Seattle's 1st Street is alive with people and music tonight. Just a short block or two stroll down this quaint, but bustling down
town drag, and you're overcome by the sights, sounds and smells of this mini-San Francisco's inner-pop-culture consciousness. From one club a drum machine strain blares, from another the divine whine of a jazz saxophone. But the beat that bellows biggest on 1st Street comes from the Central Tavern, the rock hangout in Seattle. Tonight, Mother Love Bone's bassist Jeff Ament is jamming with his local unsigned band, War Babies. Members of Alice In Chains, Queensryche and Metal Church chat with their buds out in front; there's a scraggly looking fellow selling hot dogs out of a trashcan lid; and leaning up against the brownstone building wall of the venue, surrounded by friends and hangers, is a tall, slender, curiously attractive girl with deep brown eyes and a lilting, yet firm demeanor. She smiles reservedly at those who share a moment of idle chatter, but you can't help but notice that she looks...lonely.

When Mother Love Bone's enigmatic and gifted vocalist died suddenly last March, Xana La Fuente was wearing his engagement ring. She'd spent the past four years connected to him physically, emotionally, spiritually and musically. In tragic irony, she was the one to discover his overdosed body.

"He was dead when I found him, and I didn't really realize it," she remembers. "I flipped him over and was shaking him. I looked at his arm and dialed 911 . They told me to get him on his back and give him CPR. When they arrived, they pronounced him dead, made me sign this paper, and then told me to go to the hospital. When I got to the hospital, Andy was alive. He was alive for three days.

"He had an aneurysm in his brain that would have caused him to have a stroke eventually; so he did the drugs and probably had a stroke a few hours later, which knocked him out. They got his heart going again at the hospital, but his brain had swelled up from not breathing. They told me he could get worse, which he did. We had a meeting with the doctors on that Monday, and they said Andy's brain was dying, and it wasn't going to get any better. We had three hours to say goodbye to him.

"His whole family was at the hospital, like 20 people. They all went in and saw him. Then all of his friends went in and saw him. Then I went in had cut his hair off and kept it. I played some Queen for him-they were his favorite band. The doctors turned everything off, and I just held him really tight and listened to his heart .until it stopped. It took like 15 minutes.
God, it's so wild. I can't believe I went through that. When I think about it all, it freaks me out."

Their relationship is reflected in the songs on Apple. "Crown of Thorns" was written about a nasty. breakup between Andy and Xana over his on and-off-again dabbling in heroin and alcohol. "This song is about a relationship ruined by drugs," she explains. "He wrote it about our near breakup, and how I tried to control him and the drugs-hence his allusion to being tied to the ceiling." According to Xana, "Andy was always ashamed of his addictions, choosing to lose himself in his music and poetry, bathing himself in concepts of real love and acceptance. `Stardog Champion' was one of his `anthem for survival' songs. It was an up time, and he really felt he was beating it. He had a choir, children from the San Francisco area (made up of foster and abused children), come in and sing backing vocals on this song.
"They were recording Apple, and he called me," she recalls. "He said to me, 'Xana, I know I need help when I get home. I know I need help, and you have to help me. I want you to help me.' "
"Stargazer, you call the shots/ stargazer, won't you kick with me. "

No one knew Andy Wood like Xana did. She had helped him time and again struggle with his drug addiction. Amazingly, Andy had been clean 116 days prior to his overdose. Those around the Seattle drug scene claim that, on the weekend of Andy's death, three other individuals OD'd on the same bad heroin he had shot. They survived, and Andy didn't, it is surmised, because on that particular day, Andy was alone. The others weren't. There was no one there to help him this time-not even Xana.

There are numerous questions surrounding Andy Wood's death, but they're not worth elaborating. The most important fact remains that rock 'n' roll has lost a wonderful artist whose talent was never allowed to flourish. For those of us who didn't know Andy, we have but his one and only offering. Xana insists that Mother Love Bone will not continue without its founder, singer and inspirational leader. A dear Friend of Andy's and a central figure in the Seattle music scene, Soundgarden's manager Susan Silver, believes that Andy and Love Bone were destined for huge success. "No one will ever know what incredible talent was really there."

But Apple was not the culmination of Andy's musical legacy. "I have a box full of all his solo stuff," Xana says proudly. "It's mine. Hardly anybody else has copies of it. There's stuff there that the band has never even heard. It's really cool and weird, 'cause he wrote so much religious stuff in the weeks prior to his death. All these songs about heaven and dying. I loved him so much." ·