The Band that Grew Out of the Loss of One Band, Who Survived Being Labeled “Grunge”, Took on Ticket Master, & is One of the Best Bands of the Past 25 Years
Pearl Jam. A band that dominated rock radio in the early ’90s apart of the big 4 of Grunge to come out of the Seattle scene along with Soundgardan, Alice and Chains & Nirvana. They had major hits off their debut album Ten like Alive, Even Flow & Jeremy which got a masterfully made music video.
I could stop here and you’d be satisfied if you’ve only ever heard these songs on alt & rock radio who can only seem to play Nirvana and Pearl Jam 20 times a day (I love it). This story though will be how a young 14 year old Ayisah started to explore music and was trying to expand her horizon and would come to find one of her favorite bands of all time. It will also be the story of a band who took the death of a band member from one band and turned it into an incredible band who is still going strong today.
August 1991: Ten comes out
October 1991: Ayisah is born
1991 was a great year!
Early Grunge-Green River-Malfunkshun-Mother Love Bone:
To talk about Pearl Jam you would have to go to the beginning or the “pre-beginning.” It’s Seattle in the mid-late ’80s and a scene of bands is starting to form all with a totally unique sound. A few of those bands where Soundgradan, Alice In Chains, L7, Melvins, Hole, Mud Honey, Green River and Malfunkshun. Some of these bands ranged from more metal leaning to more punk leaning and even some that were more straight rock or had influences of classic rock. Soundgradan, Mud Honey, Melvins, Malfunkshun and Green River (who took its name from the Green River Killer) where all pretty big in their own right at that time touring in and around Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.
Oh and with bands like L7, Babies in Toy Land, Dickness and Hole (feel how you want about Courtney Love) Grunge also had some kickin girl power to pack a punch as well.
Green River’s first album and the first ever “grunge” album Come on Down was released in 1984 having a more metal sound to it. In 1986, the Deep Six Compilation came out featuring Soundgradan, Melvins, Malfunkshun and Green River among other local bands under the new indie label Sub Pop. Green River’s second album was also released under Sub Pop records called Dry As A Bone in 1987 and later that year their last project together Rehab Doll. Green River featured Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament two key members of Pearl Jam.
Around the same time a band named Malfunkshun was created back in 1980 featuring brothers Andrew and Kevin Wood which are considered the Godfathers of Grunge. Andrew Wood was big into bands like KISS, Queen and Guns N’ Roses and used their glam style arena rock in the influence for the band. Due to Andy’s heavy drug use, in 1984 he checked in to rehab which put the band on hold. When he came out he put some songs on the Deep Six Compilation but then Malfunkshun started to dissolve. During that time Andy started to do some jam sessions with Gossard and Ament which would lead to Lords of the Waseland aka Mother Love Bone.
Now that Green River and Malfunkshun had broken up that left room for Andy Wood, Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard to get together with a few others and form Mother Love Bone. Forming in 1988, MLB spent time touring around before signing to Polydor/Stardog and recorded their first EP. Shine was one of the first records to have a major label debut. In 1989, the band headed over to California to record their debut album Apple. During the time Andrew was in and out of rehab and needed a place to stay in Seattle when they weren’t recording so him and Chris Cornell lead singer of Soundgardan shared an apartment. During this time Chris and Andrew became fast friends connecting musically. Andy looked up to Chris like a big brother and took a lot of inspiration from him. Sadly though this friendship would be short lived as Andy OD and went brain dead days before his major label LP debut. He was in a coma for a few days letting those who loved him say good bye before he passed on. Apple was still released in 1990 as planed but of course the band split up after their charismatic led singers death.
Early Eddie/Temple of the Dog-Momma/Son Tape-Mookie Blaylock:
After loosing one of the most outgoing wild spirits in Andy, Mother Love Bone split up and decided to go their separated ways for a while and grieve his loss. Chris Cornell of Soundgardan had just come back off of tour when he got the news of Andy’s OD. A few days later Chris went on tour in Europe and while over seas started to write some songs to honor Woods’s passing. When he got back home he recorded the two songs he had written Reach Down and Say Hello To Heaven. This music was more slow and melodic then what Soundgardan was putting out at the time. Cornell then approached former Mother Love Bone members Gossard and Ament to help with the project wanting to record these songs as singles. Recording these tracks felt goof to Gossard and Ament as it gave them a reason to be in a band setting again. The band also added in then Soundgradan (later PJ) drummer Matt Cameron and Mike McCready.
With the inspiration of Chris’s Andy tribute project, Stone Gossard later started to write some heavier lyrics then what he had previously been doing and eventually met up with Mike McCready who’s band Shadow had just broken up. McCready then got Stone to get Jeff Ament to join them and started to jam a little. Soon after they would send out a five-song demo tape to try and find a singer and drummer. They give the tape to former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Iron who passed on it but gave the tape to his San Diego basketball buddy. In comes Eddie.
Eddie Vedder originally from Chicago, moved to San Diego when he was a teenager. His mom and step-dad who he thought was his biological father divorced when he was in his late teens and his mother and family moved back to Chicago although Eddie stayed in San Diego with his step-dad to finish high school. Eddie was really into surfing and the Who which were a big inspiration for him.
