Temple Of The Dog
Most people know that members of Pearl Jam were in Mother Love Bone, a Seattle band fronted by singer Andrew Wood, a roommate of Soundgarden's Chris Cornell. Wood died of a heroin overdose in '90, effectively ending Mother Love Bone.
Coming off a Soundgarden tour, Cornell came up with the idea of recording some singles as a tribute to his late friend. He reached out to Mother Love Bone's bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard. Another future Pearl Jam member, guitarist Mike McCready, was enlisted as was Soundgarden's drummer Matt Carmeron, who jumped to Pearl Jam in the late '90s.
Temple Of The Dog's name was taken from a line in the Mother Love Bone song "Man Of Golden Words" ("Seems I've been living in the temple of the dog; Where would I live, if I were a man of golden words?").
The singles idea and plans to cover Wood composed Mother Love Bone songs - some might have seen that as exploiting the singer's passing - were quickly abandoned.
So Temple Of The Dog began rehearsing two Cornell songs, "Reach Down," "Say Hello 2 Heaven," and re-worked demos written by Gossard, Ament, and Cameron.
Without any outside pressure, the group recorded an album in a little over two weeks. Of special note was the addition of singer Eddie Vedder, who had flown from San Diego to audition for Mookie Blaylock, a group started by Gossard, Ament and McCready, that soon became Pearl Jam.
Vedder contributed backing vocals and sang co-lead on "Hunger Strike."
Just thirteen months after Wood's passing "Temple Of The Dog" was released. The '91 album sold about 70,000 copies. Respectable, but not great. Despite generally positive reviews, "Temple Of The Dog" seemed the kind of project that only die-hard Pearl Jam or Soundgarden fans were likely to remember.
But when Soundgarden went platinum with their third set, "Badmotorfinger," and Pearl Jam scored with "Ten" someone at Temple Of The Dog's label, A&M, realized they had a Soundgarden/Pearl Jam collaboration sitting in their vault.
"Temple Of The Dog" was rereleased and "Hunger Strike" was the single/music video.
Given the project's lineage it was hardly surprising the album sold over a million copies.
In their original incarnation, Temple Of The Dog, only gave one full-show and that was in Seattle. But Cornell joined Pearl Jam in concert on occasion to sing Temple Of The Dog songs and he performed them with his post-Soundgarden group, Audioslave.
A significant one-off show occurred in '15 when Gossard, Ament, Cornell and Cameron appeared for a near complete - no Vedder - reunion of Temple Of The Dog. It was part of the Seattle Symphony's "Sonic Evolution" series, which featured local Pop, Rock and Hip-Hop musicians playing with the symphony to provide a different perspective on the music. They performed "Call Me A Dog" and "Reach Down."
A few months later, A&M Records sued London Bridge Studio co-founder Rajan Parashar to reclaim the Temple Of The Dog tapes under the terms of a '93 agreement. The tapes, which were recorded at London Bridge, remained in the possession of Rajan's brother Rick.
Cornell weighed in siding with A&M. "To pretend he has a right to keep the recordings makes no more sense than the owner of a laundromat claiming he owns the clothes you washed in his washing machine."
Building on their previous yet limited live work, Temple Of The Dog toured in '16 for the first time ever. The trek began in Philadelphia.
1991 Temple Of The Dog