Glampunk.orgMOTHER LOVE BONE
ANDY WOOD : THE LAST INTERVIEW BY MICHAEL BROWNING
readers may consider the following interview depressing, exploitive, and even
tasteless. We here at RIP feel it is an important and, yes, tragic piece of
1990's music history To deny it to the fans of Mother Love Bone would be an
It was late 88 when the world first took notice of Seattle's Mother Love Bone, formed by members of two superb local acts, Green River and Malfunkshun. After an unexpected bidding war, MLB signed to PolyGram and released a five-song EP, Shine. They earned their first taste of nationwide attention alter a very successful club tour with the Dogs DAmour It was the beginning of a very promising career
On Thursday, March 15, 1990, writer Michael Browning and Mother Love Bone's talented and troubled songwriter/singer Andrew Wood conducted the following interview Mother Love Bone were scheduled to be a part of a RIP-sponsored three-band tour, and their superb debut album, Apple, was ready to be released. It was agreed that the duo would speak again the following week at the Northwest Area Music Association conference, where Wood was scheduled to serve on the songwriters panel That meeting would never occur.
Twenty-six hours later, about 10:30 p.m. Friday, Wood's fiancée, Xana, found Andy face down, unconscious on their bed. After completing a month-long rehabilitation program and remaining clean for 116 days, Wood succumbed to the incredible cravings known only to heroin users. Paramedics rushed Wood to Harborview Hospital, where he was immediately hooked up to life-support systems. Wood had slipped into a coma. His family was informed that he had suffered considerable damage from lack of oxygen, and even if he recovered from the coma, he would very likely remain brain dead. On Monday, March l9th, when no improvement in Wood's condition was noted, he was taken off life support Wood's heart slowly came to a stop as he lay in the arms of the woman he loved.
RIP: Mother Love Bone recorded Shine in five days, as compared to over three months for Apple. Is there a very noticeable difference?
ANDREW WOOD: Yes, definitely. There were some mixes that were sent to us, and we sent them back to be remixed; and there was still, like, four or five songs that still had to be remixed again. Now it's all settled and ready to be pressed. Apple is nearly an hour long. (t may not even fit on one side of a cassette, so beware, kids, when taping at home [laughs].
RIP: Did MLB lose any of its grunge?
A.W.: I don't know. Did we have any grunge in the first place? I guess there's still a little grunge in the guitars from the Green River days. We didn't lose any of the grunge we needed, but we may be right in throwing some of the ugly grunge away. It's called stale grunge. RIP: Do you wish there was more funk in MLB?
A.W.: I'm pretty content with the sound right now. I think I'm a bit more mellow than anybody else in the band. The whole set is pretty mid-tempo. We're not like a real "head swinging" type of band. When time off from MLB allows, I might make a record, and my
brother Kevin [who played with Andy in Malfunkshun] will be my guitar player.
RIP: Andy Wood goes solo?
A.W.: No, it won't be called "Andy Wood" or anything. It'll have some weird name, so it'll be kinda disguised. RIP: Let's talk about some of the songs on Apple. A.W.: "Stardog Champion" is a kinda...fake, kinda patriotic rock anthem of sorts. That's gonna be the first single and video. When I wrote "Holy Roller," I didn't even know what a holy roller was. I just thought it was a cool term. Actually, I was thinking of a Paul McCartney and Wings song "Let Me Roll It." I don't know why it made me think of holy rollers. "Captain High-Top" is just a total rock propaganda kinda thing. I kinda see "Heartshine" as our "Achilles' Last Stand" of the album. It's long and real powerful. I was kinda depressed about leaving Malfunkshun for a long time. Still am, kinda. I feel like, you know, I left them stranded. I've got a brother besides Kevin who, ah, is kinda insane in a way, and he makes the whole family worry about him, so "Heartshine" is a little about both of my brothers.
RIP: "Mr. Danny Boy° is obviously a slam on Danny Thomas.
A.W.: Yeah, I don't know why we decided to do such a mean thing to Danny.
