We Toured Young: Mookie Blaylock and Alice in Chains 1991

by John Reynolds on February 19, 2011

Alice in Chains / Mookie Blaylock Feb 1, 1991

After just a handful of shows in 1990 and January 1991, Pearl Jam’s – aka Mookie Blaylock’s – first tour proper is extremely well documented, was attended by tons of people who are still Pearl Jam fans, and we have setlists and audio of every show.  Sigh, if only that were the truth. Regardless, we’ll take a look at what we do have and highlight many additions to the Pearl Jam Concert Chronology.

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For starters, Alice in Chains gave Mookie Blaylock a significant advantage when they opened their shows.  Alice in Chains – signed to Columbia Records and just off a long tour opening up for Iggy Pop – had a buzz of their own, and were about to tour the West Coast in a climate where ’80s Hair Metal was fading as fast as Seattle’s reputation was rising.

After their debut on October 22 at the Off-Ramp and a December 19 gig at the Vogue, Mookie Blaylock played shows for the next few months exclusively opening for Alice in Chains and grew roots in Washington, Oregon and California to allow for successful returns later in the year.

From an Alice in Chains’s fan standpoint, you could call this the “Facelift Winter Tour 1991″, but for Mookie Blaylock the tour was a blank canvas. For the sake of brevity and the requirement of a little bias, let’s call this lovely alliance: Mookie Blaylock + Alice in Chains = MBAIC. And, yeah, it’s Mookie Blaylock we’re talking about here, so it’s pronounced “Mooooooo-BAY-ick” :)

Men in the Box

First, let’s recap December 1990 for Mookie Blaylock:

Mookie Blaylock Poster 1991-01-10

1/11/91 Vancouver

Next, let’s look at the start of 1991. Not wasting any time, it appears MBAIC (see, it’s catchy, no?) couldn’t wait to take advantage of the exchange rate and head north for stronger beer. It’s somewhat been known but not well documented that MBAIC played not one, but two shows in January:

01/10/2010: Harpo’s, Victoria, BC
Known show at this ~250-person capacity club

01/11/1991: Town Pump, Vancouver, BC
MBAIC at Town Pump – new addition to the Concert Chronology. (Thanks to Randy Osenenko for the setlist and Andrew Brenner for digging it back up)

The Jan 10th show got some interesting press recently. Last August, blogger Jeremy Baker posted an article showing some awesome close-up photos taken by local photographer Al Ford.  Seeing photos posted nearly 20 years after they occurred gives hope to any undocumented show out there.

Then you may have noticed when we updated the Concert Chronology with the poster for this show, that one of the promoters, Marcus Pollard, found our article and commented that they played the Town Pump the next night and that the  “poster was identical except for the date and venue”.

We Toured Young

Presumably then, after a lot of practicing, Mookie Blaylock hit the road supporting Alice in Chains for most of February; starting and ending the tour at the Off-Ramp in Seattle. The tour listing below was compiled with the help of

  1. 1991 tour info originally from the 5H Concert Chronology
  2. The creation a few years ago of the setlist archive on PearlJam.com
  3. Cross-referencing against the Alice in Chains Concert Chronology maintained by our friend, John Bacus
  4. The wonderful findings of our BLFF (that’s “Best Librarian Friend Forever”) Kelly Giles
  5. TFT Research and New info that has emerged

Here are the shows. Were you there? We’d love to hear from you!

02/01/91:  Off-Ramp, Seattle, WA
Amazing to think this tour started out with a 1-color Xeroxed hot-pink poster / flyer

02/??/91:  Spokane, WA
Unconfirmed. Long before pollstar.com, Pollstar existed as a print trade magazine and this show was shown in an early tour listing for Alice in Chains. Anyone know anything about it?

02/??/91: Concrete, WA
Unconfirmed. Another listed on an old Pollstar tour listing for Alice in Chains. Know something about this too?

02/07/91: Florentine Gardens, Los Angeles, CA
if the previous two shows didn’t happen, this is probably the “start” of the tour, at the heart of the declining ’80s hair-metal scene. An audio recording of this show exists.  Until other recording or setlist information emerges, this show includes the first known performances of “Garden”, “Porch” and “Why Go”

02/08/91: God Save The Queen, Long Beach, CA
Mookie Blaylock actually played this show sans Alice in Chains. Why’s that? The buzz around Alice in Chains had already started, and they were instead invited to play the KNAC (L.A. rock station) Fifth Anniversary show at the much larger Long Beach Arena.  Also on the bill at that show were Ozzy Osbourne, L.A. Guns, and Lynch Mob. Locals Green Jellÿ – then known as Green Jellö of “3 Little Pigs” fame and featuring Tool’s Danny Carey – instead were the headliners. (Source: Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA)-January 27, 1991)

02/09/91: The Marquee, Westminster, CA
Another unconfirmed show also listed on an old Pollstar tour listing for Alice in Chains. The location makes sense, as it’s just about 12 miles from Long Beach. Anyone know anything about it?

