This was Mother Love Bone. They formed from the ashes of other bands (Green River, Malfunkshun, Ten Minute Warning, Skin Yard) in the hotbed scene that was Seattle in 1988, just a few years before Nirvana broke and the region became the defining sound of the early 90’s. If you know your Pearl Jam… you will recognize bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard. Mother Love Bone’s sound was a glorious bridge between the flash of 80’s glam and the deeper, darker sounds that were brewing out of the Pacific Northwest that would become ‘grunge’. The heart of the band was undeniably frontman Andrew Wood. His flashy aesthetic, commanding live presence and undeniable creative talent quickly helped establish the unit as one of ‘the’ bands expected to break out big. A well received EP called, “Shine” released in 1989 led to a major label, full length recording, “Apple”. In March of 1990, only days before it was scheduled to be released, Wood tragically became another name on a much too long list of musicians who over-dosed on heroin. The album was released in July of 1990. It has become a cult hit and favorite among fans of the bands peers, still appreciated 25 years later. The impact of this tragedy upon the landscape of what would become the ‘Seattle scene’ in just a year or so cannot be understated. Had Andrew not died… there would never have been a Pearl Jam. They, along with Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains inspired and defined the state of rock for years to come. Still do to this day. Props to Pearl Jam for occasionally still including the Mother Love Bone song, ‘Chloe Dancer / Crown of Thorns’ in their live sets. It is a moving and emotional track. If you don’t get the feels watching this… your heart is dead. Songs like these are so good, they are almost hard to listen to… So when Pearl Jam learned that Andrew Wood’s 70-year old mother, Toni, was on hard times and living in a run-down trailer, they started a fundraising campaign on her behalf. The band, along with fans, raised $75,000 to improve her living situation. “Toni is such a magical woman. Her spirit is so close to Andy’s, to whom she gave so much love, humor and spark. If you’d ever seen Andy and Toni together, you’d see the connection,” Pearl Jam wrote on its website. “Toni is now in her 70’s and living in a leaky, dilapidated trailer with bad wiring, while still being a part time caregiver. The more Jeff and I learned about her situation, the more we felt we couldn’t ignore it.” Very cool Pearl Jam. Well done. Toni Wood, mother of Mother Love Bone frontman Andrew Wood. Here is a track off of, “Apple” called, ‘Stargazer’. Mellower… but this video shows a lot of Andrew… And the groovy deep rocker, ‘Stardog Champion’. You can hear where the roots of Pearl Jam started in this track… Since Pearl Jam formed later that same year in 1990, and dropped their breakout and genre defining, “Ten”, their rapid success and rise of the Seattle scene sidelined, “Apple” and Mother Love Bone to the rock history books.