The legendary grunge supergroup Temple of The Dog have officially announced their first ever tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their meaningful seminal album Temple of The Dog (A&M, 1991).
The group composed of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell and future Pearl Jam members Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready and Matt Cameron (also Soundgarden‘s drummer) was created following the death of Andrew Wood, the frontman of Mother Love Bone (which featured the Pearl Jam members) and Cornell‘s roommate.
The album was a tribute album written by primarily by Cornell with certain songs by Ament and Gossard and recorded in November 1990 following the tragic death of Andrew Wood. The idea was to simply get away from the death of a close friend and replace it with the music for just a short time.
After becoming friends with the band, a young Eddie Vedder sat in on most sessions and one most importantly when Cornell began struggling with the album’s lead single “Hunger Strike”, Vedder stepped in and sung a portion in what Cornell later described as “exactly the way I was thinking about doing it, just instinctively” which led to Vedder and Cornell singing the track together on the album and kickstarting Vedder‘s career.
The album failed to chart yet “Hunger Strike” received some good chart attention in 1991, the album quickly became a cult favourite until the summer of 1992. A&M Records discovered that they had Temple of The Dog in their catalogue, just as Soundgarden and Pearl Jam were the 2/5 of the big mainstream grunge bands (also Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains). They re-released the album and it was one of the top 100 albums of 1992.
Temple of The Dog have only played live nine times in their history, but a large majority of times were simply Cornell joining Pearl Jam at certain tour dates (like Lollapalooza 1992) to preform “Hunger Strike”. The most recent was at the PJ20 two-night festival by Pearl Jam where Cornell joined the band to preform two four-song sets, the first including Mother Love Bone‘s “Stardog Champion”, “Say Hello 2 Heaven”, “Reach Down” and “Hunger Strike” while the second night they preformed “Hunger Strike”, “Call Me A Dog”, “All Night Thing” and “Reach Down”.
The upcoming setlists will likely include the entire Temple of The Dog album and a few Mother Love Bone covers. I’ll be very surprised to hear any Soundgarden, Chris Cornell, Pearl Jam or anything else on the sets, but hey, I’d never thought Temple of The Dog would preform again especially not in a tour capacity.
At this time, it is unconfirmed if Eddie Vedder will be joining the band each night to preform “Hunger Strike” and backing for the songs he did on the record since his name wasn’t featured in the announcement video. However, it’d be a safe bet that he’ll be there on the final night at the Paramount in Seattle.
It’ll be an amazing experience to see Temple of The Dog, so we recommend making sure you grab tickets if you leave in the United States. Check out a breathtaking performance of “Hunger Strike” at the PJ20 Night Two, the latest time they’ve preformed it.