard rock, progressive dance music." Kevo X Thomson provided keyboard sequencing.
With a repertoire which was half originals, half covers, Agent Boy received help from Steve Miller's personal assistant, Rick Fisher. He accompanied them to Rick Parashar's studio to record a demo comprising "B.O.Y.," "Beating Drum," "Prisoner" and "Stay With Me." Unfortunately, nothing happened with the tape, leaving Krusen so frustrated that he quit the band in 1985.
From here, Krusen would go on to play with a variety of people, beginning with Gary Willian, who played "straight ahead rock with a bluesy AC-DC feel." Tramps of Panic, a Tacoma band in a similar hard rock vein followed.
In 1988, Kevo Thomson's current band, the witty pop purists Liar's Club, invited Krusen to help out on two tracks from the EP Where Sinners Meet (Charlatan 41): "Where Sinners Meet" and "Suspicion," songs which Thomson describes as "Ultra-vox meets Oingo Boingo."
Krusen then joined Tal Goettling in the studio, to help record some of Goettling's solo material. The following year found him playing Top 40 hits with Hard Time, a job which lasted about six months. He then returned to Goettting, before linking up with hard rockers Warm Drive (with Johnny Clint, whose last band, HHour, featured alongside Malfunkshun and Green River on Another Pyrrhic Victory).
Krusen joined Ament, Gossard, Vedder and McCready during the fall of 1990, a mere week before the band played its first gig, opening for Inspector Luv and the Ride Me Babies (now Green Apple Quickstep) at Seattle's Off Ramp. The set comprised original songs only, and included "Alive," "Even Flow" and "Black," plus a number of others which remain unrecorded. Shortly after, in November 1990, the group recorded their first demo tape at London Bridge with Rick Parashar.
The band was currently calling itself Mookie Blaylock, after the famed New Jersey Nets guard (another name bandied about was Mang), and it was in this guise that the band embarked on a two-week west coast tour, opening for Alice in Chains. The itinerary took them from Vancouver to San Diego, and all points in between.
Blaylock may have felt privileged to have a band name itself after him, but it was going to lead to problems. He intended accepting sponsorships, and therefore had copyrighted his name. Mookie Blaylock the band was no more; Pearl Jam was born.
The origin of the name is shrouded in mystery, with several possible explanations, the most popular involving Vedder's Native American grandmother, Pearl, and her home-made peyote jam.
Following the Alice tour, Pearl Jam recorded a second demo at London Bridge with Parashar again in tow. Epic swiftly released three of the tracks—"Alive," "Wash," and a cover of the Beatles"'I Got A Feeling" — as a very limited promotional single.
This original release (Epic ZSK 4041) should not be confused with the lead song's subsequent appearances, and is today an expensive addition to the Pearl Jam collection. The individual tracks have, however, been made available on a variety of foreign releases: "I Got A Feeling" is included on Japanese pressings of Ten, for instance; "Wash" appears on 12-inch and CD pressings of the re-recorded "Alive" single in the U.K., and also as a bonus cut on several European Ten CDs.
Between December 1990 and February 1991, the band spent its time writing new songs, playing local shows and rehearsing. Gigs included two performances at the O.K. Hotel and three at the Off-Ramp. Two of these, incidentally, featured Ament's Luv Company as the opening act.
On March 11, 1991, Pearl Jam entered the studio to start recording what would become their debut album, Ten. (Dave Krusen's son, Micky, was born the following day.) It took a mere month to record the album, as most of the songs included were already written, the band, did jam some new material during the sessions. After a few weeks off in April (at which point the Temple Of The Dog album was released by A&M), Pearl Jam returned to the Off-Ramp in mid-May.
During this time, Seattle was bathing in the spotlight as the location of Cameron Crowe's movie Singles, with many Seattle residents landing bit parts in the film. Others would have a greater role, and then there were some, like Mike McCready and Dave Krusen, who virtually missed the boat altogether.