Once his parents divorced Eddie finally learned the real history of his parents and learned of his biological dad who he had met once growing up but thought he was a friend of the family. Eddie never got to see his dad after learning this due to him dying of MS. At the time Eddie was going by his step-fathers last name Mueller but after learning of his biological father he changed his name to his mom’s name Vedder. By his senior year of high school he was living on his own and working while going to school which got too much for him so he dropped out and moved back to Chicago.
In the early ’80s Eddie got his GED and attended a little bit of community college before moving back to San Diego with his girlfriend Beth Liebling (who he would play drums on her bands early music and marry in 1994 yet divorce in 2000) in 1984. While in San Diego, Eddie played for a few local rock bands like Surf and Destroy, Butts and Indian Style. In 1988, Eddie became the lead vocalist for the funk rock band Bad Radio which is where you can hear very early versions of Pearl Jam songs like Better Man.
After receiving the demo tape from Jack Irons before going surfing one day, Eddie listened to the tape and came up with lyrics to it while in the water. He send it back and what came of it would be called the Momma-Son tape with early versions of Alive, Once & Footsteps. The guys listened to it and where impressed enough to send for him to come to Seattle and with in a week he was part of the band.
Now that Eddie was basically apart of what was then Mookie Blaylock the band finished recording their songs for the Andy tribute singles with Chris Cornell. Chris had decided that turning this into singles was a dumb idea and thought it needed to be a full album or EP. They ended up naming the band Temple of the Dog taking a line out of one of Mother Love Bone’s songs Man of Golden Words.
The band then started to rehearse the two songs they recording plus other songs Chris had written on tour and demos Gossard, Ament and Cameron had written. During these sections one of the demos became Footsteps by Pearl Jam and Times of Trouble by Temple of the Dog. This album was recorded in 15 days and was produced by the band with no pressure from their labels. Eddie provided back vocals and sang a duet with Chris Cornell for the song Hunger Strike which helped Chris who was having vocal troubles with the song. The album came out in April of 1991 and had favorable reviews although never charted until 1992 when it landed on the Billboard charts and went platinum selling over a million copies.
After finishing the Temple of the Dog project the band got back to recording their first album. With Dave Krusen on drums Pearl Jam played a bunch of gigs with the demo stuff under the name Mookie Blaylock (then famous NBA star). Their first official show was at the Off Ramp Cafe in Seattle October 20th, 1990 (which last year celebrated its 25th anniversary).
Ten-Grunge Mania-Beef with Kurt-Singles-Touring-SNL/MTV Unplugged-MTV VMAs:
Around early 1991 when they started the recording process for Ten and signed to Epic Records, they were no longer able to go under the name Mookie Blaylock due to copyright so they came up with the name Pearl Jam instead. In a lot of early interviews with Eddie he used to say that the name came from his great-grandmother Pearl who was married to a Native American and used to make peyote jam. Sadly years later it came out that he was lying although he does have a grandmother named Pearl.
In March of ’91 Pearl Jam went into the London Bridges Studio in Seattle to record what would become Ten. It is said that this album was a lot of Stone and Jeff with Eddie and Mike just kind of along for the ride. Then drummer Krusen left the band 4 months before the release of the album due to alcoholism. They ended up replacing him with Matt Chamberlain who played only a handful of shows including the live Alive video before leaving the band. The next drummer was Dave Abbruzzese who helped to play the rest of the live shows supporting Ten.
Ten came out August 27th, 1991 two months before lil Ayisah was born and she wouldn’t fall in love with this record for another 15-20 years. 1991 was an awesome year! This is a beautiful eleven track album where the instrumentation is heavy yet melodic with Eddie’s soft yet hard vocals with his growl he does with his voice and somber lyrics. They talk about everything on this album from unrequited love to depression to bulling & suicide to incest to murder. They even have a beautiful song all about the ocean which is one of my favorites. Their singles Alive, Even Flow and Jeremy and later Black would do wonderful on the charts and the album as a whole would stay on the charts for 5 weeks helping the album go 13x platinum over time. It is one of the highest selling rock records ever.
Favorite Tracks: Alive + All of Them!
Alive is my favorite Pearl Jam song of all time due to it being my first song I ever heard from them. I also love the guitar solos by Mike and Stone and just the passion you can hear in Eddie’s voice. The story goes this is the true telling of his mom and step dad’s divorce and young Eddie finding out about his biological father who died of MS before he got to really meet him. It also tells a made up story of a boy being sexual embraced by his mom while she is grieving due to him looking like his dad. Eddie writes a lot of songs about his dad and family but this one just hits me.
In 1992 Pearl Jam and the Seattle Sound aka Grunge where becoming really big thanks to MTV and their constant showing of Pearl Jam, Soundgardan, Alice in Chains and a little later Nirvana’s music videos. They were the next big thing in music and where winning all kinds of awards, being invited to parties and interviewed about that scene. Most bands at the time hated the term Grunge and would make fun of it especially when clothing stores tried to capitalize on the fashion trend of it or newspapers tried to report on the cool Grunge lingo.
With the release of the Jeremy single tape in ’92 the b side was Footsteps/Yellow Leadbetter. Yellow Leadbetter is one of my favorite PJ songs of all time. The song title “Yellow Ledbetter” is derived from the actual name of an old friend of Vedder from Chicago, named Tim Ledbetter. Although many fans have made their own interpretations of the song, a common theory has been that the song is about someone receiving a letter and finding his or her brother had died overseas in war, cited from the lyrics in the Live at the Garden version “I don’t know whether my brother will be coming home in a box or a bag.” The instrumental of the song is just so amazing and beautiful and Eddie’s vocals on top of it really bring this song together. The beginning riff of the song just ties the whole song together.
