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Mad Season

Quite a few side projects containing members of renowned Seattle-based rock bands appeared through the '90s. Most failed to expand past a small cult following comprised mainly of fans of their main bands (Brad, the Rockfords, Three Fish, Tuatara, etc.), but there were a few exceptions to rule, especially Temple of the Dog and Mad Season. The latter outfit included members of Alice in Chains (vocalist Layne Staley), Pearl Jam (guitarist Mike McCready), and the Screaming Trees (drummer Barrett Martin), as well as the only non-Seattle based musician, bassist John Baker Saunders (who previously played with such blues artists as Hubert Sumlin and the Lamont Cranston Band, among others).

The band's roots go back to the summer of 1994, when McCready checked himself into a Minneapolis, MN, rehab center to battle a drinking/substance problem. It was there that McCready met local musician Saunders, and when he returned back to Seattle, called up Staley, who was also at the time attempting to battle problems with substances. With Martin rounding out the lineup, an undeniable chemistry between all four musicians was discovered at their very first jam session, resulting in bits of music that would eventually become fully realized songs ("Wake Up" and "River of Deceit"). Going by the name of the Gacy Bunch (which paid homage to both brutal serial killer John Wayne Gacy and the corny TV show The Brady Bunch), the quartet made its live debut on Sunday, October 16, 1994, at Seattle's Crocodile Cafe. Amazingly, the group had few songs written at the time of the show (Martin later admitted that the group really had "only jams and beginnings of songs" prepared at the time), but the performance convinced the participants that a subsequent studio recording would be in cards.

Changing their name to Mad Season (an English expression for the time of year when hallucinogenic "psilocybin" mushrooms are in full bloom), the quartet set up shop at Seattle's Bad Animals recording studio, co-producing the subsequent sessions themselves along with Pearl Jam's sound engineer, Brett Eliason. Mad Season gave fans a taste of their upcoming album by performing a pair of songs on Pearl Jam's Self-Pollution Radio program on January 8, 1995, before the resulting ten-track album, Above, was officially issued in March. A mix of melancholy ballads and hard rock, the album (which also featured a few vocal contributions from Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan) proved to be a gold-certified hit, just missing the U.S. Top 20 while its leadoff single, "River of Deceit," became a major rock radio hit.

Despite a smattering of supporting live dates and talk of further writing/recording, Mad Season would ultimately prove to be a one-off project. Later in 1995, a live home video of a Seattle performance Live at the Moore, was issued, as was a cover of John Lennon's "I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier" for the Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon album. Reportedly, songs were penned for another Mad Season album, which ultimately went unrecorded. Mad Season then supposedly thought about replacing Staley with Lanegan (and changing their name to Disinformation), but no songs were recorded -- resulting in the musicians going their separate ways for good. Sadly, this proved to be the final word on Mad Season as both Saunders and Staley would eventually die from drug overdoses. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Comments

So sad I never got to experience layne in a live environment his voice amazing
melinda.odon n e l l 5
What a great super group!!' Layne was the best and the worst.. I. E . Addict
LAYNE T STALEY!!! One of a kind , never be another like him , scares me to think of that! No other with the voice, heart and soul !! makes me sad to think of how long he was all alone!!
Great Album :-)
Makes me think of my brother that passed away in 2010.
What a great album, brings back so many awesome memories
Greatest Voice EVER!
skyhawk72342
There will never be another voice like Layne's!!!
Wake up wake up your love affair has got to go!!!!
justinmgipe
was just thinking that, xargonitex
xargonitex
What happened to the album picture?
Staley rules.......
RIParidise, I hope U found your Love Demri <3
One of a kind frontman
Great song.now Jak! I will get u soon as u get off work..man boy.
Great song.Hell artificial ads. Ya damn right.Hell it's free n I like it....
Damn right it's good.
Hell I'm going to FKK em em up yaw.ya damn right this I MR Jackson.ya damn right I am.
Yes it is an artificial red!! My so called friends!! I just told them FKK you!! I did after I got left behind!!!
Would som1 help me paddle up this river? Current is strong!! Great song.
This is one of my fave tunes from mad season! Kinda sexy sounding, but dam it he was sexy!!! RIP , miss ya!
Hell I'm in the ship n the FKN river!!! Full steam!! Yes this is great! Damn song !!
Love river ov Dec. Poetry or damn neer!
bartjwagner
Live fast die young n leave a good lookin corpse! Miss n love you Layne!!
Rip layne staley sex drugs and rock & roll
We miss them greatly....
November hotel!!!!!
Every time I listen to Mad Season, I get really sad for some reason. RIP Staley and Saunders, gone way too soon. Layne's voice was so one of a kind. It's a shame that I'll never hear such a voice in person. If only he realized how talented he was...
Layne Staley Rules!!!
pitbullcin
Happy Birthday, Layne. We miss you.
bkislesky
good tune
Mad Season best band ever assembeled
Mad Season is one of my favorite bands and I really wish they were still around!
R. I. P. Layne Staley and John Saunders!
Proud to say I was born & raised for 40 yrs in Seattle, and was in the 25th row of The Moore Theatre to experience the BEAUTIFUL memory of Mad Season live!!!! Such a special night...I will NEVER forget it!!!
cupcake_ks
so many memories flooding back from my teen years. RIP Layne.
good lyrics ,really hit home in the yime of my dyeing on so many levels ican relate to the all while i battled my demons and how every one left me to way side ,isaddenedev r y cryed foe days after layne left us ,but him being gone told me one thing --whene ur dead - thats it ---ur dead shows over and i really didnt want to go out like that love to layne and saunders ull be missed will see u then
my heart is so heavy right now...R.I.P. Layne
my heart is so heavy right now...R.I.P. Layne
my heart is so heavy right now...R.I.P. Layne
ukiddi
Yes Love & Respect to Layne! Best vocalist for our generation!
matthewaldao
Layne staley best vocalist ever hands down
toddel2112
at one point, myself like many others (dont get me wrong, its still a badass #2) thought love, hate, love was Staley's greatest achievement. . . W h e n i wrapped my ears and brain around Wake up , love, hate, love (still a vocal rollercoaste r unequalled by anyone) somehow for me became slightly less important... w i t h wake up (bein' an addict in recovery) speaks to me in a way i cannot describe... as close to having a conversation with a deadman tryin' to tell me, don't follow...
Perhaps one of the greatest "one off" projects of all time containing multple very talented artists of a craazy moment in time.
loooooove ............ . . . . . . .
Your an idiot! Herpes! Really? First of all herpes isn't something that can kill you. At best he could have got a staph infection and died from that, but not herpes... But those of us who were alive when he died and can remember him in the media know that he died from a syringe full of heroin.
steelejacs
I feel ya Layne
Layne died of herpies. That's the truth they don't want you to know!
raeraeact
I'm Above… love that song!
raeraeact
I'm Above…love that song!
raeraeact
Love this song!
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