Pearl Jam met one of the movie's stars, Matt Dillon, and that night, Gossard, Ament and Vedder went partying with him. McCready and Krusen, unfortunately, had prior arrangements. The next day they learned that the partying had doubled its an audition for the movie's fictional band, Citizen Dick (led by Dillon), and that they were not included. Still, Krusen's drum kit would star in the film, with Vedder sitting behind it! Krusen eventually appeared in a crowd scene during an Alice in Chains performance.
Matt Dillon, accustomed to being the star of his films, was a little uncertain about Singles at first. "'Then I met Pearl Jam," he told Entertainment Weekly, 'and that sold me. I thought, okay, I know where I'm goin'. These guys are cool."
Dillon needed to work hard on his role as a pivotal member of the grunge scene. His normally short hair was covered with a long, lank wig, and as for the clothes, well, they were the real thing, courtesy of Jeff Ament. The two were the same size, and Dillon felt they gave him a more realistic look. Ament's bedroom was also the inspiration behind Dillon's in the movie.
On May 25th, 1991, the company held a wrap party at RKCNDY, to celebrate the end of filming. Entertainment was provided by Pearl Jam; it was the last gig Krusen would perform with them. According to Krusen himself, he was suffering personal problems at the time, and knew he needed help. Immediately after the party, he checked himself into rehab. The timing couldn't have been worse.
The band was scheduled to leave for England in June, to mix Ten at Ridge Farm Studios in Dorking. They also had a video to shoot (again at RKCNDY), to accompany "Alive." Texas-born Matt Chamberlain, whose past credits included the second Edie Brickell album, Ghost Of The Dog, was brought in to fill Krusen's place. (Pearl Jam knew of Chamberlain through his work with Brickell, as well as through mutual friends.) Although he would not accompany the band to England, he would appear in the video.
Chamberlain was at a crossroads; he'd also had an offer to join Saturday Night Live's studio band. After just a few weeks with Pearl Jam, he decided to go with G.E. Smith. In his stead, he offered Dave Abbruzzese, an old friend from Dallas whose last band had been the immortally-titled Dr. Tongue.
Abbruzzese arrived in Seattle four days before Pearl Jam played Seattle's Mural Amphitheatre on August 3, 1991. With a crowd of 4,000 out front, he was quickly broken in.
(Dave Krusen meanwhile, had come out of rehab, and by late summer was again working with his old friend Tal Goettling, in the band Purple Decade. Krusen describes them as a "basic rock 'n' roll band," and in early 1992, the group made a demo with Matt McClinton and Tim Bethune. A second demo followed that summer, before Krusen and Goettling quit that fall.)
In September, they joined the re-formed Son of Man; Krusen remained in the band long enough to record two demos, in December and January, with producer Rick Hinklin. Upon his departure in February 1993, he was replaced by Greg Gilmore.
Ten was finally released in the U.S. in September 1991. It would take nearly 20 weeks to break into the Top 200, but once there, there was no stopping it. It has since gone multi-platinum, and spawned a number of foreign collectibles, several of which, as already noted, boast bonus tracks, drawn from the first promotional CDs.
In addition to these aforementioned releases, the regular 11-track Ten was also issued in Britain as a picture disc, and separately, with a limited silk-screened sleeve. More recently, it has appeared on the controversial mini-disc format.
Domestically, Epic has been less generous to collectors, offering only a basketball picture disc, released in the U.S. just in time for Christmas 1991. They surely made amends, however, with a Pearl Jam promotional doormat, which was even supplied with its own catalog number (Epic D 47857).
A club tour was scheduled to coincide with the release of Ten, but plans changed dramatically when Pearl Jam were instead booked to appear on the Red Hot Chili Peppers' BloodSugarSexMagik tour. The tour opened at Michigan State University on October 22, 1991, with Pearl Jam third on the bill, behind the Peppers and, incredibly, Smashing Pumpkins. Tour highlights included a semi -acoustic show, alongside the Peppers, at Tower Records in Rockville, Maryland, compensating fans for the cancellation of a scheduled Pearl Jam show at the 9:30 club in Washington, D.C. (The full package also played the Bender Arena.)
