Following the ascent of Nirvana, the Cure, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the latest graduate of the indie rock ghetto is a band that never actually existed. Temple of the Dog, a one-time-only grouping of Seattle musicians (including members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam), is alternative rock’s latest surprise smash. The band’s eponymous album has rocketed into the top 20 of the Billboard pop album chart.
Temple of the Dog — a tribute to Andrew Wood, lead singer for Seattle group Mother Love Bone, who died of a heroin overdose in 1990 — was first released more than a year ago and went nowhere. But that was before Seattle bands began invading the charts. A&M Records decided to relaunch Temple on June 1, along with a reedited video for the song ”Hunger Strike.” Featuring Pearl Jam’s lead singer Eddie Vedder and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, the video debuted on MTV last month and the album began to chart a week later. The resuscitation is ”based on the muscle of MTV — and the song delivers,” says Jim Guerinot, A&M’s senior VP of marketing. ”I don’t think that anyone would have paid attention if ‘Hunger Strike’ wasn’t a great song.”