At the time thanks to the media and MTV a lot of people in the scene including Kurt Cobain of Nirvana didn’t really like Pearl Jam or found them worth of being part of the scene all though he liked Eddie Vedder. Kurt though Pearl Jam were sell outs because they had many guitar leads in their music. Even a British music magazine BME wasn’t feeling them and said this in their article about them “trying to steal money from young alternative kids’ pockets.”
During that same year indie film writer, producer and director Cameron Crowe wrote and directed the movie Singles featuring Pearl Jam (who at the time of recording was still Mookie Blaylock). This movie is about 20 somethings in different relationships with people who listened to the Seattle sound and was a take on what the Seattle music scene was really like for those who lived their and they all lived in this duplex apartment building. Pearl Jam had a few scenes in the movie as the Seattle band Citizen Dick. They also played their songs State of Love and Trust and Breath as Pearl Jam in the club scenes along side Alice in Chains and Soundgradan.
Pearl Jam would go on to tour a lot in support of Ten one of those shows being their first Lollapalooza festival along side the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Soundgardan as well as Pinkpop ’92. Going to a Pearl jam show back in the day was very entertaining due to mainly Eddie’s climbing. If you have ever watched a live show video from back then or where lucky enough to attend one of their shows then you got to see the master climber Eddie Vedder. He would just climb the stage till he’d get higher and higher and then stage dive right into the crowd and crowd surf back to stage. It looked epic!
They did a few TV performances as well on Saturday Night Live which they performed Alive and Porch which during the bridge of the song you can hear Eddie say “A woman has every right to choose…to choose, to choose, to choose…choose for herself” advocating for the right for a women to have an abortion if they need to which was the start of the bands activism. Eddie also wore a “No Bush ’92” shirt.
Their other TV appearance was their most raw performance on MTV Unplugged. Eddie’s vocals are incredible during this performance and Stone and Mike are life even on acoustic guitars. Jeff gives us those funky bass lines and Dave killed it on drums. They even managed to keep their sound hard even without being plugged in. During their song Porch Eddie also wrote Pro-Choice on his arm.
Pearl Jam would go on to finish touring and played Jeremy at the ’92 MTV Video Music Awards. They were nominated for best new artist that year but lost out to guess who? (hint Nirvana) Its funny though since Eddie hated award shows because he felt they didn’t really determine wither a piece of art is good or not only the viewer/listener can do that. Might be why I hate award shows myself.
Winning ’93 MTV VMAs/Making Up with Kurt-Vs. ft. No Music Videos & No Interviews-SNL Performance/Skit-Touring/Ticketmaster Boycott:
In 1993 after doing a lot of touring on the heals of their first album Ten they in the early part of that year went back into the studio to record what would become their sophomore effort Vs. Pearl Jam where also back up for nominations at the VMAs that year and this time for Video of the Year, Best Group Video and Best Director for Jeremy. They also got to perform Rockin in the Free World with Neil Young who they would collab with again in the future. This was also the time when Kurt and Eddie make up from that little beef they had going on by slow dancing to Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven backstage.
After the awards Pearl Jam released their sophomore 12 track album Vs. October 19th, 1993. This album holds the record for having the highest record sales its first week. It sold over 950,378 albums in total. Backed by the singles Go, Daughter, Animal and Dissident the band decided to have less of a commercial presence then before. They didn’t make any videos or do many interviews for this album and wanted to just give music straight to the fans. This was the first album produced by Brendon ‘O Brian and features Dave Abbruzzese on the recording. This album was more of a mixed bag of sounds compared to the first record with a couple of acoustic tracks and a few that had more base to them and were a little more on the funky side along with their heaver song staples.
Themes on this album range from child abuse, gun culture, police racism, and the media. It is said that even though it was very easy for the band to record this album it gave Eddie a little trouble at first because he felt too comfortable and felt he needed to feel more uncomfortable to feel his songs. So the band tried to make him feel as bad as possible to help him record the tracks.
Favorite Tracks: Dissident, Animal, Daughter, Glorified G, WMA, Rearviewmirror, Rats, Elderly Women Behind a Counter in a Small Town, Leash, Indifferent
Daughter was the first song I heard from this album on the radio and I instantly loved it. At first I didn’t know what this song was about just that it was different from what I had heard off Ten and more acoustic and quiet. Once I found out this song was about a girl with a mental disability who was being abused by her parents because they didn’t understand it I could relate to the song. I have dyslexia and growing up school was hard for me due to that at times my parents would get frustrated with me not in an abusive way but get annoyed with me if i didn’t always wanna do my school work because I didn’t understand it.
My favorite song off the album though is Dissident. I love the sound of it reminds me of Oceans off Ten as it has that softer tone to it. The song is about a women who is housing a political prisoner who she turns in due to the experience being too hard for her to handle yet she feels guilty about it later. During one of their shows in Indiana at Purdue University’s Elliot Hall Eddie Vedder says that the “holy no” in the song references to date rap and how a women’s word is sacred and when they say no they mean no and that’s what “holy no” means.
