Mad Season, a "side-project" with Layne Staley (Alice In Chains), Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), John Baker Saunders and Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees) was commercial success but it failed to achieve its initial goal - which was to provide a "clean and sober" environment that would keep Staley and Saunders off drugs.
Around the time of Pearl Jam's third album, "Vitalogy," McCready went into rehab. There the guitarist met Saunders and talked of starting a band. Soon Martin was added on drums. Needing a vocalist, McCready brought in Staley hoping that being around sober musicians would push the Alice In Chains frontman to get himself clean.
After appearing as the Gacy Bunch, named after a serial killer and a '70's sitcom, the group settled on Mad Season - an English term for the time of the year when psilocybin mushrooms are in full bloom, and one McCready related to "the seasons of drinking and drug abuse."
"Above," recorded at Seattle's Bad Animals studio - owned by the Wilson sisters of Heart - featured the singles "River Of Deceit" and "I Don't Know Anything." Just has he had done in Alice In Chains, Staley's lyrics delved into personal troubles and pain. The album also had vocals by Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees/Queens Of The Stone Age). It went gold.
Mad Season played some shows and recorded "I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier" for the '95 John Lennon tribute album, "Working Class Hero."
Soon enough, it was time for everybody to go back to their 'day-jobs' with their respective bands. So, Mad Season went on hiatus.
McCready's effort to revive Mad Season in '97 hit a major snag when Staley's health worsened due to severe drug addiction. Even adding Lanegan as the permanent vocalist failed to get the band back on track.
Since they were without Staley, the group decided to rename themselves Disinformation. Though the quartet soon became fragmented, it was Saunders' '99 death, due to a heroin overdose, that ended the band. In a '99 radio interview Staley confirmed that Mad Season had broken up due to Saunders death. Of course, Staley followed Saunders three years later.
In '13 Legacy Recordings issued a deluxe edition of "Above," comprising of two CDs and a DVD. It included the original studio album and unreleased tracks from the band's unfinished second album, with vocals by Lanegan. There was also concert footage and audio.
Meanwhile, Martin and bassist Duff McKagen (Guns N' Roses/Velvet Revolver) were in Walking Papers. The group's self-titled debut album dropped in late '12 and contained contributions from McCready. Then came word that McCready, McKagen and Martin were forming a band.