Tag Archives: SoundGarden

You should be listening to Temple of the Dog!

One of the albums that are in rotation this week is Temple of the Dog.  I’ve owned the album for close to twenty years and I never seem to grow tired of it.  I realize part of that is the nostalgia for the time in which the album was released, part of it is the musical energy and excitement that was breaking out in the Seattle music scene, and part of it is that it is just a really great album.

So, with that in mind, you should be listening to Temple of the Dog!

Temple of the Dog is the grunge super group that is only a super group because of what the members of the group became later in their career.  In reality, Temple of the Dog is a fortuitous union of friends who are paying tribute to their dead friend. 

Andrew Wood died of a heroin overdose in 1990 and was widely revered in the Seattle area for his work as the lead singer of Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone.  Andrew was friends with Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) and band mates with Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard.  Chris Cornell began writing a few songs as a tribute to his friend and enlisted the help of Wood’s former band mates to help with the recording of the songs. 

As the recording processed continued, the band line up was filled out with the addition of drummer Matt Cameron (Sound Garden & Pearl Jam) and guitarist Mike McCready (Pearl Jam).  The addition of Eddie Vedder was a bit of a fluke as he just happened to be in town to audition to be the lead singer in a band called Mookie Blaylock which later became Pearl Jam.

Temple of the Dog was recorded in 15 days and produced by the band.  The album was released in April of 1991 and the name is a reference to a line in a Mother Love Bone song called “Man of Golden Words”.

The album received decent reviews and sold around 70,000 copies upon release.  As Soundgarden and Pearl Jam exploded on the musical scene, the album received new life and the single “Hunger Strike” was released and a music video was put in heavy rotation.  The album ended up selling over a million copies and was among the top selling 100 albums in 1992.

The album has a less frenetic pace than some of the earlier material that either band recorded and at times is a bit more harmonious.  “Hunger Strike” is a phenomenal duet between Cornell and Vedder and “Wooden Jesus” is one of my favorite songs from the album. 

In the nearly 20 years since its release, there have only been a handful of appearances by Temple of the Dog.  Cornell has played some of the material while on tour with Audioslave as well as his solo tours.  As recently as 2009, he joined Pearl Jam on stage and sang “Hunger Strike” which sparked rumor and speculation of a 20th anniversary reunion tour. 

Great music awaits!


Tune In Tuesday: 5/18/10

Today’s installment of Tune in Tuesday features six random albums. 

Whiskeytown

Pneumonia

Whiskeytown is the springboard band for the genius of Ryan Adams.  A short lived group that only released three, albeit stellar, albums Whiskeytown helped herald the Alt/country scene.

Pneumonia is a phenomenal album that can be listened to from start to finish. 

Key tracks: Jacksonville Skyline, Sit & Listen to the Rain, Don’t Wanna Know Why

Until When We Are All Ghosts

William Fitzsimmons

William Fitzsimmons is the whispering hirsute folk singer that channels demons into lush, ethereal songs about love, loss, life, etc…  His music is mostly guitar and vocals with the occasional piano.  Soft, sparse, and not quite radio friendly) no poppy hooks or bombastic bass beats) his music is well worth checking out.

Key Tracks: Passion Play, Find It In Me, Forsake All Others

The Wind

Warren Zevon

This is the last album by the late, great Warren Zevon and was released two weeks prior to his death.  There is also a great documentary regarding the creation of this album and last days of Warren.  Keep Me in Your Heart is the closing song and it is amazing as is the eerie cover of Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.  There is a Who’s Who of rock and roll royalty that appear on this album:  Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Tom Petty, T-Bone Burnett, Jackson Browne, Dwight Yoakam, Joe Walsh, John Waite, Timothy B Schmidt, and Ry Cooder.

Key Tracks: Keep Me In Your Heart, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Disorder in the House,

Temple of the Dog

Temple of the Dog

This is the early grunge version of a super group and was spawned by the death of Andrew Wood (Mother Love Bone).  Members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden collaborate in this tribute to friend and fellow musician.  Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder have never sounded better than on Hunger Strike.  Such a contrast in vocal styles but a rocking duet none the less. 

Key Tracks: Hunger Strike, Wooden Jesus, Four Walled World, say Hello 2 Heaven

Us Against the Crown

State Radio

This is the debut for the Boston based trio that is fronted by former Dispatch member Chad Urmston.  State Radio is steeped in sociopolitical rhetoric and reggae vibrations.  I’m a huge fan of the band and have seen them live several times.  This is my favorite album that they have released. 

Key Tracks: Camilo, Riddle In London Town, People To People, Mr. Larkin, Right Me Up

Roadhouse Sun

Ryan Bingham

This is Bingham’s second album on Lost Highway and has not been hurt by his sudden popularity due to the release of the movie Crazy Heart.  He has a raspy, whiskey soaked voice that seems road weary despite his relative young age.  The fact that he does not follow the current crop of pop country is refreshing. 

Key Tracks: Day Is Done, Country Roads, Wishing Well, Snake Eyes

Read, review, and respond.

Great music awaits!