The Pumpkins left the tour in early December, and the last few shows featured Nirvana in their stead. Like Pearl Jam, whose debut album had by now entered the chart, Nirvana was rapidly outgrowing a support slot. Their album Nevermind was already poised for the #1 position, and rather than face a home crowd from such a lowly billing (the tour was scheduled to end with shows in Seattle and Vancouver), Nirvana jumped ship following the January 2nd, 1992, show in Salem, Oregon. Pearl Jam followed, and entered the new year in local triumph.
Christmas 1991 brought another special treat for Pearl Jam's growing support, a special fan club-only single coupling two brand new songs, "Let Me Sleep (Christmas Time)" with "Rambling." The first installment in what the band now seem to be establishing as a festive tradition, just 1,500 copies were pressed, and the continued unavailability of "Rambling," at least, seems certain to ensure there will always be a high demand for the release. "Let Me Sleep" has subsequently surfaced on Westwood One's Rarities On CD Volume 12, A Holiday Happening.
Pearl Jam returned to the studio around this time to cut their contributions to the Singles soundtrack, "Breathe" and "State Of Love And Trust." They also took the opportunity to rerecord one of Ten's more popular tracks, "Even Flow," for a European single, and also cut two new songs, "Dirty Frank" and "Yellow Ledbetter." These tracks, too, would see single release; "Dirty Frank" would also be added to the U.K., Dutch and German CD digipack Ten.
Pearl Jam spent much of 1992 on the road, sustaining interest not only with the continued high performance of Ten (and, in its wake, both Temple Of The Dog and the Mother Love Bone compilation), but also with a string of radio hits.
According to Kelly Curtis, there have been no official Pearl Jam singles released commercially in the U.S. However, both promotional and imported CD5s are readily available, each boasting a number of collectible variations, and otherwise unavailable B-sides.
The basic releases were the album version of "Alive," "Jeremy," the re-recorded "Even Flow" and "Oceans." However, as is so often the case, things are nowhere near as simple as they sound, even if one concentrates on U.S. promotional releases only.
"Alive," for instance, appeared as both a regular promotional CD, clocking in at 5:41, and in a limited edition with a silk-screened sleeve. "Jeremy" followed, first as a single track promo (with insert), and then with a studio version of "Alive" on the B-side. A strictly limited edition, this single was apparently deleted after just one day, prompting prices for the release to skyrocket correspondingly with Pearl Jam's profile.
Finally, "Even Flow" was released as a three-track edition, featuring a 4:58 radio edit, a full-length remix, and "Dirty Frank." (There was no U.S. pressing of "Oceans.")
So far, so good. Look toward Britain, however, and "Alive" appears in a further five variations: a 7-inch (b/w "Once"), in both black and white vinyl; a flip-top cassette; a 12-inch with a bonus track, "Wash," and a poster sleeve; and a CD picture disc (also including "Once" and "Wash"). There are, in addition, two collectible CD packages; a cardboard sleeve with band photographs, and a non-photographic jewel box.
The second U.K. single was the re-recorded "Even Flow," backed by a remixed "Oceans." This was released as a black vinyl 7-inch, a white vinyl 12-inch, and, once again, a cassette and a CD5. The bonus cut on the 12-inch and CD5 was again "Dirty Frank"; the corresponding Japanese release, however, omits "Oceans" in favor of both "Alive" and "Wash."
"Jeremy," the third European single, introduced another exclusive B-side, a live version of "Alive," recorded in Seattle at Dave Abbruzzese's concert debut (this also appears on the U.K., Dutch and German CD digipacks of Ten). This again appeared as both a black and white vinyl 7-inch and cassette single, and as a 12-inch picture disc with a second live track, an acoustic version of "Footsteps " recorded in Roskilde, Norway, on May 1lth. The CD5 and CD picture disc, meanwhile, dropped "Footsteps" in favor of the studio track, "Yellow Ledbetter."
