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Throwback Tracks -- July 14, 2016


The Guys from {MUSIC}

Throwback Tracks -- July 14, 2016

David R. Smith

Hey; it's my first Throwback Tracks! Since Shaun is taking on the task of the Simpson's Top-100 list this week (numbers 90-81 came out yesterday) we felt it was a logical week for me to tackle this. So here we are. 

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Pearl Jam. I've talked about them on one or two occasions… I've also done a solo podcast about them. I wanted to do a full Throwback Tracks with just them, but I thought that was a bit much. Instead, I'm going to do the history of Pearl Jam. We're going to take a journey through the bands that LED to the creation of my favourite rock band of all time.

The Guys From do not hold the rights to any of these songs, it is more our hope to expose our readers to new (*cough*) and different retro music, or re-expose them to things they may have forgotten about.

At the top of each section, will be the song name, followed by the artists' name linked to their website (if possible...which is totally hit and miss with oldies), so you can fall down the rabbit hole, finding and supporting what you dig.

Rehab Doll - Green River

We might as well start from the beginning. 

Green River was a band in the 80s that, among other members, boasted the talents of Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard who are, respectively, the bassist and rhythm guitarist for Pearl Jam.  The group formed in 1984 and also included Mark Arm who went on to be a part of the band Mudhoney. The band found marginal success through the mid-80s and recorded a few albums. As they were punk rock by nature, ideologies seemed to change as the band found success. Gossard and Ament wanted to sign a big company contract, while Arm wanted to remain independent. This ended up causing a rift in the group.

Gossard and Ament went on to another band (who appears further down the list) and Arm went on to form Mudhoney and did not garner the success that Pearl Jam has. Now, there are not all bad feelings between the band members; there have been reunion shows and Mudhoney has often been an opener for Pearl Jam.

This song was from the last album of the same name. 

What? - Bad Radio

Originally influenced by Duran Duran, this group formed in San Diego in 1986. The founding members haven't really gone on to do much. In 1988, they enlisted the lyrical stylings of one Mr. Edward Vedder. He sang with the band for 2 years while living in San Diego. At that time, a demo tape of some lyricless songs came Eddie's way, as this fledgling band up in Seattle was looking for a lead vocalist. Ed decided that he wanted to make his way up the West Coast and try singing for this "Mookie Blaylock" and see where that took him. His last gig with the band was in February of 1990. When he left, the original lead singer took the helm again, and they also hired drummer Dawn Richardson who would go on to play for 4 Non Blondes.

The group found little success; they recorded a couple demo tapes but that would be the end of it. They disbanded later in 1990. 

What? was one of the songs on one of the two demo tapes. Imagine what could have been, (or, what might not have been) had Ed stayed with this band...

Stardog Champion - Mother Love Bone

Fell on Black Days - Soundgarden

I know. We just posted a Soundgarden song recently. But technically this has to do with Pearl Jam. If you watch this terrible quality video, you'll see that Pearl Jam has had drummer issues their entire tenure. One drummer led to another, led to another, etc. They just couldn't lock one down. 

Enter Matt Cameron. He had made enough money playing with Soundgarden that he probably could have retired when Soundgarden broke up and have lived comfortably the rest of his life. But when Pearl Jam was in trouble, MFC stepped up and helped them out of a (pardon the pun) jam. 

Matt Cameron started drumming with Pearl Jam on the Yield tour, which would have been in 1998, and he's been playing with them ever since. He's been around for almost 20 years of the band's existence. And thank goodness too. 

Fell On Black Days is a great song, and it's a little less heavy than Rusty Cage, which Shaun put on a few weeks ago. I figured I'd go with something that wasn't Spoon Man, or Black Hole Sun. So that's why we get a second Soundgarden song in just mere weeks. 

Stardog Champion - Mother Love Bone

Oh Mother Love Bone. The band that never was. 

After their time with Green River, Bruce Fairweather, Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard joined Andy Wood and Greg Gilmore to form Mother Love Bone. The group was already mostly in existence as a cover band with a different name (Lords of Wasteland) but the final pieces came about to create MLB. 

The band was more poised for the big-time. They only recorded one studio album, but were really starting to clip. Frontman Andy Wood was the sort of guy you could just tell was going to go on and do great things. He just had that way about him. Unfortunately he was also a heroin user. In March of 1990, shortly before their only studio album Apple was set to be released, Andy Wood overdosed on heroin and was rendered braindead. He survived a couple days in the hospital but died on March 19. 1991. 

Stardog Champion is not the best, or most well-known Mother Love Bone song, and that's why I chose to use this one. If you really want to hear my favourite song, click here. But check you should also listen to Stardog Champion. It's a bit harder and a bit more rock and roll. Regardless of what you listen to, you can hear just how good the band was and why they could have gone on to do great things.  

RIP Andy.

Say Hello 2 Heaven - Temple of the Dog

Okay. So now we're into the final pre-Pearl Jam act. Technically the band existed at this point, but barely.

So after Andy Wood died, Stone and Jeff didn't really want to play music that much. But eventually they came out of their respective hibernations, and started jamming again. They teamed up with guitarist Mike McCready and drummer Dave Krusen and formed this band. As I mentioned before, they had sent a tape down to Ed (via future drummer, Jack Irons) who came up to play with the group. 

While they were jamming around, they decided to make an "In Memoriam" sort of album in honour of their friend Andy. Gossard, Ament and McCready, along with Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron got together and made this killer album called Temple of the Dog. (Ed was there, singing backups on some of the songs.) This was one hell of a great group. The self-titled album came out in April of 1991, and Pearl Jam's debut album came out in August of the same year. After that, the world was in for 20+ years of Pearl Jam so it's a good thing Temple came out when it did. 

Once again, this is not the most famous of Temple of the Dog songs. That one belongs to Hunger Strike, which was actually released as a single on the radio, so most people likely know that one. This one has a much more personal attachment to me, and the lyrics "Say Hello To Heaven" are actually tattooed on my back. So I had to pick this song. Plus it's tremendous anyway. 

Side note: There have been Temple of the Dogs reunions, including at the PJ 20 festival when they played Hunger Strike.

There you have it, friends; my very first (and hopefully, if Shaun approves of the job I did, not my last) Throwback Tracks. I hope you learned something in this very brief, very cursory history of the band I love so much. They really are worth looking into, if nothing else to see the highs and lows (of which there are many) of a band who has sustained for 25 years. I would recommend even just using Wikipedia to investigate, but if you really want to get some knowledge, track down a copy of Cameron Crowe's PJ 20. It's worth it. It's so good. And not just for Pearl Jam fans.

I've rattled on enough. Except:

Here is the June 2016 Throwback Playlist , done in Shaun's usual fashion of trying to make it sound a bit like a DJ Set.

In case you missed our previous Throwback Track playlists, here they are:

May 2016 Throwback Playlist

April 2016 Throwback Playlist

Happy Thursday, amigos.

-D (@davidronn)