Andrew Wood (singer)

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Andrew Wood
Wood (front) with Mother Love Bone in 1989
Wood (front) with Mother Love Bone in 1989
Background information
Birth nameAndrew Patrick Wood
Also known as
  • Andy Wood
  • Landrew the Love Child
  • "Man of Golden Words"
Born(1966-01-08)January 8, 1966
Columbus, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedMarch 19, 1990(1990-03-19) (aged 24)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
GenresAlternative rock, grunge, glam rock
Occupation(s)Singer, musician, songwriter
Instrument(s)Vocals, bass guitar, piano
Years active1980–1990
Formerly ofMalfunkshun, Mother Love Bone

Andrew Patrick Wood (January 8, 1966 – March 19, 1990) was an American musician who was the lead singer and lyricist for the alternative rock bands Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone. Wood formed Malfunkshun in 1980 with his older brother Kevin Wood on guitar and Regan Hagar on drums. The band used alter ego personas onstage, with Wood using the name Landrew the Love Child. Though the band only had two songs released, "With Yo' Heart (Not Yo' Hands)" and "Stars-n-You", on the Deep Six compilation album, they are often cited as being among the "founding fathers" of the Seattle grunge movement. During his time in Malfunkshun, Wood started relying heavily on drugs, entering rehab in 1985.

By 1988, with Malfunkshun on hiatus, Wood began jamming with Green River members Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. They soon began writing original material and formed Mother Love Bone the same year, adding guitarist Bruce Fairweather (also a former member of Green River) and drummer Greg Gilmore to the lineup. The following year, the band signed a deal with PolyGram, issuing an EP, Shine, before going on tour, supporting The Dogs D'Amour. Towards the end of the year, the band recorded their debut album, Apple, which was scheduled for release in 1990.

Due to his struggle with drug dependence, Wood checked himself into rehab in 1989, hoping to get clean for the release of Mother Love Bone's debut album. He died in Seattle on March 19, 1990, at the age of 24, after being found in a comatose state by his girlfriend following a heroin overdose.

Early life[edit]

Wood was born on January 8, 1966, in Columbus, Mississippi,[1] to David C. Wood and Toni Wood, and raised in Bainbridge Island, Washington. He was the youngest of three children; he had two older brothers, Kevin and Brian.[2] Wood and his brothers were exposed to various types of music by their parents, who also supported their children when they were learning how to play instruments.[2] Wood became a fan of acts such as Elton John, Queen, Aerosmith, and Kiss.[1]


Malfunkshun (1980–1988)[edit]

Wood (right) with Malfunkshun in a 1980s promo photo

In 1980, at the age of 14, Wood formed Malfunkshun with his brother Kevin, recording their first demo tape in April 1980.[2] Drummer Regan Hagar joined soon after with the band, playing shows in Seattle, Washington.[2] Each member adopted onstage alter egos, with Andrew becoming Landrew the Love Child, Kevin becoming Kevinstein, and Hagar becoming Thundarr.[3] Unlike most grunge groups in Seattle, Malfunkshun were influenced by glam rock with Wood described as "a hippie, glammed-out rock & roll god, equal parts Marc Bolan and Jim Morrison,"[3] with his look and vocal style influenced by frontmen such as Freddie Mercury, Paul Stanley, and Marc Bolan.[4] Wood developed a drug habit at a young age, having smoked marijuana and cigarettes at the age of around 11 or 12. By 1985, he had started to rely heavily on drugs to help with his "rock star" persona, and entered rehab the same year.[3]

Malfunkshun recorded a number of demos in 1986, two of which, "With Yo' Heart (Not Yo' Hands)" and "Stars-n-You," were included on the "legendary"[5] Deep Six compilation album released by C/Z Records the same year.[2][6] The band continued to play shows in Seattle, opening for Soundgarden, The U-Men, and Skin Yard.[3][7] However, in 1988, Malfunkshun disbanded.[3]

Although the band never released an album and were also turned down by Sub Pop for "not [being] grunge enough,"[2] Malfunkshun, along with Green River, are often cited as "founding fathers" of the Seattle's grunge movement.[3]

Mother Love Bone and final years (1988–1990)[edit]