These multiple releases, while popular with U.K. collectors, have nevertheless generated a great deal of controversy in recent months, chiefly from retailers who fear that they are somehow "cheapening" the U.K. chart. Once, it is argued, a Top 30 single could be expected to enjoy a shelf life of six weeks or more. Today, new releases tend to debut high, then plummet fast, a process which "Jeremy" illustrates quite dramatically. Entering the chart at #15, "Jeremy" fell to #21 the following week, and left the listing the week after.
Released in February this year, CD5s of Europe's fourth and final Ten single, "Oceans," introduced three new live tracks to Pearl Jam's discography. "Why Go," "Alive" and "Deep" were recorded at the Dutch Pink Pop Festival during the summer of 1992. The regular CD5 release was accompanied by a limited-edition picture disc (3,000 copies), presented in a gatefold sleeve.
Individually, these singles are now climbing in price at a spectacular rate. Collectors can, then, take some solace from the All For One boxed set, which compiles the "Alive," "Even Flow" and "Jeremy" CD5s, plus the rare "Jeremy" picture disc CD and Temple of the Dog's "Hunger Strike." This limited edition (1,000 copies) also contains a T-shirt, calendar, two posters and a certificate of authenticity.
Like the myriad other "limited boxed sets" which are currently flooding the import market, All For One was produced by a private company which purchased the singles (and other ephemera) wholesale, and is not part of Pearl Jam's official discography. These packages are often produced without the knowledge of either the band or anybody else concerned with the contents (this author was amazed to learn that copies of a Cure biography she co-wrote several years ago is included in a similar collection!). But they are a legitimate collectible nevertheless.
According to Kelly Curtis, the chaotic state of Pearl Jam's discography is wholly deliberate. "We enjoy [all the different formats]. We're bootlegged so heavily that collectors are going to have a problem anyway, but we like to do something different in each country, so they feel kind of special. It's just a really collectible band —some bands are, some aren't. Pearl Jam is!"
The subject of bootlegs, of course, is particularly close to the band's heart. On stage at London's Finsbury Park, Eddie Vedder actually told the audience to tape the show (and any others they could!), and Pearl Jam currently has some 50 different live CDs in circulation, including copies of the "official" radio recordings released to date.
Pearl Jam's first European tour, early in 1992, coincided with the gimmick-laden release of "Alive" as a single. They made their long-awaited U.K. debut in Southend, then moved onto an industry showcase at London's Borderline. Unfortunately for their record label, Epic, the expected roomful of journalists and record company execs was augmented by an enormous crowd of "normal" people, fans who had picked up on Pearl Jam from their U.S. exposure. These fans, of course, were not permitted entry.
Vedder and Abbruzzcse did their best to counter the crowd's disappointment by spending most of the evening outside the club, handing out free CDs and autographs. But that did not stop the U.K. music press (who of course got in for free) from savaging Pearl Jam's "attitude toward their fans" the following week.
From Europe, the band returned to the U.S. and launched straight into another tour. They also made several prestigious television appearances. On March 16th, they taped an MTV Unplugged show (for broadcast in May), their dynamic set featuring versions of "Alive," "Even Flow," "Black," "Porch" and "Jeremy" (from Ten), "State Of Love And Trust," from the then, stillunheard Singles soundtrack, and Neil Young's "Rocking In The Free World," a song with which they'd been occasionally encoring on tour.
April brought a reunion of sorts with Matt Chamberlain when Pearl Jam appeared on Saturday Night Live; and on May 23rd, they were set to play a free concert at Seattle's Gas Works Park.
Unfortunately, five months of planning came to naught when, five days before the event, the City of Seattle Parks Department withdrew its permit. Pearl Jam's "growing popularity and lack of available police because of Memorial Day weekend" were cited as reasons, while official concerns were also raised about Pearl Jarn's choice of support group, Seaweed, "a punk rock band."
In the face of growing outrage, the city offered to reschedule the show for May 27th, at which time both Pearl Jam and Seaweed would be in Europe. On May 20th, the band held a press conference to announce the show's cancellation.
