Singer Andrew Wood was well-loved in the Seattle community in the late ’80s. He said he named his band after the two things he loved the most. Mother Love Bone was formed in 1988 by members of two earlier groups from the grunge era, Malfunkshun and Green River. Andrew Wood, from Malfunkshun, was undeniably charismatic as a frontman. With his talent and the tight playing of the rest of the group (including the dynamic drummer Greg Gilmore) Mother Love Bone had an explosive stage show. Wood was influenced by legendary showmen like Freddy Mercury, Paul Stanley and Marc Bolan. He seemed destined for stardom, but to everyone’s surprise, he passed away the night before the band’s big label debut album was to come out on March 19, 1990. Andrew Wood’s death from heroin overdose solidified the dark cloud that hung over the new Seattle grunge scene.
Two members of Mother Love Bone, Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard, would go on to form one of the most famous rock bands of all time, Pearl Jam. In this KEXP radio story you’ll hear a vintage clip of Andrew Wood himself. And thoughts from the band’s surviving members on what makes a band succeed or fail.
For more on grunge history check out Experience Music Project’s new Nirvana exhibit. Info and tickets at empsfm.org.
KEXP Documentaries are created by Michele Myers with assistance from John Felthous, Tiffany Grobelski, Mary Janisch and Executive Producer Kevin Cole. If you would like to follow along more closely in the creation of these radio stories, we post research materials, songs and videos on our Facebook page and on Twitter.