Guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament had played together in the pioneering grunge band Green River. Following Green River's dissolution in 1987, Ament and Gossard played together in Mother Love Bone during the late 1980s. Mother Love Bone's career was cut short when vocalist Andrew Wood died of a drug overdose in 1990, shortly before the release of the group's debut album, Apple. Devastated, it took months before Gossard and Ament agreed to play together again. Gossard spent his time afterwards writing material that was harder-edged than what he had been doing previously. After a few months, Gossard started practicing with fellow Seattle guitarist Mike McCready, whose band Shadow had broken up; McCready in turn encouraged Gossard to reconnect with Ament. The three then went into the studio for separate sessions with Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron and former Shadow drummer Chris Friel to record some instrumental demos. Five of the songs recorded—"Dollar Short", "Agytian Crave", "Footsteps", "Richard's E", and "E Ballad"—were compiled onto a tape called Stone Gossard Demos '91 that was circulated in the hopes of finding a singer and drummer for the trio.