02/10/91: The Bacchanal, San Diego, CA
The Bacchanal is an old haunt where Ed’s old band Bad Radio played. There is brief video footage of Eddie on stage singing with AIC, sharing the microphone with Jerry Cantrell.

02/11/91: Club With No Name, Los Angeles, CA
A short set (Wash, Once, Even Flow, Breath, Porch) where Ed discusses the band’s name and that they are expecting a call from Mookie’s lawyer demanding the band change their name “like tomorrow … probably the next time it’s gonna be a different name … like … Nuclear Love Frogs.”).  We’re thankful that didn’t happen, or we’d be celebrating NLF20 right now. Check out the fan-shot “Breath” video below.

02/12/91: The Cathouse: Los Angeles, CA
This show is new to the Concert Chronology, but was listed previously on PearlJam.com. It may not have raised our ears at the time, but a poster collage in TEN Super Deluxe Box Set showed this Cathouse show. Funny also that the Daily News of Los Angeles must not have had a high music or basketball acumen, because they were listed on the bill as “Mooky Blaylock”

02/13/91: Winters:  San Diego, CA
This second gig in San Diego with his new band and was well attended by his friends, including Bad Radio bandmates. We know this because the “early Ten demos” were given by Ed to a Bad Radio bandmate at this show.

02/14/91: Real Rock Club, Oakland, CA
This show is new to the Concert Chronology, and was not previously on the Concert Chronology or the Alice in Chains Concert Chronology. It’s on PearlJam.com, so we’ll take their word for it. Hey Oaklandians, did you spend your Valentine’s Day here?

02/15/91: The I-Beam, San Francisco
This is one of the few venues that the band played as both Mookie Blaylock and Pearl Jam in 1991. The I-Beam a few years later in 1994 after a long battle with neighbors over sound issues. Known as a full-volume act, Pearl Jam probably did nothing to help this cause. Billed as the “Call of the Northwest”, this show featured Alice in Chains and Screaming Trees

02/16/91: Cattle Club, Sacramento, CA
Currently noted in the CC, the smallish crowd is clearly there for AIC and most attendees are drinking and only 30 people or so are watching the Mookie set. A lively set, opening with a slow song and then launching into a rocker – Ed’s passion showing and the whole band all over the place with hungry energy in this tiny venue (a former desolate Chinese restaurant and off-again/on-again gay bar).

02/17/91: Union Trade Hall Woodmen of the World Hall: Eugene, OR
This show is new to the Concert Chronology, and it was known that Mookie Blaylock played this venue sometime in 1991, but PearlJam.com and AIC CC dates match up.

02/20/91: Melody Ballroom, Portland, OR
It’s odd to us that there would be two shows in Oregon with two off-days in-between, but there are no leads for any shows on Feb 18 or 19. Check out the Melody Tavern Handbill for this show.

02/25/91: Off-Ramp, Seattle, WA
Now home a few week’s later, this show was originally listed as Feb 22, but actually occurred on Feb 25, with an interesting connection. From “On the benefit front: Alice in Chains headlines one Monday at the Off Ramp for injured roadie Eric Johnson, aka Gunny Juke. The busy band shares the bill with Mookie Blaylock – made up of former members of Mother Love Bone – Blind Horse, Best Kissers in the World, Kim Virant and Tim D’Julio.” Eric Johnson … that name sounds familiar. Yep, Eric Johnson was Pearl Jam’s Tour Manager in the early 1990s.  On top of that, the injury in question was incurred at the November 13, 1990 Temple of the Dog show. (Source: The Seattle Times, Febuary 22, 1991)

1991 Poster collage

From the TEN deluxe set, a collage of 1991 posters

The Names They Are A’Changin

Stay tuned for more info on how Mookie Blaylock rolled off of the Alice in Chains tour, jumped right back on stage, and assumed a new name.

Special thanks to those who helped with this article

  • Marcus Pollard
  • John Bacus
  • Kelly Giles
John Reynolds ( Twitter: @jjjrrr )
A New Jersey based programmer, John handles TFT’s programming and technical aspects. He also conceives and writes his share of TFT’s articles and sections. John’s first Pearl Jam show was at Lollapalooza on August 12, 1992.

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