Later that year Pearl Jam would perform again on SNL before going on tour. Adam Sandler parody’s Eddie’s voice on a skit that night as well which would become a running joke and bit on many comedy shows.
As Pearl Jam started to tour on the heals of Vs. they started to set a cap on ticket prices as to get rid of scalpers. By 1994 they were in full swing taking on Ticket Master for unjust prices. They played a benefit concert once and then realized how Ticket Master put a service change on the tickets. Something Pearl Jam has always tired to do is make their music exceble to their fans because you can’t really put a price on art. Plus they understood that the average teen or 20-something probably has little money to come to these shows and should be able to see good music for a reasonable price of no more the $20. As so the Ticket Master Boycott Tour began.
Due to Ticket Master owning pretty much all the venues they were scheduled to play at Pearl Jam had to take it into their own hands and create their own outdoor stadiums from scratch. Other bands and artist came together in support of the boycott and eventually it came to a head when Pearl Jam took Ticket Master to court on May 6th of that year.
They hired the Manhattan based law group Sullivan and Cromwell to represent them and they filled an official complaint with the Justice Department promoting Jeff & Stone to give testimony in court before Congress. Ticket Master’s CEO, Fred Rosen, shot back, “If Pearl Jam wants to play for free, we’ll be happy to distribute their tickets for free.” Sadly this back and forth between the band and Ticket Master made them loose out on a summer tour although they tried to book at places not associated with Ticket Master to no luck. “Our band, which is determined to keep ticket prices low, will always be in conflict with Ticketmaster,” Gossard asserted. Unfortunately Pearl Jam never won their case again the ticket retail giants and would from then on have to work with them to be able to tour again.
Vitalogy w/ Jack Irons/Kurt’s Death/No Code/Yield/Matt Cameron Becomes Last Drummer:
While touring to promote Vs. the band where writing stuff for their 3rd project Vitalogy while on brakes. At the time tensions came to an all time high between Eddie, Jeff, the other members and Dave Abbruzzese their then drummer. He didn’t believe in their Ticket Master boycott and found Eddie to be annoying during interviews. He recorded drums on Vitalogy but was fired soon after being replaced by former Red Hot Chilli Peppers drummer Jack Irons.
Vitalogy came out Novemeber 22, 1994 and sold over 877,000 CD copies it’s first week. This was the album dealing with what it means to be a famous rock band and the pressures that come with that. Vitalogy has a lack of guitar solos compared to their first two projects and is more of a rhythmic sounding album. Eddie starts to play more guitar on the project and would write 3-4 songs. It has more of a fast pasted feel to it with lyrics all over the place.
The album was first released on vinyl and then CD and cassette tape. This was their second Brendon ‘O Brian collab. They recorded this record in many different studios from New Orleans, LA where they recorded some early tracks back in ’93 to Seattle and Atlanta, GA where they recorded the rest of the material in ’94. It is said this album was finished in early ’94 but either due to a delay with Epic or their Ticket Master boycott they were forced to put it out late.
Sadly this was the album that almost broke the band up. Stone gave total control of the ins and outs of the band to Eddie and considered leaving the band. Due to the tensions between everyone a lot of the album came out of jam sessions and where written 2o minutes before recording. This was also the time when Mike McCready entered rehab for alcoholism and cocaine abuse. That year Kurt Cobain of Nirvana died at age 27 by what some say was suicide and what others say was a deliberate killing. This affected the whole music scene and would make tensions even grater for the band.
They also worked with their musical influence Neil Young on his album Mirror Ball in 1995 but where not credited as Pearl Jam but each member as themselves. Later that year Pearl Jam released some unreleased songs off Mirror Ball in the form of their EP Merkin Ball that same year.
After going on tour for Vitalogy, they went back into the studio to record their fourth studio album No Code and was the largest departure from their sound since Ten thus far. Released in 1996, No Code had a sound favoring experimental ballads and noisy garage rock. Like all of Pearl Jam’s albums No Code debuted at number one but quickly feel down the charts. No Code included the singles “Who You Are”, “Hail, Hail” & “Off He Goes”. The lyrical themes on the album deal with issues of self-examination, with Ament stating, “In some ways, it’s like the band’s story. It’s about growing up.”Like with Vitalogy very little touring was done in support of the project due to their continued boycott of Ticketmaster. They did have a European Tour in ’96 with Stone Gossard stating “a lot of stress associated with trying to tour at that time” and that “it was growing more and more difficult to be excited about being part of the band.” Eddie Vedder said that “Making No Code was all about gaining perspective.”
Following the very short tour for No Code they then went back into the studio in ’97 to record their 1998 album Yield. The sessions for the band’s fifth album represented more of a team effort between all members of the group, with Ament stating that “everybody really got a little bit of their say on the record…because of that, everybody feels like they’re an integral part of the band.” Pearl Jam released their fifth studio album Yield on February 3rd, 1998. This album was a lot less experimental and took us back to their more rock roots. Lyrically, Yield continued with the more contemplative type of writing found on No Code, with Vedder saying, “What was rage in the past has become reflection.” This album mixed a bit of the more garage rock with some acoustic sounds. Yield premiered at number 2 on the charts but like No Code fell. Singles from this album were Given to Fly and Wishlist.
For their song Do The Evolution they made their first music video since Oceans from Ten. They got comic book artist Todd McFarlane to create an animated video for the song dealing with were we are and were we are going as a society. A documentary detailing the making of Yield, Single Video Theory, was released on VHS and DVD later that year.
