Everybody Loves Our Town – An Oral History of Grunge by Mark Yarm

I’m going to admit right off the rip that I’ve been told I’m still living in the 90’s. I am, really. My teen years literally consisted of listening to music and playing in band. Grunge was and very much still is a large part of my life. So, when I recently discovered this book, I had to get it.

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I think when many people hear the word “grunge” they instantly think of the four more popular 90’s bands including Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Nirvana and Soundgarden. Many don’t realize that it emerged before these “big four. “

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It started with Deep Six being released in 1986 and of course I didn’t discover these bands until years later when they became huge and I was a little older. There’s a lot to learn about in this book that was going on prior to Nirvana and Pearl Jam. It starts in the 80’s and progresses up into 2011.

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I loved the oral history format the author used for this book. The way it’s written, you’re basically reading quotes from scads of different people including band members, producers, managers, photographers, roadies and more. You’ll learn about some of the stuff they did, places they went, relationships they had with each other, pain they endured from deaths, and more. There are pictures included, but I do wish there were more.

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How sad is it when listening to a favorite online “grunge hits of the 90’s” station, I’m reminded of the fact that the singers from the last four songs I’ve just heard are dead, and all from drugs. It’s very depressing, but at the same time I remind myself that grunge is not dead-at least not to me. I’ll be ninety and still listening to this stuff. Many of these bands went forward and continued to be successful including, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters (Dave Grohl from Nirvana), Candlebox, and Alice in Chains, even with Layne and Mike gone, they’re still making music.

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There are things you’ll never know about the grunge movement if you don’t read this book. Some of the artists I thought had it all together, really never did. Some never finished school, many performed drunk and high, barely hung on, died, and some fought like crazy. You had band members switching around to different groups. It’s just crazy. If you listen to grunge or have been a fan in the past, read this…

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Temple of the Dog

Temple of the Dog was a band assembled for the purpose of creating an album to pay tribute to Andrew Wood who died in 1990.

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Andrew Wood

Andrew Wood was the lead singer of Mother Love Bone, known to be one of the founding fathers of grunge–one who defined the grunge movement. Wood struggled with drug addiction and was in and out of rehab until  March 16, 1990, when he was found dead from a heroin overdose.

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Chris Cornell with Andrew Wood

“Right after Andy died, we [Soundgarden] went to Europe, and it was horrible, because I couldn’t talk about it, and there was no one who had loved him around. I wrote two songs, “Reach Down” and “Say Hello 2 Heaven”. That was pretty much how I dealt with it. When we came back, I recorded them right away. They seemed different from what Soundgarden naturally does, and they seemed to fit together. They seemed like music he would like. I got the idea to release them as a single, and to get at least Stone and Jeff, or all of Love Bone, to play on it. I had the idea for a couple days, then, with an artist’s lack of self-confidence, I decided it was a stupid idea. Somehow those guys heard the tape, and they were really, really excited. Stone and Jeff and our drummer, Matt, had been working on a demo for what ended up being Pearl Jam, so we had the idea that we would make an EP or a record, and maybe even do some of Andy’s solo songs.” – Chris Cornell

As Mother Love Bone dissolved, the bassist (Jeff Ament) and guitarist (Stone Gossard) came together to form Temple of the Dog which also included Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell (singer) and Matt Cameron (drummer).

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The album was released in late 1990. Not long after that, Pearl Jam arrived to the scene. It was Pearl Jam’s album “Ten” that bolstered the way for the success of Temple of the Dog’s album. The song “Hunger Strike” which featured Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder on vocals quickly shot the album up the charts helping it to reach the Top Ten and the album went platinum in 1992.

Track Listing:

  1. Say Hello to Heaven
  2. Reach Down
  3. Hunger Strike
  4. Pushin Forward Back
  5. Call me a Dog
  6. Times of Trouble
  7. Wooden Jesus
  8. Your Savior
  9. Four Walled World
  10. All Night Thing

Hunger Strike


“Say Hello 2 Heaven” was released as the second single from the album. This song was a pronounced dedication to the late Andrew Wood.

The song reached number five on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Continue reading “Temple of the Dog”