Not to be defeated, Pearl Jam eventually erected a stage and skateboard ramp on private property in the Seattle suburb of Renton. Not only did Seaweed perform, but so did Seven Year Bitch (who, incidentally, had replaced Pearl Jam on the final Chili Peppers shows in January). "It was like, fuck the city," Eddie Vedder explained. "Fuck all the bullshit you have to go through to get a vibe going. It's a ridiculous situation and we still overcame it."
Pearl Jam now embarked on another European tour, highlighted by the aforementioned Pink Pop Festival in Holland, and, another festival in Hamburg, appearing before 50,000 fans. Support on this tour was Jack Irons' Eleven.
"Even Flow" had recently given Pearl Jam their second U.K. hit; now, to coincide with the British leg of the outing, a live version of "Alive" (identical to that later featured on the "Jeremy" 45) was included on a free cassette with the heavy metal magazine Kerrang!
Unfortunately, the gesture was fruitless. Although Pearl Jam did open for the Cult at an open air show at London's Finsbury Park (where Vedder made his famous bootlegging remark), before heading across to the European mainland, by the time the tour reached Roskilde, Norway, on May 11th, the band had had enough of life on the road. ("Footsteps," the B-side of the "Jeremy" 12-inch, was recorded at this show.)
Quoted in Kerrang! as being "dissatisfied with their increasingly tense and aggressive live performances, and with the touring lifestyle in general," Pearl Jam cancelled the remaining London shows, and returned home.
Back in the U.S., Pearl Jam now began preparing for their next outing, the much anticipated Lollapalooza '92. Ironically, the band had agreed to play the tour before Ten took off, in commercial terms they were now the hottest band on the ticket, and still they were second-to-bottom of the bill, sandwiched between Lush and Jesus and Mary Chain. Soundgarden, Ice Cube, Ministry and the Red Hot Chili Peppers completed the line-up. (A 14-track promo album, featuring two tracks by each of the performers, was released to coincide; there was also an Off The Record documentary CD.)
Lollapalooza kicked off on July 18, 1992, at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in San Francisco, before winding its way across the U.S., playing to capacity crowds at every stop. The tour finished in mid-September at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre.
September was an important month for Pearl Jam. On the 9th, they were the center of a controversy at the MTV awards show, when they announced they intended playing a cover of the Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer," turning the proverbial wheel full circle (Green River's debut single, of course, also boasted a Dead Boys' cover). MTV, of course, demanded they play the more familiar "Jeremy," which they eventually did.
Although MTV did not honor the band, Pearl Jam would receive two accolades at the American Music Awards, winning both Favorite New Artist in the pop/rock category and Favorite New Artist in the hard rock/heavy metal grouping as well.
Pearl Jam also played at the Singles premier party in L.A., and offered up an unexpected highlight when the usually placid Eddie Vedder picked a fight with a security guard, which was promptly broken up by the usually aggressive Al Jourgensen of Ministry.
Pearl Jam rounded 1992 off in fine style, supporting Keith Richards at the Academy in New York City. They also released their second Christmas single, cutely titled "Who Killed Rudolph?, and including two tracks, the now ubiquitous "Sonic Reducer," and "Rambling Again," a successor to the previous year's "Rambling." As a sign of Pearl Jam's rocketing popularity, 25,000 copies of this single were pressed; its predecessor saw just 1,500.
With a year of constant touring at an end, Stone Gossard was at loose ends. Accustomed to working on a constant basis, the much-deserved break offered relief from the road, but he still wanted to play. So, Gossard started attending rehearsals of Bliss, a band which included old friends Shawn Smith (ex-Luv Co), and former Malfunkshun drummer Regan Hagar. Out of these jams would grow Brad.
Following the collapse of Malfunkshun, Hagar had spent a year trying to put together a funk band, Molasses, with fellow musician John Smith. It took 12 months of auditions before he found people he wanted to work with. Unfortunately, he says, "They, weren't the same ones John had chosen." The two chose to go their separate ways, at which point Smith recorded a demo using the Molasses name. When it didn't pan out, he returned the band name to Hagar.