In April 1998, Jack Irons left the band and Pearl Jam was once again drummer less. Jack was dissatisfaction with the lack of touring and was replaced by drummer Matt Cameron after Soundgarden broke up. At first he was the only there for a trial bases but after a while became their permanent and last drummer ending their never ending search.
The tour for Yield was a return to form for the band as it took them back to full scale touring. At not getting anywhere with their Tickmaster boycott Pearl Jam decided to start using them again. Previous tours without them made it hard for fans to go see them live and obtain tickets so they figured it was time to give up and go through use them again.
The 1998 summer tour was a big success after the boycott ended, and after it was completed the band released Live on Two Legs, a live album which featured select performances from the tour. That same year Pearl Jam recorded their biggest hit to date the cover of Last Kiss a 1960s ballad made famous by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers. It was released as a ’98 fan club Christmas single and the following year was rotated around the country as a single. All proceeds went to aid refugees of the Kosovo War and The band also decided to include the song on the 1999 charity compilation album, No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees.
Binaural/Roskilde Festival Deaths/Bootlegs/Riot Act/Bu$hleaguer & Bush Mask/Leaving Epic Records/Lost Dogs & rearviewmirror:
At the end of 1999 the band came back together after a short brake and due to the success of the Yield tour decided to go into the studio to start recording their sixth studio album Binaural. This is the first album to not be produced by O’Brain but by Tchad Blake. This album lyrically was a lot darker then their previous album with Gossard describing the lyrics as “pretty sombre.” The singles for this album included Nothing as It Seems and Light Years. Sadly this was the first Pearl Jam album to not gain platinum status with selling only 700,000 copies. This tour was the first that Pearl Jam decided to record every show on their tour and bootleg it for the fans. The band released 72 live albums in 2000 and 2001, and twice set a record for most albums to debut in the Billboard 200 at the same time.
Then the bands 2000 European tour ended in tragedy on June 30th when nine fans at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark suffocated to death under their stage when the crowd got too close. After numerous requests for the crowd to step back, the band stopped playing and tried to calm the crowd when the musicians realized what was happening, but it was already too late. This was the biggest tragedy in Pearl Jam history and was so devastating to the band they almost thought about quieting for good with their last two stops on their tour cancelled.
A month after their European tour ended Pearl Jam embarked on their bootleg North America which according to Eddie Vedder “playing, facing crowds, being together—it enabled us to start processing it.” On October 22, 2000, the band played the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, celebrating the tenth anniversary of its first live performance as a band. This gave Eddie the opportunity to thank his fans for helping to get the band to ten years in their career. He said “I would never do this accepting a Grammy or something.”
After the Binaural tour ended the band released Touring Band 2000 DVD in 2001 which had select performances from their 2000 tour. Following the events of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Vedder and McCready were joined by Neil Young to perform the song “Long Road” from the Merkin Ball EP at the America: A Tribute to Heroes benefit concert. The concert, which aired on September 21, 2001, raised money for the victims and their families.
After a year long brake from their Binaural tour they went back into the studio to record their seventh studio album Riot Act. McCready described the recording environment as “a pretty positive one” and “very intense and spiritual.” Regarding the time period when the lyrics were being written, Vedder said, “There’s been a lot of mortality…It’s a weird time to be writing. Roskilde changed the shape of us as people, and our filter for seeing the world changed.” Riot Act was released November 12, 2002 with the singles I Am Me and Save You. This album had a much more folk and experimental vibe to it evident by B3 organist Boom Gaspar on songs such as Love Boat Captain. It was a very art rock album which is the kind of album Pearl Jam had wanted to make since Vitalogy. The track entitled Arc was recorded as a vocal tribute to the nine people who died at the Roskilde Festival in June 2000. Vedder only performed this song nine times during this tour and the band let the song trickle off the bootleg set.
In 2003, the band embarked on their Riot Tour in North America and Australia continuing their CD bootlegs on their website. A total of six bootlegs were made available in record stores: Perth, Tokyo, State College, Pennsylvania, two shows from Madison Square Garden, and Mansfield, Massachusetts. During many shows during the tour Eddie Vedder performed Bu$hleaguer, a commentary on President George W. Bush (which the band was against his presidency), with a rubber mask of Bush, wearing it at the beginning of the song and then hanging it on a mic stand to allow him to sing. The band made news when it was reported that several fans left after Vedder had “impaled” the Bush mask on his mic stand at the band’s Denver, Colorado show. Now I know politics shouldn’t stand in your way of what you listen to but if you don’t know how Pearl Jam feels on politics then I don’t get it.
In June of 2003, Pearl Jam announced they were leaving Epic Records due to their contract ending yet they didn’t want to be on another label. Their first release without a label was the single for Man of the Hour with Amazon.com. Pearl Jam also did the song for the soundtrack off Tim Burton’s movie Big Fish.
In November of 2003 the band released their album Lost Dogs a two-disc collection of rarities and B-sides, and Live at the Garden, a DVD featuring the band’s July 8, 2003 concert at Madison Square Garden through Epic Records. In 2004, Pearl Jam released the live album, Live at Benaroya Hall, through a one-album deal with BMG. 2004 marked the first time that Pearl Jam licensed a song for usage in a television show; a snippet of the song Yellow Ledbetter was used in the final episode of the television series Friends. Later in 2004, Epic Records released rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003) the bands compilation album from the bast 12 years and seven albums. This was the last album they released with Epic.
