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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

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!
dan3knight
miss ya Layne
unipedal
rip brothers
I grew up a few blocks from Layne in Lynnwood Wa. I remember a young 16 year old Mr Staley playing with his high school band at the Lynnwood roll away. Never saw such a little bugger with such a crazy set of pipes. It's him and Chris C... Seattle music in the 90's. Best, talent ever assembled!
Alice in chains
I love the Seattle bands of the 90's especially AIC but never heard of Mad Season. Looks like I will have to buy some of their music too I love Layne's voice he sings so effortlessly . RIP Layne.
No one sings pain and misery like layne such a lost talent
Love this band
jterrizzi2
great music in the 80s & 90s I can listen to any band with Layne singing!
Pandora keeps playing this n I'm good with that R.I.P. Layne and Mike
I listened to a lot of the Seattle sound in the mid-'90s, yet I somehow missed Mad Season. It wasn't until 2006 when I got a copy of their only album. I played it once and kind of forgot about it. A few months after that I put the Mad Season album in my CD changer, again, and spent some time with it. And my goodness, what a fantastic piece of art the entire thing is. Layne was truly something else. What a voice. Incredible musicianship from all the members of the band.
Layne Staley a born natural
What an incredibly great album !!! played it to death for like the first two years did it was out..my soundtrack for the mid to late 90's a time when their were frequent unpleasentri e s . . . s u c h a perfect fit.. it seems my whole musical life was predetermine d an orchestrated just perfectly !!!
Layne had an awesome voice. I wish I had it.
best voice of our generation that never gets talked about, love niravana also, however laynes talents overshadow kurts by a ton
I spent a lot of time with Baker and Otis and mikey zerachas out at the farm never new he was gone till just now what small fukin world we waste everyday
Layne got me through high school. Had/have depression. Layne, you are an angel and your voice inspires me because I know.
Epic band staleys pain was self chosen and he really was a poet of pain and could translate his angst into beautiful music the guy was a legend in my eyes
Haunting tune.. love the lyrics
lakoehler
This ain't no Justin Bieber or Lady GaGa but I guess it's not bad
Woweee wow!
Damn wish ya'll would play I'm Above
Aljoy 35. Hey man nirvana came on the music circuit at the same time all the other bands you mentioned for exampke pj tenl album came out too weeks before nevermind. They all exploded at the same time
Our pain is self chosen
This band flowed perfect together.
Cool song with the percussion and the Sax! Layne's Voice is the Best!
rogerblocke
If you were a male child born to an abusive man hating lesbian you would have been caught up in drug abuse as well...Anyth i n g to put your brain to sleep
@ marshallpete r s o n 1 9 : I feel the exact same way. I've heard AIC on the radio for years throughout the 90's but never bothered to buy any album until just recently. The more I listen to these songs and the more I read about Layne and the depression he experienced the more it made me sad and appreciate the music and his talent even more.
It's sad. I've listened to alot of Alice in Chains, but recently I've learned more and it's sad to hear the passing and depression Layne was put through. Only wish I could know what he would've been singing about if he was still here...
wow Layne Staley had the pipes
This reminds me of my big sister. I love you Yoly. RIP
I seem to always discover bands after they have passed. I can't believe I missed Mad Season! Layne's voice was awesome. Wish I could have met him to say hello and thank you.

Although 55 yo, I love music and new and old and classic. Layne has a Classic voice!

God Rest Your Soul and Voice Layne!

Thank You!!
I could not agree more Paulie
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