Wood and Hagar began playing with Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament of Green River, which disbanded in 1988,[4][8] performing, on occasion, as the cover band Lords of the Wasteland.[3] Former Green River guitarist Bruce Fairweather was added to the lineup, while former 10 Minute Warning and Skin Yard drummer Greg Gilmore replaced Hagar, forming Mother Love Bone the same year.[5][9]

The band soon signed a deal with PolyGram, and, through their own subsidiary label Stardog, issued a six-song EP, Shine, in 1989.[4] John Book, of Allmusic, stated that the EP "contributed to the buzz about the Seattle music scene."[10] The band spent the rest of the year touring, including shows supporting The Dogs D'Amour, and recording their debut album. With high expectations of the album, Wood checked himself into rehab due to his struggle with heroin addiction, hoping to get clean for the release of the album, staying there for the remainder of the year.[1][4]

In 1990, the band continued to play shows in Seattle, waiting for the release of their album, Apple.[1] Wood died only weeks before the release of the record. Some rock critics consider them to be one of the greatest bands of the grunge era.[11]


On March 16, 1990, Wood was found in a comatose state by his girlfriend, having overdosed on heroin.[1][12] He was taken to Harborview Hospital and placed on life support. On March 19, physicians suggested that Wood be removed from life support and he was pronounced dead at 3:15 pm that day.[1][2] The official cause of death recorded on Wood's death certificate is hypoxic encephalopathy. Wood's remains were cremated. His burial site is located at Miller-Woodlawn Memorial Park in Bremerton, Washington.[13]

Apple was released posthumously later in the year, receiving positive reviews.[14] David Browne of The New York Times wrote that "Apple may be one of the first great hard-rock records of the 90s" and that "Andrew Wood could have been the first of the big-league Seattle rock stars."[15]


Shortly following Wood's death, former roommate and friend Chris Cornell[2] of Soundgarden wrote two songs, "Reach Down" and "Say Hello 2 Heaven", as a tribute.[16][17] Cornell approached Gossard and Ament about releasing the songs as singles before collaborating on an album. Adding drummer Matt Cameron, future Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready, and future Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder, they formed Temple of the Dog in 1990 to pay tribute to Wood,[18][19] releasing one self-titled album in 1991.[18][19]

Fellow Seattle band Alice in Chains dedicated their debut album Facelift to Wood.[20] The song "Would?", included in their second album Dirt and on the soundtrack to the film Singles (1992), was written as an ode to Wood.[21] In the liner notes of Alice in Chains' Music Bank box set collection, Jerry Cantrell said of the song:

I was thinking a lot about Andrew Wood at the time. We always had a great time when we did hang out, much like Chris Cornell and I do. There was never really a serious moment or conversation, it was all fun. Andy was a hilarious guy, full of life and it was really sad to lose him. But I always hate people who judge the decisions others make. So it was also directed towards people who pass judgments.[22]

In 1992, PolyGram reissued both Shine and Apple as the compilation album Mother Love Bone,[4] while the song "Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns" was included on the soundtrack to the film Singles.[4] The same year, Los Angeles band Faster Pussycat wrote the song "Mr. Lovedog", from the album Whipped!, in tribute to Wood.[23] Bradley Torreano of Allmusic stated that the song "offered a sad elegy to another charismatic figure in the metal world."[23]

Seattle rock band War Babies, which briefly featured Mother Love Bone's Jeff Ament on bass, dedicated the song "Blue Tomorrow" off their eponymous 1992 debut album to Wood.[24] In 1993, Seattle grunge band Candlebox released their self-titled debut featuring the single "Far Behind", which was written in Wood's memory.[25]

Wood's former bandmate Stone Gossard compiled Malfunkshun recordings from 1986 to 1987[26] and released the studio album Return to Olympus through his Loosegroove Records label[2][26] in 1995.[3][26] In 2005, director Scot Barbour completed production on the documentary Malfunkshun: The Andrew Wood Story. The film documents Wood's music career[27] as well as his family background.[27] The film premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival.[27] In October of the same year, the film was screened at the FAIF Film Festival in Hollywood, California.[28] The film was released in 2011 on DVD as part of a 2CD+DVD set entitled "Malfunkshun: The Andrew Wood Story" including the Return to Olympus album, a bonus CD including many interviews and demos, and the movie on the DVD disc.[29]