RIP: But you did.
A.W.: That's right. No offense to Marlo. I still like her from ThatGirl[laughs].
RIP: "Come Bite the Apple," is there any significance to that?
A.W.: That's a meaningful song. It's a "Crown of Thorns" type of song. The lyrics are personal, whereas some of the songs have absolutely nothing to do with me. "Apple" and "Crown of Thorns" are probably mostly about me. It's kind of a synopsis of the whole past year. I'm lucky to be sitting here.
RIP: Do you write all the lyrics?
A.W.: Yeah. Nobody else has really brought any in. I think I'd find it hard to sing someone else's lyrics. I've got a guitar but I've written most of my songs with keyboards as of late. I wrote "Stargazer" on guitar. I don't really consider myself a songwriter but, rather, a guy who makes up music. I don't know chords. I don't know notes. I can't even tell the guys in my band what I'm playing. I can't say, "Well, it's G-A-C-D," or whatever. They have to come and watch me and figure it out.
RIP: You taught yourself to play guitar and keyboards? A.W.: Yeah, just kinda making up my own method of playing. That's been my whole thing. It seems as of late -I'm not going to name names or anything-but there seems to be some people who are real concerned about who their fans are, which doesn't make any sense to me, because they're all basically rock fans. We want them to be our fans. We don't want to draw any kind of lines.
RIP: Are those the only two instruments you play, guitar and keyboards?
A.W.: I play wrinkle-neck trouser snake, guitar and keyboards...l also play Nintendo.
RIP: Do you ever worry about hitting writer's block? A.W.: I'm not too worried about it, though it definitely
happens. Writer's block...I've never had that problem. When I have my keyboards around, I could definitely write a song a day. I've got so many old songs, I could go find an old one that I like if I can't write a new one. RIP: There are a lot of references to the group Queen in your lyrics.
A.W.: Queen's probably my favorite band. Queen, Kiss and Elton John. I'm kind of a hybrid of all those things that influenced me the most when I was growing up. RIP: How old are you?
RIP: You just got out of rehab.
A.W.: The old 28-day business. I have a weekly follow-up every Monday night.
RIP: Obviously you feel a lot better now that you're clean.
A.W.: Yeah. Still though, it's a total struggle. When you first get out, you're on this pink cloud, and it's pretty easy. After a while things start getting more real, and you have to just stay straight a second at a time. RIP: Do the other guys in MLB still get stoned?
A.W.: No! That's one lucky thing about this band. I was the druggy until I went in for treatment. We've got some people in the band that I don't doubt are alcoholics. The day Bruce quits drinking will be the day monkeys fly out of my butt, like on "Wayne's World." Luckily no one was into the drugs as much as I was, so I don't have to worry about them staying stoned, even though I'm not doing it anymore. Ever since I've known Stoney and that's been years, he's never smoked pot. RIP: Stoney?
A.W.: I know, with a name like Stoney. It's just his normal name: Stone. They all enjoy their beer. God, that's the thing: Back when I was taking all those drugs and everything, I thought the other guys were so damn boring. I thought, What do these guys do for fun?
RIP: Will this upcoming tour present any problems for you, like temptation?
A.W.: We all decided that on the upcoming tour there will be no alcohol at all on the bus. If they want to drink, they'll have to do it inside the clubs.
RIP: Is there any particular member of MLB that you seem to connect with the best?
A.W.: It's weird, 'cause it fluctuates. Sometimes I feel like me and Stoney are a team, partners in crime. And then me and Jeff have a lot of the same musical interests too. We're both kinda jocks in a way. I'm a video jock, whereas he's an actual jock. Then me and Greg are both Capricorns, so we get along well. Besides practicing five times a week, none of us spend that much time together.
RIP: Maybe it's better that way.
A.W.: Yeah. I mean, we'll be spending a lot of time together real soon.
RIP would like to extend its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Andrew Wood. Since PolyGram and Mother Love Bone have decided to release the nothing short of superb Apple, a bit of Andy Wood will live on forever.