I want to show you something, like joy inside my heart
Seems I been living in the Temple Of The Dog
Where would I live if I were a man of golden words
Or would I live at all- Words and music - my only tools

- Andy Wood, "Man of Golden Words"

Andrew Wood was one of the most important influences in the "grunge" movement in Seattle in the 1990s. Unfortunately, his influence peaked following his own death, but in a very real way he is responsible for both the formation of Pearl Jam and for the final lineup of Soundgarden.

Andy Wood was born in 1966, and started his musical career as the singer of a band called "Malfunkshun." At this time (circa 1983-86), the four "founding father" bands of grunge (those being Green River, The Melvins, Malfunkshun, and Soundgarden- also, Skin Yard could arguably be added to this list, as they were also included on the infamous Deep Six compilation that started it all) were just getting started. The Melvins and Soundgarden would continue to play together until the late 1990's (albeit with line-up changes), but Green River and Malfunkshun would spawn a number of other important bands to the grunge scene.

Malfunkshun was actually formed in 1980, but put on hold for several years due to the fact that everyone in the band was too young to drive. By 1983, however, Andrew Wood, his younger brother Kevin, and drummer Regan Hagar had begun playing shows in Seattle, opening for bands like The Melvins and Ten Minute Warning. They were a reactionary sort of metal, a tonal protest to the satanic metal so popular in the 80s. Dubbing themselves "love rock," Malfunkshun became known for strange onstage antics (including Andy dressing up in a silver cape, white face paint, and platform heels and calling himself L'andrew the Love Child). In late 1987, Andy made friends and began writing with fellow rockers Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard of Green River. They began playing (with the addition of Hagar) as a cover band called Lords of the Wasteland. As it happened, Malfunkshun and Green River folded at the same time, and from their ashes was born Mother Love Bone. Kevin and Regan considered keeping Malfunkshun alive, but without Andy it seemed flat, and was abandoned. Regan would eventually go on to play with Brad, Stone Gossard's side project.

Green River included Mark Arm (later of Mudhoney), Steve Turner (also of Mudhoney), Alex Vincent, and Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard (both of whom would later found Mother Love Bone and then Pearl Jam). Following Deep Six, they released an EP titled Come On Down. Turner then left the band, and was replaced by Bruce Fairweather. The band then released two EPs, Dry as a Bone and Rehab Doll (the two EPs are now available on one CD from Sub Pop Records). By the time Rehab Doll was released, however, tensions had built to the meltdown point within the band, and it split. Mark Arm and Steve Turner started Mudhoney, a very raw, punk-oriented band, and Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard formed Mother Love Bone with our hero, Andy Wood.

The final lineup for Mother Love Bone was:
Andy Wood: vocals
Jeff Ament: bass
Stone Gossard: guitar
Bruce Fairweather: guitar
Greg Gilmore: drums

Mixing glam-rock and punk, the band had a look and sound that fit somewhere out in left field, but nonetheless landed them a deal quickly with Polygram which resulted in the release of their 1989 EP, Shine. The band then toured and worked on material for a full-length album to be released in the spring of 1990. In an effort to get his life in order, Wood checked himself into rehab early in the year, but on March 16, 1990, his fiancée found him unconscious due to an overdose. Unable to wake him, she called an ambulance, and after three days, he was pronounced dead. the band's LP would be released in the fall of that year under the title Apple.


When Andy Wood died, his roommate was...

Chris Cornell, of course (let's complete this circle, right?). The Soundgarden frontman, overwhelmed by Wood's death, wrote two lengthy songs in his honor, "Reach Down" and "Say Hello 2 Heaven." To record the songs, it seemed only natural to select musicians who had been close to Andy. The recording sessions included Cornell, Ament, Gossard, Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron, and in addition, guitarist Mike McCready and singer Eddie Vedder. After the two songs were recorded, however, the group decided that the chemistry was too good to lose... yet. They recorded a full-length album titled "Temple of the Dog," the title being taken from Wood's lyrics in the song "Man of Golden Words" (see top). The project grew from a grief-ridden labor of love into a celebration of the life of a friend. During this time, Ament, Gossard, Cameron, McCready, and Vedder were forming a band, tentatively titled "Mookie Blaylock." TOTD played one full-length show at The Off-Ramp in Seattle (Vedder missed it- he was back in San Diego, packing up his surfboard and clothes to move to Seattle full-time), and released the album in April of 1990.

Following the enormous success of Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger, Cornell and Cameron took off to go on tour, and the others picked up a new drummer, founded Pearl Jam, and less than ten months later had released the monstrous Ten. Following the Badmotorfinger tour, Soundgarden bassist Hiro Yamamoto left the band, and Chris Cornell and guitarist Kim Thayil selected local man and old buddy Ben Shepherd to replace him because he had the same sort of energy they'd seen in Wood.

The story goes on from here, of course, Pearl Jam is still rolling, although they have Cameron back, and Cornell is fronting the all-star band Audioslave. But this is the story of the spirit of Andrew Wood, the now-forgotten guardian spirit of Seattle.

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