Up until late 1991, Hagar would continue in his own version of Molasses. Problems were already brewing, however, when Hagar hooked up with Shawn Smith. A week later, Hagar left Molasses, and joined Smith in Bliss.
Based around the duo's mutual love of the Motown-funk sound, the band's brand of "wintery, emotional rock" was soon amassing both press and shows. Within months, Bliss was big enough to open for such names as Bob Dylan and Blur, and big enough to come to the attention of another Bliss of longer standing, Hagar and Smith's outfit is now known as Satchel.
Enthused by his impromptu jams with Smith and Hagar, Gossard decided to go into the studio and see what developed. Also involved was L.A.-based bassist, Jeremy Toback, a friend of Gossard's roommate, Alex Rosenast (a partner in the Seattle club RKCNDY). Rosenast was originally from L.A., and Toback would often come up to visit. Even so, according to Hagar, Gossard had never heard him play.
In October 1992, the group, under the name Shame, booked into the Avast studio, and within a week, had completed an album. Pearl Jam's label, Epic, agreed to release it, and in early March 1993, mailed out a handful of promotional cassettes.
They say lightning never strikes twice. Hagar and Smith would disagree, With Shame's self-titled debut set for release, another band with the exact same name appeared on the horizon. A financial settlement was proposed, but as soon as the original Shame discovered just who constituted their rivals, they started adding zeros.
Finally, the situation became ridiculous. Gossard and company changed their name to Brad (taking their name from the other Shame's shameless leader), and christened the album Shame instead.
(In March 1993, as the first Shame promos were mailed out, Regan Hagar was implicated in a Seattle marijuana-growing operation. Hagar's landlord, Tom O'Neil, a partner in RKCNDY, was arrested, together with several of the club's employees. Both RKCNDY and O'Neil's houses were raided, leading to Hagar's own arrest when marijuana plants were discovered in the basement. At the time of writing, his future is clouded, as is that of RKCNDY. Trial is set for this summer.)
Gossard was not the only member of Pearl Jam to step outside the group structure during this period. insiders insist that Mike McCready is a near-anonymous guest on Lazy Susan's Twang album, on one track,
"Bored" (Silver Eye LS-001); he allegedly appears in the credits as "Mike the drunk guy."
Eddie Vedder, too, would find the time for a couple of outside projects and that despite the rumor, first circulated among users of the computer network Prodigy, that he had died of a heroin overdose. According to Altemative Press magazine, Vedder appears on new albums by Bad Religion, and the Ministry spin-off, Revolting Cocks.
Vedder also guested at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's annual induction dinner earlier this year in L.A., filling Jim Morrison's shoes with a specially re-formed Doors.
The holiday, however, could not last for long. In March of this year, Pearl Jam reconvened to begin work on their much-anticipated second album (scheduled for fall release), and to prepare themselves for the year or more of touring which will inevitably follow. Bearing in mind the band's existing recorded legacy, collectors will probably want to steel themselves as well.
The first indications of the activity to come were "Crazy Mary," Pearl Jam's contribution to Sweet Relief, the multi-artist tribute to singer-songwriter Victoria Williams (Thirsty Ear/Columbia), and "Better Man," to be included on a forthcoming Greenpeace benefit album.
In June 1993, Pearl Jam made a pair of secret appearance across the northwest. The first took place back in Ament's old stomping ground, Missoula, Montana on the 16th. The following night, they played the Met in Spokane, Washington.
With their second album now completed, insiders report that the band has surprises galore in store for their fans. Much less commercial than Ten, many of the songs allegedly contain no hooks, plenty of wahwah guitar, interspersed by some incredible speed guitar work. Rumor adds that Dave Abruzesse co-wrote two of the tracks. One of the most eagerly awaited albums of the year might also be one of the most unexpected.
The last words on Pearl Jam, however, go to Dave Krusen, whose drumming, so integral to the success of Ten, will be sorely missed no matter how well Dave Abbruzzese acquits himself. "'Pearl Jam knew what they wanted to do and they did it," he says without a hint of malice. "They deserve success. Jeff once told me he wanted to make a living at music, and he did."