9. Mad Season - Artificial Red
Mad Season was a supergroup that consisted of members from Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Screaming Trees. Recovery from drug addiction was the spark that lit the creative fuse. Guitarist Mike McCready met bassist John Baker Saunders in a Minnesota rehab center.
The two met up after leaving rehab and began writing. In an effort to surround Alice in Chains vocalist Layne Staley with “sober musicians”, Staley was brought on board. Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin officially completed the lineup.
The group only released one album, Above, in 1995. The album openly focused on the trials and tribulations of opiate addiction. The album’s fifth track, Artificial Red, tackles this dark subject within the warm cocoon of 12-bar blues.
The song itself was mostly composed on-stage during the band’s first gig. Artificial Red exposes the challenge of addiction recovery, specifically in regard to methadone clinics.
Three tracks were chosen to be singles. Two of the album’s strongest songs, Artificial Red and Wake Up, were not among the three.
On an album rife with heavy emotional content, Artificial Red manages to have just a little bit of fun with it.