Alice Mudgarden

Come Together: The Forgotten Collaborations of the “Grunge” Scene

Mad Season and Temple of the Dog may have been the two most notable grunge "supergroups" but they weren't the only ones.

We all know about Temple of the Dog, Mad Season, and all the other “supergroups” that hit the mainstream. But there were a number of other collaborations of high-profile musicians that happened with much less hype. Some of these projects were one-off collaborations, while others were planned projects that fizzled. Let’s take a look at some of the forgotten collaborations of the northwest music scene.

Alice Mudgarden

  • Layne Staley- vocal
  • Chris Cornell- vocal
  • Mark Arm- vocal
  • Jerry Cantrell- vocal, guitar
  • Mike Starr- bass
  • Sean Kinney- drums, percussion

The name is a combination of the bands of the three vocalists (Alice in Chains, Mudhoney and Soundgarden). According to Mark Arm in the book Grunge is Dead, Jerry Cantrell reached out to him to sing on the album, but Arm was reluctant to take part. “I was surprised, liked, ‘Why would you want me to sing?’” The result is “Right Turn” that appeared on the Alice in Chains Sap EP. Despite the appearances of Cornell and Arm, the song was not released as a single and never caught on commerically.

Beat Happening/Screaming Trees

  • Mark Lanegan
  • Calvin Johnson
  • Heather Lewis
  • Lee Conner
  • Bret Lunsford
  • Van Conner
  • Mark Pickerel

In 1988, Beat Happening and Screaming Trees had the fantastic idea to record an EP together. It's not clear how this project came to be in fruition, though it's possible it came together through mutual colleague Steve Fisk, who ended up producing this EP. Lee Conner has said that the band met Calvin Johnson after the first Screaming Trees show, that took place in Olympia.

Unlike some of the other collaborations on this list, this one was completely realized, although the output was only the four songs. Despite that, the four songs are an incredible combination of the best of both Beat Happening and Screaming Trees. Beat Happening's Johnson takes the lead on "Tales of Brave Aphrodite" and the closing track "I Dig You", while Lewis sings lead on "Sea Babies." Lanegan's only vocal track is the amazing "Polly Pereguinn," a song that Kurt Cobain thought was the best pop song of the 1980s.

The self-titled EP is long out-of-print, but the four songs are available on the Beat Happening Music to Climb the Apple Tree By compilation. The album has significant value for the Beat Happening tracks, obviously, but the four Beat Happening/Screaming Trees songs are not to be missed.

Built to Spill Caustic Resin

  • Doug Martsch- vocal, guitar
  • Brett Nelson- guitar, vocal
  • Tom Romich- bass
  • James Dillion- drums, percussion

Built to Spill and Caustic Resin, two stalwarts of the Boise scene, recorded a self-titled EP on Up Records, released in 1995. Built to Spill’s Martsch and Caustic Resin’s Nelson traded off on vocals. The two bands toured together the same year.

The Cradle Robbers

  • Rebecca Gates
  • Lois Maffeo

Not much is known about this collaboration between Rebecca Gates of the Spinanes and solo artist Lois Maffeo. They released one song, "Sotto Voce" on the 1995 compilation, Red Hot + Bothered/Indie Rock Guide To Dating.

Eddy & The Back Nine

  • Ed Fotheringham- vocal
  • Bill Campbell- guitar
  • Paul Schurr- bass
  • Rusty Willoughby- drums, percussion

This collaboration of Ed Fotheringham and Flop recorded one four-song, golf-themed EP on Steve Turner's defunct SuperElectro label in 1993.

The Impostors 6

  • Chris Ballew
  • Kim Thayil
  • Conrad Uno
  • Kurt Bloch
  • Dave Dederer
  • Jason Finn

The Imposters 6 was a one-off collaboration featuring members of Soundgarden, the Fastbacks and the Presidents of the United States of America along with producer Conrad Uno. They recorded just one song, a cover of “New York Groove” for the 1997 Ace Frehley tribute, Return of the Comet.

The Jury

  • Mark Lanegan – vocals
  • Kurt Cobain – vocals, guitar
  • Krist Novoselic – bass
  • Mark Pickerel – drums

Considering Cobain’s involvement, it’s surprising that this project isn’t more well-known. This Screaming Trees/Nirvana collaboration was supposed to be a full album of originals before it became a Ledbelly cover band. Unfortunately, the project lost momentum after just two sessions and four songs. “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” was released on Mark Lanegan’s The Winding Sheet, while the three remaining songs remained in the Sub Pop vaults until its release on the 2006 Nirvana box set, With the Lights Out. (Read more about The Jury on Northwest Passage.)


  • Chris Cornell- vocal
  • Mike McCready- guitar
  • Jeff Ament- bass
  • Matt Cameron- drums, percussion

Essentially a Temple of the Dog reunion (minus Stone Gossard), M.A.C.C. (McCready/Ament/Cornell/Cameron) recorded one song "Hey Baby (Land of the Rising Sun)" for the Stone Free Jimi Hendrix tribute album in 1993. This song is the band’s only known recording. It has never been played live.


  • Ayne St. Martin- vocals
  • Kim Warnick- guitar
  • Kurt Bloch- guitar (?)
  • Maryellen Cooley- bass
  • Lulu Gargiulo- drums

Motorhoney was a short-term side project that released two singles and one track on a Danmed tribute album (Another Damned Seattle Compilation, which featured "Psychomania"). Various sources differ on whether Fastback Kurt Bloch was part of the band.

No WTO Combo

  • Jello Biafra- vocal
  • Kim Thayil- guitar
  • Krist Novoselic- bass
  • Gina Mainwal – drums

This band started during the infamous protests of the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, consisting of Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys); guitarist Kim Thayil (Soundgarden); bassist Krist Novoselic (Nirvana) and Gina Mainwal on drums.

They were originally scheduled to play a show at the Showbox in Seattle on November 30, 1999, the night before the WTO meeting, but it was canceled due to the Showbox staff not being able to get through the police "curfew zone". The band rescheduled the show for the next night, December 1. The recording of the show was later mixed by Jack Endino, leading to the bands' only release, Live from the Battle in Seattle, on Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label. The band rehearsed just three times before their one performance. This project is notable for being one of Thayil's rare performances between the breakup and reunion of Soundgarden.

The Spells

  • Carrie Brownstein
  • Mary Timony

The Spells were the first recorded collaboration of Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney) and Mary Timony (Helium). They released just two EPs, including The Age of Backwards, which was released on K Records in 1999. Brownstein and Timony’s next collaboration, Wild Flag, turned out to be a more “official” band, with a full-length release and a national tour. Brownstein and Timony reunited to release a second EP as The Spells, the Bat vs. Bird EP of 2008.

$10,000 Gold Chain

  • Tyler Willman- vocal
  • Mike McCready- guitar
  • Tim Dijulio- guitar
  • Mari Anne Braeden- bass, vocal
  • Chris Friel- drums, percussion

Collaboration of members of Green Apple Quick Step (Willman and Braeden), Pearl Jam (McCready), Goodness (Friel), and Lazy Suzan (Dijuilo). Recorded one Lou Reed cover "Oh! Sweet Nothin'" for the soundtrack to The Cable Guy.

Northwest Passage

Northwest Passage is an exploration of the music scene centered around Seattle in the 80s and 90s. This project looks at all aspects of the rock scene, not just the part that became known as the "grunge explosion." Learn more about Northwest Passage