Malfunkshun is a band formed in 1980 by Andrew Wood and his brother Kevin Wood. Malfunkshun, along with Green River and The Melvins are considered the "godfathers" of grunge.


Bainbridge Island, WA brothers Andrew and Kevin Wood, along with Dave Hunt and Dave Rees formed Malfunkshun, originally as a four-piece and not the power trio they became known as. David Hunt and Dave Rees played with Malfunkshun for only one show, the former on drums and the latter on bass. After Rees and Hunt left Andy took over bass and drummer Regan Hagar was recruited from Maggot Brains.

During Malfunkshun shows each band member had an alter ego. Andrew's was L'Andrew the Love Child, Kevin was Kevinstein and Regan became Thundarr. Kevin's stage persona wasn't as carved-in-stone as Andy's or Regan's, referred to sometimes as "the Axe-Handler" and even an early Malfunkshun poster hand-drawn by Andy Wood names him "Led Springsteen". Using makeup and flashy glam-style clothing in a nod to KISS, and other favorite bands, Malfunkshun was known for their dynamic live shows. As L'andrew, Andy was unpredictable and would wander the crowd during shows with his wireless Steinberger bass, and even stop shows to eat cereal, and throw the rest out to the crowd. Andrew became increasingly involved with drugs and in 1985 he checked into drug rehab. During this time Malfunkshun was put on hold.

When Andy returned from rehab the band started up again and contributed "With Yo' Heart (Not Yo' Hands)" and "Stars-n-You" to the Deep Six compilation by C/Z Records. Despite their densely distorted sound, Sub Pop, the label known as "the" grunge label, never took much of an interest in the band, turning them down for not being Grunge enough. This was fine with the band as they never thought of themselves as grunge to begin with. Although they were beginning to gain popularity they rarely headlined for their own shows.

Dissolving, but never formally disbanding, Malfunkshun took a back seat to jam sessions Andy Wood and Regan Hagar had been having with Green River members Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. These sessions were the beginnings of Lords Of The Wasteland, who would become Mother Love Bone after the addition of Greg Gilmore and Bruce Fairweather. Kevin formed Fire Ants in 1992 with his brother Brian and Chad Channing. Later Kevin and Brian joined Ben Shepherd, previously of Soundgarden to form Hater. They later formed Devilhead. Hagar moved on to play in Satchel with Shawn Smith and Brad with Shawn Smith and Stone Gossard.

A grouping of Malfunkshun demos and recordings from the early-to-mid 1980s were released on Stone Gossard and Regan Hagar's Loosegroove label in 1995, as Return to Olympus, standing as the largest major label release of the bands material.

In 2005 a documentary about the life and work of Andrew Wood entitled Malfunkshun: The Andrew Wood Story debuted at the Seattle International Film Festival. It is currently in development and awaiting a DVD release.

On October 24, 2006 surviving Malfunkshun members Kevin Wood and Regan Hagar, plus vocalist Shawn Smith and bassist Cory Kane, began writing new music together with lyrics written by Andrew Wood before his death for the release a new album, after which it will go on tour. The band had originally intended to use the name Malfunkshun, soon changing it to Subfunkshun or The Subfunkshun Project, and eventually settling on From The North (Von Nord).


Lineup 1980

  • Andrew Wood - vocals
  • Kevin Wood - guitar
  • Dave Rees - bass
  • Dave Hunt - drums

Lineup 1980-1988

at time of dissolution various bass players including 'skillit' and others

Lineup 2006-present

  • Shawn Smith - vocals
  • Kevin Wood - guitar
  • Mike Hommel - drums
  • Thorsten Rock- guitar
  • Rob Day - bass



Compilation contributions

  • "With Yo' Heart (Not Yo' Hands)" and "Stars-N-You" on Deep Six (C/Z Records, 1986).
  • "My Only Fan" and "Shotgun Wedding" on Another Pyrrhic Victory: The Only Compilation Of Dead Seattle God Bands (C/Z Records, 1989).


External links

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