In 2011, the album Melodies & Dreams was released. It featured unreleased songs and demos that Wood recorded throughout his life, including a song that he recorded with Chris Cornell, "Island of Summer",[30] which is the only existing recording with the two of them singing together.[31] Wood is featured in the 2011 documentary Pearl Jam Twenty, about the story of Pearl Jam. Friends including Chris Cornell, Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard talk about him in the film and home-made footage featuring Wood is shown.[32]


Title Release Label Band
Shine 1989 Stardog/Mercury Mother Love Bone
Apple 1990
Mother Love Bone 1992
Return to Olympus 1995 Loosegroove Malfunkshun

Other appearances[edit]

Year Album details Band Notes
1986 Deep Six Various Artists Compilation album;
two songs by Malfunkshun.


Year Video details US peak
chart position[33]
1993 The Love Bone Earth Affair 13 Mother Love Bone


  1. ^ a b c d e f Prato, Greg. "Andrew Wood Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Kevin Wood: Malfunkshun, Devilhead, Fireants, Hippie Glitz guitarist and brother to the late, great Andrew Wood". Full in Bloom Music. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Tinelli, Paul. "Malfunkshun Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Prato, Greg. "Mother Love Bone Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Ramirez, Marc (April 26, 1992). "Bliss Out – The Scene's A Moving Target". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  6. ^ Deep Six (booklet). Various Artists. C/Z Records. 1986.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  7. ^ Huey, Steve. "Skin Yard Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  8. ^ Huey, Steve. "Green River Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  9. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "10 Minute Warning Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  10. ^ Book, John. "Shine Review". Allmusic. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  11. ^ "Why Mother Love Bone Could Have Been The Greatest Grunge Band Ever". Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  12. ^ Appelo, Tim (July 24, 1992). "Twin Tragedy". Entertainment Weekly.
  13. ^ "Andrew Patrick Wood". Find a Grave.
  14. ^ "MOTHER LOVE BONE – APPLE Mother Love Bone Influential pre-grunge landmark re-emerges after years in limbo". Uncut. Archived from the original on September 13, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  15. ^ Browne, David (November 18, 1990). "RECORDINGS VIEW; Seattle Rock: Out of the Woods And Into the Wild". The New York Times.
  16. ^ Temple of the Dog (CD liner). Temple of the Dog. A&M Records. 1991.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  17. ^ Turman, Katherine (October 1991). "Life Rules". RIP. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ a b Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. "Temple of the Dog Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  19. ^ a b Browne, David (May 3, 1991). "Temple of the Dog (1991)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  20. ^ Facelift (CD liner). Alice in Chains. Columbia Records. 1990.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  21. ^ "Jerry Cantrell wrote Alice in Chains' "Would?" as a tribute to Andrew Wood from Mother Love Bone". YouTube. July 8, 2017. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  22. ^ Music Bank (CD liner). Alice in Chains. Columbia Records. 1999.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  23. ^ a b Torreano, Bradley. "Whipped! Review". Allmusic. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  24. ^ "Interview with War Babies Vocalist Brad Sinsel". April 18, 2008.
  25. ^ Rekindled :: Candlebox's Kevin Martin talks to AAM Archived November 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine All Access Magazine (July 24, 2008). Retrieved on 12-10-10.
  26. ^ a b c Prato, Greg. "Return to Olympus Review". Allmusic. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  27. ^ a b c Scanlon, Tom (September 16, 2005). "Pre- and post-grunge: Andrew Wood, folk scene". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  28. ^ "Documentary to Remember Mother Love Bone's Wood". Spin. October 3, 2005.
  29. ^ "Malfunkshun". Malfunkshun. Archived from the original on March 12, 2015. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  30. ^ "Chris Cornell – Island Of Summer (With Andrew Wood)". YouTube. July 14, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  31. ^ "Unreleased Song From Chris Cornell & Andrew Wood "Island of Summer" Coming Soon". Alternative Nation. June 27, 2011. Archived from the original on December 31, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  32. ^ "Cameron Crowe Says That Andrew Wood Was An Inspiration Behind Pearl Jam Twenty Film". Alternative Nation. December 22, 2011. Archived from the original on September 23, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  33. ^ "Mother Love Bone: Top Music Videos". Billboard. Retrieved March 9, 2009.[dead link]

External links[edit]