Signing to J Records/Touring/Self Titled Album or Avocado/Reissue of Ten & MTV Unplugged/Backspacer on Monkeywrench Records/More Touring/PJ20/Lighting Bolt/Way More Touring/Temple of the Dog Tour/Becoming Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees:
Pearl Jam played a show at Easy Street Records in Seattle in April 2005; recordings from the show were compiled for the Live at Easy Street album and released exclusively to independent record stores in June 2006. The band embarked on a Canadian cross-country tour in September 2005, kicking off the tour with a fundraising concert in Missoula, Montana for Democratic politician Jon Tester, then playing the Gorge Amphitheater before crossing into Canada. After touring Canada, Pearl Jam proceeded to open a Rolling Stones concert in Pittsburgh, then played two shows at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, before closing the tour with a concert in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The official bootlegs for the band’s 2005 shows were distributed via Pearl Jam’s official website in MP3 form. Pearl Jam also played a benefit concert to raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief on October 5, 2005, at the House of Blues in Chicago, Illinois. On November 22, 2005, Pearl Jam began its first Latin American tour.
After Pearl Jam embarked on the Vote for Change tour they went to work on their next album Pearl Jam or the Avocado album. It had been 5 years since their last album Riot Act which was the longest time between albums they had taken. Then in February 2006, Pearl Jam signed to Clive Davis’s label J Records. Like Epic, is part of Sony Music Entertainment (then known as Sony BMG), though J has since folded into RCA Records. Their eighth studio album Pearl Jam was released May 2nd, 2006. A number of critics cited Pearl Jam as a return to the band’s early sound, and McCready compared the new material to Vs. in a 2005 interview. Ament said, “The band playing in a room—that came across. There’s a kind of immediacy to the record, and that’s what we were going for.”
Songs such as World Wide Suicide criticizing the Iraq war and U.S. foreign policy was released as a single and a music video was made for it. The other singles released for the Avocado album were Life Wasted and Gone.
To support Pearl Jam, the band embarked on its 2006 world tour. It toured North America, Australia and notably Europe; Pearl Jam had not toured the continent for six years. The North American tour included three two-night stands opening for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The band served as the headliners for the Leeds and Reading festivals, despite having vowed to never play at a festival again after Roskilde. Vedder started both concerts with an emotional plea to the crowd to look after each other. He commented during the Leeds set that the band’s decision to play a festival for the first time after Roskilde had nothing to do with “guts” but with trust in the audience.
In 2007, Pearl Jam recorded a cover of The Who’s Love, Reign o’er Me for the Mike Binder film, Reign Over Me; it was later made available as a music download on the iTunes Music Store. The band embarked on a 13-date European tour, and headlined Lollapalooza in Grant Park, on August 5, 2007. The band released a CD box set in June 2007, entitled Live at the Gorge 05/06, that documents its shows at The Gorge Amphitheatre, and in September 2007 a concert DVD, entitled Immagine in Cornice, which documents the band’s Italian shows from its 2006 tour was released.
Eddie Vedder put out a solo project that year for the film Into The Wild which he did the whole soundtrack. I love Eddie’s voice on this album it always makes me smile and I like his more stripped down version of him with more acoustic guitar driven songs. Plus the subject matter of the songs have so much to do with how I feel living an adult life.
In June 2008, Pearl Jam performed as the headline act at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. The Bonnaroo appearance took place amidst a twelve-date tour in the Eastern United States. In July 2008, the band performed at the VH1 tribute to The Who alongside Foo Fighters, Incubus and The Flaming Lips. In the days prior to Election Day 2008, Pearl Jam digitally released through its official website a free documentary film, entitled Vote for Change? 2004, which follows the band’s time spent on the 2004 Vote for Change tour.
In March of 2009, Ten was reissued in four editions with remastering and remixes of the album by Brendon O’ Brien, a DVD copy of their 1992 MTV Unplugged show and an LP of their September 20th, 1992 show at Magnuson Park in Seattle.
In 2008 the band went back into the studio to record for their next album, 2009s Backspacer the first album produced since Yield with Brendon O’ Brien. The music on the record features a sound influenced by pop and new wave. Regarding the lyrics, Vedder said, “I’ve tried, over the years, to be hopeful in the lyrics, and I think that’s going to be easier now.” Fixer was the lead single for the album and had a fun, causal music video. Pearl Jam did not re-sign its record deal with J Records, and the band released the album through its own label Monkeywrench Records in the United States and through Universal Music Group internationally. They also released Backspacer through Target as well releases through the band’s official website, independent record stores, online retailers, and iTunes.
In August 2009, Pearl Jam headlined the Virgin Festival, the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, and played five shows in Europe and three in North America. In October 2009, Pearl Jam headlined the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Later in October on Halloween night, the band played in what was the last performance at the Philadelphia Spectrum. An additional leg consisting of a tour of Oceania took place afterwards.
In May 2010, the band embarked on a month-long tour starting with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The tour headed to the East Coast and ended May 21, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York. A European tour took place in June and July 2010, where the band performed in Northern Ireland for the first time at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast. In late October 2010, Pearl Jam performed at the 24th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. A live album, titled Live on Ten Legs, was released on January 17, 2011. It is a compilation of live tracks from their 2003 to 2010 world tours, and is a follow-up to Live on Two Legs, which consisted of songs recorded during their 1998 North American tour.
