Mother Love Bone was an American rock band that formed in Seattle, Washington in 1988. The band was active from 1988 to 1990. Frontman Andrew Wood's personality and compositions helped to catapult the group to the top of the burgeoning late 1980s/early 1990s Seattle music scene. Wood died only days before the scheduled release of the band's debut album, Apple, thus ending the group's hopes of success. The album was finally released a few months later. Although Mother Love Bone is to this day remembered by many as a very talented band in its own right, its legacy, for some, is overshadowed by Wood's death and the bands that its former members would later form.
Mother Love Bone was established in 1988 by ex-Green River members Jeff Ament, Bruce Fairweather and Stone Gossard, ex-Malfunkshun frontman Andrew Wood and ex-Ten Minute Warning and Skin Yard drummer Greg Gilmore. Initially, the group was formed in 1987 out of the cover band Lords of the Wasteland which featured Wood, Gossard, Ament and Malfunkshun drummer Regan Hagar. By early 1988 the band had added Fairweather, replaced Hagar with drummer Greg Gilmore and changed its name to Mother Love Bone.
This new line-up quickly set about recording and playing area shows and by late 1988 had become one of Seattle's more promising bands. Wood's exuberant on-stage personality, outlandish clothes and dreamy lyrics helped bring attention to the band. In the 1996 grunge documentary, Hype!, Seattle engineer Jack Endino called Wood "the only stand-up comedian frontman in Seattle," a reference to Wood's playful style of interacting with Mother Love Bone fans.
In early 1989, the band signed to PolyGram subsidiary Mercury Records. As part of its contract PolyGram also created the Stardog Records imprint exclusively for the band. In March 1989, the group issued its debut EP, Shine, becoming the first of the new crop of Seattle bands to have a release on a major label. The record sold well and rapidly increased the hype surrounding the band. John Book of Allmusic said the "record contributed to the buzz about the Seattle music scene."
In late 1989, the group returned to the studio (this time in San Francisco, California) to record its debut album, Apple. Despite some initial difficulties, the record was on-time for its projected March 1990 release. By this point interest in the band had hit a fever pitch and it seemed destined that the band were going to make it big. Only days before Apple was slated to be released, however, frontman Andrew Wood, who had a long history with drug problems, overdosed on heroin. After spending a few days in the hospital in a coma, Wood died, effectively bringing the group to an end. The album would see release later that year on July 19, 1990. Kim Neely of Rolling Stone said that the album "succeeds where countless other hard-rock albums have failed, capturing the essence of what made Zep immortal ??? dynamics, kids! ??? and giving it a unique Nineties spin."
Post-Mother Love Bone
In the months following Wood's death, Gossard and Ament would be approached by Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell (who had been Wood's roommate), and asked if they would be interested in recording a single containing two songs he had written in tribute to Wood. The project turned into an entire album and the group took the name Temple of the Dog, a reference to a line in the lyrics of the Mother Love Bone song, "Man of Golden Words". After Temple of the Dog, Gossard and Ament founded Pearl Jam along with Mike McCready of Shadow, Eddie Vedder of Bad Radio, and Dave Krusen. Pearl Jam rocketed to fame with its debut album Ten and is still active today. Pearl Jam has released nine studio albums in total and continues to tour.
Fairweather initially remained inactive but later surfaced in the Seattle based psychedelic rock band Love Battery, replacing Tommy Simpson on bass in 1992. He played on two of the band's albums and many of its tours before leaving that band as well and dropping off the radar. In 2006, he resurfaced in The Press Corps, with Garret Shavlik (The Fluid) and Dan Peters (Mudhoney).
Gilmore's profile also dropped significantly following Mother Love Bone's demise. Between 1992 and 1994, he drummed with the band Chubby Children, reuniting with former bandmates from 1982???1985, Brian Fox and Garth Brandenburg. Out of the band came a handful of shows and unreleased recordings. He also participated in the reunion of his former band Ten Minute Warning in 1998, and was credited with providing 'inspiration' for the song "Never the Machine Forever" (credited as being written by Kim Thayil) on Soundgarden's final studio album, 1996's Down on the Upside. The song initially came out of a jam session Thayil had with Gilmore.
Jeff Ament ??? bass
Bruce Fairweather ??? guitar
Greg Gilmore ??? drums
Stone Gossard ??? guitar
Andrew Wood ??? vocals, piano