“New like a baby, lost like a prayer
The sky was your playground
But the cold earth was your bed…”
I grew up in the 1990’s when the Seattle sound, grunge rock, flannel shirts, and long hair were all the rage. Even though I was thousands of miles apart from Seattle and I was slightly young to be a member of Generation X, I still longed for that lifestyle; a lifestyle, with some more refined touches, I still embrace to this day. Still it’s always nice to revisit some of the songs of my youth with my newly minted iTunes account and the power of the World Wide Web.
Some sounds I don’t even need to hear to remember and it was with high interest today that the band “Temple of the Dog” crossed my mind. For one reason or another I found myself taken back with the lyric “I don’t mind stealin’ bread, from the mouths of decadence…” Folks who grew up in my time will remember this song. “Hunger Strike” was the only Temple of the Dog song to have broad crossover (read MTV) appeal. However I had their cassette tape and listened to the entirety of their work, and the work borne from that and the work prior to that, ravenously.
Temple of the Dog is a collaboration between members of Soundgarden and what would become Pearl Jam. Singer Chris Cornell and drummer Matt Cameron from Soundgarden and singer Eddie Vedder, guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready, and bass player Jeff Ament
Knowing what I now know about the reasons for Temple of the Dog even existing in the first place, listening to their music is that much more powerful. Temple of the Dog was a tribute album to the overdose death of singer Andrew Wood. Wood was the lead singer of Mother Love Bone, a band which featured McCready, Gossard, and Ament. Wood was also roommates with Cornell. Cornell wrote some of the early Temple of the Dog songs while away on tour, just after Woods death. A song like “Say Hello 2 Heaven” is basically an open eulogy from one musician to his fellow musician roommate.
Of course these band members would all find each other again eventually. Cornell and Cameron would become one half of Soundgarden. Cameron would also wind up as the most recent drummer in the Ament/Gossard/McCready/Vedder band of record, Pearl Jam. But what these musicians created in the wake of tragedy was an amazing collaboration.
Temple of the Dog didn’t really breakout until following the release of the Pearl Jam debut “Ten” and Soundgarden’s “Badmotorfinger” even though it was recorded before Pearl Jam even existed.
In addition to “Hunger Strike” and “Say Hello 2 Heaven” some songs fans of this type of music might like include the mellow “Call Me a Dog,” the seductive “All Night Thing” and the tormented “Four Walled World.”