On September 8, 2011, the band released a new song titled “Olé”. On November 18, the band released Toronto 9.11.11—a free live album available through the launch of Google Music. On November 21, 2011, as part of their PJ20 World Tour, Pearl Jam visited Costa Rica for the first time to a 30,000 crowd of fans at the National Stadium.
That same year Pearl Jam got together with their long time friend Camron Crow to produce a documentary to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band entitled Pearl Jam 20. It chronicled their whole career from the beginning until Backspacer. The following month, the band announced a tour of Europe, which started in June 2012.
In July of 2013, Pearl Jam announced their tenth studio album Lighting Bolt would be released that October 14th internationally and the next day in the US with their single Mind Over Matter one of my favorites off the project. Their second single Sirens was put out September 18th, 2013. After selling 166,000 copies in its first week, Lightning Bolt became Pearl Jam’s fifth album to reach number one on the charts. n November 2015 the band played a nine-date tour of Latin America. In January 2016, the band announced a tour of the United States and Canada, including appearances at the New Orleans Jazz Festival and Bonnaroo.
Since their last album Pearl Jam have been touring every chance they get as well as performing at the Global Citizens Fest and Jay-Z’s Made in America Fest in New York. Eddie Vedder has also done various solo gigs.Pearl Jam have become a big touring band and no matter if they don’t put out another album again their so good at touring it wouldn’t matter.
This April 7th marks the first time Pearl Jam is eligible to be inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame and is going in along side many greats including Tupac and their very good friend Neil Young or Uncle Neil will be the one to induct them which is awesome as it brings this full circle as Eddie Inducted Neil into the Hall of Fame.
Sadly the hall of fame is only letting Matt Chamberlain as he was apart of the making of Ten the record that is making them eligible for the hall. Lots of people of course thought Dave Abbruzzese should have been there too due to him touring with the band & doing the Unplugged show. Unfortunately despite the band putting a letter out saying they would be down for all their drummers to come be part of it the hall said no so it will just be Chamberlain and Cameron.
I talked a lot about Eddie’s early life earlier in this post so I will go over his current life. He currently lives in West Seattle and is married to his longtime girlfriend, model Jill McCormick, on September 18, 2010. They have two daughters, Olivia (born 2004) and Harper (born 2008). Vedder is an atheist. Eddie Vedder is big into activism and has always expressed his views on politics in his music and in this live shows. From expressing his views on pro-choice to his dislike of the 43rd president as well as many other causes. He loves Neil Young, Peter Townson, The Remones, Fugazi and many other bands. Eddie has collaborated with many artist including Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, Chris Martian, Paul McCartney among others. He put out a solo project in 2011 called Ukulele Songs which is a more stripped down version of himself.
The first band Gossard joined was March of Crimes, a band of which future Soundgarden bassist Ben Shepherd was a member, as was novelist Jonathan Evison. Although Gossard’s time with the band was brief, it introduced him to the emerging music scene in Seattle. Gossard formed a close friendship with fellow guitarist (and future Mudhoney member) Steve Turner, who also had attended the Northwest School, and joined Turner in his band The Ducky Boys. Turner’s interest in punk rock had a significant influence on Gossard, and in turn on the ethos of the band. In 1992, Gossard joined with members of the fellow Seattle band Satchel to form Brad.
On September 11, 2001, Gossard became the first member of Pearl Jam to go solo, releasing his first solo album, Bayleaf, through Sony Music Entertainment. The album features ten songs written over a span of four to five years. On Bayleaf, Gossard showed himself as being a talented multi-instrumentalist, contributing drums and piano work, as well as vocals, guitar and bass. The album’s songs feature a mellow sound influenced by Frank Black, Rufus Wainwright, and The Rolling Stones.
Gossard formed the record label Loosegroove Records with fellow Brad member Regan Hagar as a subsidiary of Sony in 1994, becoming independent in 1996. Significantly, Gossard signed Queens of the Stone Age to Loosegroove, releasing the band’s debut album, Queens of the Stone Age, in 1998. Loosegroove Records closed in 2000. As a producer, Gossard has worked with a variety of artists including many on his own record label. His most notable production roles have been for Satchel, Green Apple Quick Step, Weapon of Choice and Critters Buggin. During his time as owner of Loosegroove Records, Gossard opened his own recording studio, the prestigious Studio Litho, in Seattle. Most of Gossard’s production work was based in this studio, which still operates today, with Gossard as the owner. Many high-profile artists have recorded in Studio Litho, including Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Dave Matthews Band, and Deftones, as well as both Brad and Pearl Jam.
Gossard has been active in environmental pursuits, and has been an advocate of Pearl Jam’s carbon neutral policy, offsetting the band’s environmental impact. He has also extended his conservationist ideals and serves as a member of the board of directors at the Wild Salmon Center, an international conservation organization based in Portland, Oregon. As an artist and painter, Gossard’s work can be found on many Pearl Jam releases, especially material distributed through Pearl Jam’s fan club. In February 2007, Gossard and McCready were included together by Rolling Stone in its list of “The Top 20 New Guitar Gods” under the title of “four-armed monster.”
