248: MAD SEASON

Formed in 1994, Mad Season were a supergroup of the Seattle scene featuring members of Pearl Jam, The Screaming Trees, and Alice in Chains.

While Mad Season only released one album (1994’s ‘Above’), it was no ordinary grunge album. Musically, Mad Season broke out of the standard sound that had become mainstream, utilising much more varied instrumentation, and taking influence from blues, jazz, and more.

For me, though, what made Mad Season truly special was the presence of the greatest vocalist in grunge – Layne Staley. Like he had often done with Alice in Chains, Staley’s lyrics here mostly dealt with his struggles with addiction, and were delivered by that voice – that pained, powerful, incredible voice.

Not long after the album was released, due to the members various schedules, as well as Staley’s increasing reclusiveness, Mad Season called it a day.

While there were various attempts at some sort of revival, nothing ever truly came to pass, and the deaths of Staley and bassist John Baker Saunders further cemented the ending of this band.

In amongst a movement of bands all trying to sound a certain way, Mad Season eschewed the tropes and created something different. For one short period, this group of heavy hitters did something unique.