Volume 94, Issue 95
Wednesday, March 21, 2001
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Temple of the Dog
Temple of the Dog
Seattle saw an explosion in its music scene in the early 90s that inevitably placed it on the rock n' roll map.
Bands like Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden became leaders of a musical movement known as grunge. Cut-off shorts and flannel shirts were grunge's high fashions, while its edgy, devil-may-care sensibility spoke to a nation of angry youths.
With grunge's seething popularity, however, came the cold reality of a lifestyle bent on consuming the very people who helped create it. Seattle quickly became as notorious for its heroin use as for its music. The scene soon became a picture of torment, painted in sombre colours of overdoses and suicides.
Some musicians were able to turn bottom-of-the-barrel habits into personal inspirations. It was the unfortunate overdose of Andrew Wood, lead singer for the band Mother Love Bone, that set Chris Cornell's inspirational wheel turning. What followed was a humble homage that grew into the era's forgotten masterpiece.
Cornell wrote two songs in Wood's honour, "Say Hello 2 Heaven" and "Reach Down." After jam sessions with former Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron, guitarist Stone Gossard and bass player Jeff Ament from Mother Love Bone, two songs turned into a few more and Temple of the Dog was born. With the addition of Mike McCready, Temple of the Dog managed to create a completely innovative sound.
Released in 1991, Temple of the Dog is unique in a number of ways.
First, it serves as an early showcase of Cornell's song writing capabilities. His compositions are a fluid fusion of style and substance, and he has an uncanny knack for creating hard rock melodies and soulful ballads that belong together on an album together.
The album highlights the fresh chemistry between Gossard and McCready, which would eventually mature in the years to come. Their solid playing, comfortably combined with Cornell's infectious writing, produced one memorable song after another, such as the unforgettable "Hunger Strike" and "Pushing Forward Back."
Temple of the Dog embodied the spirit swelling in Seattle in the early 90s. With their focus on music as a remedy for the lifestyle, Temple of the Dog remain a catalyst for an entire musical movement. Perhaps their greatest contribution though, was that Cornell and Cameron went on to immeasurable success with Soundgarden, while Gossard, McCready, and Ament changed the face of music with a little band called Pearl Jam.
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