Mother Love Bone Drummer Greg Gilmore Discusses ‘The Living: 1982’

2021-04-14

The Living press image, featuring Duff McKagan, John Conte, Todd Fleischman and Greg Gilmore.

The Living – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Marty Perez

Interview: Greg Gilmore of The Living and Mother Love Bone discusses The Living’s upcoming release and the early Seattle scene

Seattle punk mainstays The Living are giving their debut album a proper release for the first time. The album, now dubbed “The Living: 1982,” was recorded back in the early-1980s. The punk-fueled tunes will be available April 16 via Seattle-based Loosegroove Records, a record label owned by Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam and Regan Hagar of Satchel and Brad.

At its core, The Living featured a bevy of soon-to-be iconic musicians, including Guns N’ Roses Duff McKagan on guitar, Mother Love Bone drummer Greg Gilmore, vocalist John Conte and bass player Todd Fleischman.

“Seeing how excited people are about this album, it really comes better into focus for me,” Gilmore told Audio Ink Radio. “Up until Loosegroove started working with it, I had just loved this recording. It’s always been a monumental moment in my life and something that I felt really good about. It sounds great, and it was fun to make.”

He added, “I don’t know that I really had much of an understanding or a picture of the potential significance of it all, but there’s more there than I had originally thought. This album was just something I really loved, and I’m happy to see something finally happen to it.”

When asked what it was like working with a teenage McKagan just a few years before the bass player moved to California and joined Guns N’ Roses, Gilmore replied, “Duff was always fun and ready to go. He was just forward-leaning- inspired and inspiring. He was just a great guy to know and work with.”

“At that time, we were all just a bunch of kids, doing what young people do,” he added. “It was pretty innocent. People were a funny mix of serious and not serious- serious about playing, but not as serious about the business of it or the organizations. It was really about the playing. Seattle was a lot smaller. It’s a lot more cosmopolitan now. It used to be kind of an outpost, like a place where you would gas up on your way to Alaska.”

Following The Living, Gilmore joined Mother Love Bone. The promising band came to an end following the tragic death of frontman Andrew Wood, who died of a heroin overdose in 1990.

“It was a big deal for the scene,” Gilmore said of Wood’s passing. “He was a beloved character. He was a sweetheart to everybody. I remember at the time saying out loud that I expected something to happen eventually, but not so soon. Now, I’m not even sure why I was feeling that. I think it was not an expectation specifically about Andy. He was not an addict in a way that you typically think of that. You could know him and have no idea that he struggled with that. It wasn’t obvious. Maybe I felt like the band, in general, might not have had the cohesion to get through what challenges might have been ahead.”

Gilmore was a member of early Seattle scene, right around the time bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam were forming. Was he surprised by the eventual mainstream success of those bands?

“I guess I was,” Gilmore said. “Nirvana, I heard stuff early on, and I definitely didn’t expect that to do what it did. Same with Soundgarden. I never really expected what they were doing to connect with such an audience. Pearl Jam, maybe less surprised. I saw their first show with Eddie (Vedder), and it was pretty clear something was happening there.”

For more information about “The Living: 1982” and to pre-order the album, visit The Living’s pre-order page here. Find Audio Ink Radio’s recent interview with Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam about The Living’s release here.

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