Temple Of The Dog: The Story Of the Supergroup
In today’s Rock N’ Roll True Stories video they take a look at the Seattle Supergroup Temple of the Dog, which featured members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden who paid tribute to Mother Love Bone singer Andy Wood. Check it out below!
What’s going on everybody and welcome to rocn’ roll true stories. Don’t forget to hit the bell notification icon to be notified everytime I put out a new video on my channel Still a staple of rock radio to this very day, the Seattle supergroup Temple of the Dog would release their only album in April of 1991 that was self titled. What may surprise people is that the album wasn’t a big hit initially. Featuring members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, they wouldn’t get much attention until months after the record came out. This is the story of temple of the dog.
Temple of the Dog would get their start almost a year before their record came out in March of 1990 when frontman Andrew Wood of the up and coming seattle rock band mother love bone would pass away due to a drug overdose. Former soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell was friends with Wood and both shocked and angered by the news. According to Gruntruck Drummer Scott Mccullum who talked to cornell around this time he would reveal in the mark yarm book everybody loves our town. “I remember chris being really pissed at Andy shortly after he died. I was really surprised by that. He was really mad and upset that he had done what he did. He was really hurt.
Cornell who was on the road with Soundgarden at the time would immediately pen two tracks about Wood titled Reach Down and Say Hello 2 Heaven that would eventually make their way onto the temple of the dog album. Upon writing the songs Cornell would provide demos of the tracks to Wood’s fiance. Eventually Wood’s former bandmates in mother love bone and future pearl jam guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament would hear the tracks and be blown away. They would end up pushing Cornell to release the material. And according to Cornell
My initial thought was I could record them with the ex-members of mother love bone as a tribute single to andy. I got a phone call from jeff saying he thought the songs were amazing and let’s make a whole record. The record would be made up of material Cornell wrote and recorded and material the members of mother love bone recorded before and after Wood’s death.
It was during the rehearsals that Cornell came up with the song hunger strike that he thought was a filler song. Also present during the rehearsals was singer Eddie Vedder who had just flew in from California to audition with Wood’s former bandmates in a new group called Mookie Blaylock that would eventually rename themselves Pearl Jam.
Cornell would remember “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 ot the mic and started singing the low parts for me because he saw it was kind of hard. We got through a couple of choruses of him doing that and suddenly the light bulb came on in my head. This guys voice is amazing for these low parts. History wrote itself after that , and that became the first single.” And Vedder would appear on the other tracks “Pushin Forward Back,” “Your Savior” and “Four Walled World.
Also contributing to the record would be future pearl jam guitarist Mike Mcreedy and Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron. And while the album was meant to be a tribute to Andy wood it did create some bad blood as Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thyle would tell author Mark Yarm “the initial purpose of temple of the dog to be a tribute to Andy Wood, was not the concluding purpose. I think to be a tribute to Andy wood there were a lot of people who were close to Andy like his brothers who probably should’ve been involved .It became something else, it became a Chris Cornell solo record with some of his friends.” he’d conclude. And Andy’s brother kevin wood would express some anger over not being included telling the same author “I fully expected to be included in that project although they never called me. I was pretty pissed off at the time i didn’t get to play on that or even considered to be asked”.
And The band would record the record at Seattle’s London Bridge Studios with renowned producer Rick Parashar who in the near future would work with both Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains.
And according to Gossard the recording was was non pressure filled. The record would be done in about two weeks and nobody from the label was around to keep an eye on the band and the band members paid for the whole thing themselves.
The album would be released in April of 1991, months before Pearl Jam’s debut record Ten and Nirvana’s Nevermind. The album wouldn’t get any traction until 1992. Amy Finnerty who worked at MTV and was solely responsible for getting Nirvana ‘s video for smells like teen spirit on the air had told her bosses in the programming department about the band. Her bosses loved the record, called up the record company and basically said “let’s make this happen.” The label reissued the hunger strike single and released an accompanying video and it catapulted the album up the charts.
Hunger Strike would become a top 5 hit on the rock charts and the album would peak at number 4. Ultimately the album had a positive and some unexpected effects on Cornell’s band soundgarden with Thile telling author mark yarm: “Chris doing temple of the dog ultimately helped soundgarden in that it got him to exercise some of his creativity muscles and bring that back to soundgarden. It was bad that at some point i think temple of the dog was outselling badmotorfinger.’ he’d say
While Stone Gossard has held the album in high regards in his career telling Spin Magazine in 2001
“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 he’d say
The members of the supergroup would play one off performances with each other in the 2000’s and 2010’s but unfortunately in 2017 frontman Chris Cornell would pass away
That does it for today’s video. Thanks for watching. Be sure to hit the like and subscribe button. If you guys have suggestions for future topics let me know in the comments section below. Take care.