Beatricia: Andrew Wood, (the lead singer of seminal Seattle band Mother Love Bone) died of a heroin overdose in 1990, just when stardom seemed imminent and his brand of grungy glam would have made him the sturdy, profitable bridge between Axl Rose and Kurt Cobain. Wood’s grieving friend, Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, teamed up with MLB’s surviving members, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, to craft an album of elegies and eulogies that mourns and celebrates with equal vigor. (They also let some new-in-town kid named Eddie Vedder harmonize in some sessions.) “Temple of the Dog” is that album, and now that Chris Cornell has also gone to that eternal rock and roll show, it doubles as a celebration of Chris’ own life. This is the music he thought proper as a goodbye for a dear friend that has gone too soon. I agree. “Say Hello 2 Heaven,” Chris!
Tracey: “I don’t mind stealing bread from the mouths of decadents!” Wow, Chris Cornell was shaggily cute, and socially conscious, and has lyric after lyric devoted to fair wealth redistribution and about resisting the barrage of commercialized, televangelized “religion.” And in “All Night Thing,” he surrenders all macho pretense as he lets his lover make the calls: “If it’s an all night thing/ Nobody’s gonna make it end/ And if it don’t begin/ Don’t worry that I’ll take offense.” A frontman who understands consent? Wheee! Tell me more, Mother; did you ever meet him?
Beatricia: Darling, I’m legally forbidden from discussing the Summer of ‘94.
Hank: Which you spent at a finishing school in the Alps, didn’t you, babe? Chateau Mont-Choisi, I think you mentioned. And great pick! “Temple of the Dog” is second only to Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood’s “Blind Faith” in the one-and-done rock-supergroup category. This album cover is also less embarrassing than the “Blind Faith” cover, and won’t land anyone on an FBI watchlist.
Trent: This is really rocking, Ma! Plus, it’s fun to dig out all the canine references. It’s like a BONE-Cept album. “Call Me a Dog” is the best. “Caaaall me a dooooog…”
Grandpa Felicius: Why, I recall my journey to the actual Temple of the Dog. Our guide had become useless due to a malarial bout, and the rain soaked our ponchos in delugial fury. We thought the expedition would come to naught, but then, out of the storm, came a mad howl of Cerberian origin. I hacked through the thicket with my parang, and there it was: THE TEMPLE OF THE DOG. Carved out of marble and onyx stood the guardian of the doorway, an 80-foot hound with an open maw. And upon its brow, inscribed, was the secret rune that provided the answer to all of life’s mysteries! It read:
Trent: Here, Grandpa, time for your 5 o’clock pills. It’s like Skittles! Yum, taste the rainbow!
Cousin Franz: Listening to “Temple of the Dog” almost transports one to an alternate universe in which there was a PearlGarden, or a SoundJam; an enticing reality in which Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder brought the best out of each other and nullified each other’s excesses. They might have been the Lennon / McCartney of the 90s. Of course, “might have been” is just the hopeful twin of “never was.” Rest in peace, Mr. Cornell. Although I suspect peace might bore you.
Blurbarella: “Wood– Seminal– Love Bone– Sturdy– Too Soon?”
5 out of 6 Cherries