Back in high school, the “Seattle Sound” was a huge part of my soundtrack (some of my friends and I thought that the Quad Cities – where I lived at the time – was “the next Seattle”), and one of the bands that was at the center of that was one of the most mysterious… Temple of the Dog. A supergroup featuring Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Mike McCready, and drummer Matt Cameron (who plays drums with both Soundgarden and Pearl Jam), Temple of the Dog released one album in 1991 and never toured, though both Soundgarden and Pearl Jam exploded. Now, 25 years later, the band has reunited and will tour for the first time ever since forming in 1990. Upon receiving the news, I immediately visited my archives here at Rock Father HQ and found that my Temple of the Dog CD has gone missing… so it may have to be replaced.
Temple of the Dog will play five cities, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle, in November. A special ticket pre-sale for fans signed up to the Ten Club, Soundgarden, and Chris Cornell email lists begins immediately and runs through July 27th. Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 12:00 PM local time on Friday the 29th. $1.50 from each ticket sold will benefit the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation and an additional $1.50 will benefit Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy Foundation.
The tour marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Temple of the Dog’s first and only album, a self-titled set that was released by A&M Records on April 16th, 1991. “We wanted to do the one thing we never got to do … play shows and see what it feels like to be the band that we walked away from 25 years ago,” Cornell says of the 2016 tour.
On September 30th UMe will release a special Temple of the Dog 25th anniversary reissue collection of their landmark album, newly mixed by Brendan O’Brien. The collection will be available in four configurations, including a four disc Super Deluxe, a double LP, a two CD Deluxe, and a single CD. Physical pre-orders are available today along with a detailed list of the contents of each configuration HERE.
Temple of the Dog came together from the ashes of Mother Love Bone following the death from a drug overdose of its frontman Andrew Wood, Cornell’s close friend and roommate. Cornell wrote future TOTD songs “Say Hello 2 Heaven” and “Reach Down” to help process his grief, “but the songs didn’t have any destination,” he says. “I was compelled to write them and there they were – written in a vacuum as a tribute to Andy. My thought was that maybe I could record these songs with the remaining members of Mother Love Bone and that maybe we could release them as a tribute.”
Mother Love Bone’s Gossard and Ament began playing with McCready, and they brought in Soundgarden’s Cameron to drum on demos. Because this was a collaboration, and a tribute, there was no commercial expectation for the Temple of the Dog album. It would be, Gossard would later observe, “the easiest and most beautiful record that we’ve ever been involved with.” Adds Cornell: “Temple was about making an album simply for the joy of doing it. We weren’t concerned what anyone outside of our group of friends would think of it. It was the first and maybe only stress-free album that we all made.”
Gossard, Ament, and McCready were also simultaneously forming a new band, which more than six months later would be known as Pearl Jam. A singer from San Diego named Eddie Vedder, who was vying to lead the project, came into the studio to sing background vocals on three of the Temple songs. When Cornell thought another song, “Hunger Strike,” needed a duet, Vedder was enlisted. “Hunger Strike” became a hit single, peaking at No. 4 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
Temple of the Dog performed live only a handful of times, most notably in Seattle, in November and December of 1990. Those shows have become some of the most legendary Seattle concerts of all-time. Their 2016 shows mark the first time the band has ever toured. (Cornell joined Pearl Jam in 2014 at the Bridge School show and for two nights at PJ20 in Alpine Valley, WI, and the Temple line-up played “Reach Down” and “Call Me a Dog” at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall in January 2015.)
“This is something no one has ever seen,” Cornell says of the official reunion. “We wanted to stop and recognize that we did this and pay homage.”
Temple of the Dog’s upcoming tour dates are as follows:
- 11/04 Philadelphia, PA Tower Theater
- 11/07 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
- 11/11 San Francisco, CA Bill Graham Civic Center
- 11/14 Los Angeles, CA The Forum
- 11/20 Seattle, WA Paramount Theater