MOTHER LOVE BONE REMEMBERED
ANDY WOOD: THE LAST INTERVIEW
from RIP Magazine, December 1990
by: Michael Browning
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. It 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 'That Girl' (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 how 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 kinds 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...I 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.
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.
Link to the site: http://www.angelfire.com/wa/olympus/