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THE INTERCONNECTED SAGA
OF THE BANDS ON LOOSEGROOVE

by J. Letkemann

The histories of the bands on Loosegroove are long, chummy, and inextricable intertwined. On first glance, the only Pearl Jam connection is the fact that the label itself is Stone's, but look further than that and it's immediately apparent just how everything is linked to everything else. Loosegroove, as a result, seems like a presentation of these connections, as well as a forum for the previously undiscovered cool music that Stone has come across. Oh yeah, and there's a good reason Stone named it Loosegroove, cuz that's exactly what the music is.
So without further ado, here is the saga. Pay close attention, or you may get lost.
Let's start with Malfunkshun, one of the lesser known Pearl Jam precursors. Malfunkshun was Mother Love Bone front man Andy Wood's earlier band. Mother Love Bone, which featured both Jeff Ament and Stone, was the band that mutated into Pearl Jam after Andy's unfortunate demise in 1990. Several of Malfunkshun's songs, these recorded back in '83, have now been corralled into a compilation and released on Loosegroove. Listening to this music is odd because, you can begin to see the first hints of sound that came into focus in Mother Love Bone, and in Mother Love Bone you can hear musical elements that are in practice in Pearl Jam to this day. Aside from Andy Wood, his brother Kevin Wood and Regan Hagar (who went on to be in Brad, Stone's side project from two years ago, and now he's in Satchel with another member of Brad, Shawn Smith). Regan Hagar is also a co-founder of Loosegroove. Whew!
On to Critters Buggin, where the overt PJ connections continue. The band consists of Skerik on sax and guitar, John Bush on percussion, Brad Houser on bass and clarinet, and Matt Chamberlain on drums. Now, Matt Chamberlain, whose from San Pedro California just like Mike Watt, was actually Pearl Jam's drummer for a while in the early days. After he and Brad and John left Eddie Brickell and The New Bohemians (remember them?), Matt went on to play in the Saturday Night Live Band for a season. But ended up in Seattle in the summer of '91 to jam with some guys named Stone, Mike, Jeff, and Eddie after their first drummer jumped ship. Matt played drums for the boys from Mookie Blaylock for one tour, and yes, that's him in the "Alive" video. PJ found Dave A. and Matt ran off with his old band mates Brad and John. They jammed, and soon called themselves Critters Buggin, and recorded their tunes in Stone G's basement 24 track studio. Their sound is something else completely. The CD out on Loosegroove now, Guest , is nearly completely instrumental, but it's an odd fusion of rock, funk, jazz and a little twist of hip-hop. Impossible to categorize, but cool to hear. Go figure.
Okay, then there's Devilhead, If Andy Wood went onto be the frontispiece of Mother Love Bone, his bandmate and brother Kevin, went on to form Devilhead with their third brother Brian. There's a Soundgarden connection thrown in here too, cuz as far as I can gather, Ben Shepherd, SG's bassist, rounded up Devilhead guitarist and bassist, John McBain and John Waterman respectively, for his 1993 side project, Hater. The two brothers Wood also formed a band with an unnamed ex-Nirvana drummer for a while before forming Devilhead, but that must've been a disaster cuz they've refused to go into any details. So Devilhead, which also includes drummer Luke Kimble, is a weird musical amalgam with a confusing history. The music, if the tunes on their Loosegroove debut Your Ice Cream's Dirty are any indication, is a crazy kind of hook heavy scatological lounge-grunge. Shawn Smith, from Stone Gossard's side band Brad and later, Satchel, appears on the Devilhead song "Troubled Moon."
The Brad CD, Shame, which was released in 1993 on Sony Epic, has also been reissued on Loosegroove. But that connection has already been sufficiently explained.
Prose and Concepts and Weapon of Choice are the two Loosegroove bands who were not connected to Stone or PJ in any way. Stone just dug their music a great deal, and wanted to do something to help get their sounds more widely heard. Weapon of Choice is a five piece hip-hop-esque groove/funk crew from Los Angeles. Their debut, Nutmeg Sez Bozo The Town , is full of their musical "feelosophy," an idea they call "nutmeg," which roughly translated to "music untamed." Prose and Concepts are a big part of the tiny Seattle hip-hop scene. DJ Ace, Beatnik, MC Dope (one of PAC's vocal masters), Shark E, Mic Dub, and Rawi. Their music is based on the pursuit of the "rawness necessary to be a tight MC, and the intelligence necessary to be original." Their Loosegrove release is called "Procreations."
copyright 1995 Tickle My Nausea / J. Letkemann