Jeff Amet was born in Havre, Montana the first of five kids and grew up in the town of Big Sandy, Montana with a population of 700 people. Ament’s father George was mayor of Big Sandy for fifteen years, as well as a barber and a school bus driver. Ament described his family growing up as “pretty poor”and “hard-core Catholic.” Ament has one brother, Barry. He began playing the bass guitar as a teenager, often playing along with Ramones, The Clash, and The Police records. Ament participated in basketball, football, and track at Big Sandy High School, from which he graduated in 1981. He then went on to college at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana, where he studied art and played basketball. Ament quit college in the middle of his second year after the university told him they were no longer going to continue its graphic design program. Ament then relocated to Seattle, Washington in 1983 with his band Deranged Diction. While in Seattle, Ament got a job working at a coffee shop in Belltown. Ament had a side project band named Three Fish, which he formed in 1994 with Robbi Robb of Tribe After Tribe and Richard Stuverud of the Fastbacks. Three Fish released two albums, Three Fish (1996) and The Quiet Table (1999).
On September 16, 2008, Ament released his first solo album, Tone, through Monkeywrench Records. The album features ten songs written over a span of 12 years. The album’s songs feature a raw, experimental sound. 3,000 copies of Tone were pressed and were distributed through independent record stores across the United States as well as through Pearl Jam’s official website. The album, like their others is also available via Pearl Jam’s official website.
On January 24, 2011 Ament announced on Pearl Jam’s official website his side project with dUg Pinnick of King’s X and Richard Stuverud of the Fastbacks. The band’s official Facebook page announced a March 2011 release of their album, Three Mountains, through Monkeywrench Records. In 2012, Ament started another band with singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur and drummer Richard Stuverud called RNDM. Jeff Amet loves to skateboard and has been working with Native Americans to put skateboard ramps reservations. Ament was also interviewed for the 2001 skateboarding documentary, Dogtown and Z-Boys. The title of Soundgardan’s “Spoonman” is credited to Ament in the liner notes for Soundgarden’s 1994 album, Superunknown.
Mike McCready was born in Pensacola, Florida and then moved to Seattle shortly after his birth. His parents played a lot of Jimi Hendrix and Santana while his friends where listening to Kiss and Aerosmith. At age eleven Mike started his first guitar lessons. In eighth grade, McCready formed his first band, Warrior, whose name soon changed to Shadow. Originally a cover band playing during free periods at Roosevelt High School, the band eventually began writing original material and recording demo tapes. After high school, McCready worked at a pizza restaurant where he befriended musician Pete Droge. In 1986, Shadow relocated to Los Angeles and attempted to cut a record deal but it didn’t work out. In 1988, Shadow returned to Seattle and split up soon afterwards. McCready lost interest in playing guitar for some time, stating that he “was so depressed about life.” He cut his hair, enrolled in a local community college, and spent his nights working at a video store. McCready was inspired to pick up his guitar again after attending a Stevie Ray Vaughan concert. McCready gradually went back to playing guitar and finally joined another band called Love Chile. A childhood friend, Stone Gossard, went to one of the band’s shows and appreciated McCready’s work after hearing him perform Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Couldn’t Stand the Weather”. Gossard had known McCready from back before high school when the two would trade rock band pictures with each other. He then joined Gossard and Amet to start Pearl Jam.
During the production of Vitalogy, McCready went into rehabilitation in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he met bassist John Baker Saunders of The Lamont Cranston Band. In 1994, when the two returned to Seattle, they formed a side band, The Gacy Bunch, with vocalist Layne Staley of Alice in Chains and drummer Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees. After several live shows, they changed their name to Mad Season. The band released the album Above through Columbia Records in 1995, and are best known for the single “River of Deceit”. The band broke up following Saunders’ death in 1999 due to a heroin overdose. Staley would pass away three years later in 2002, of an apparent overdose of heroin and cocaine. Coincidentally Staley would die on McCready’s birthday. Mike McCready also suffers from Crohn’s disease.
Matt Cameron was born in San Diego, California and at the age of thirteen, he and some friends played in a cover band called “Kiss” (with the word imitation written underneath the name, in small print). During this stint, he met Paul Stanley. However, after a letter from the management of the band Kiss threatened the boys with legal action if they did not cease their infringement, the band melted away. Cameron attended Bonita Vista High School. In 1978, under the pseudonym “Foo Cameron”, Cameron sang the song “Puberty Love” which was featured in the movie Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. The nickname “Foo” came from Cameron’s older brother Pete, who pronounced Matthew as “Ma Foo”.
In 1983, Matt Cameron moves to Seattle and joins the band Skin Yard after working at Kinko. In 1986, he joined Soundgardan as their drummer and would be part of this band until their brake up in 1998 and he would then become the drummer for Pearl Jam. In 2010 Soundgardan got back together and now he is the drummer for both Soundgaradan and Pearl Jam. Cameron and his wife, April Acevez, are the parents of two children – son Ray and daughter Josie. A champion for arts education, Cameron has performed with and mentored several students through School of Rock.
Oh what I wouldn’t give to be a teen in the ’90s I would have been like Clarissa Darling from Clarissa Explains It All.
In August of 1991 (only 2 months before I am born) Pearl Jam’s enters into the world with Ten. Now like most kids that grew up in the late ’90s and early 2K without the benefit of the internet and streaming sites at our finger tips you had to look up music by listening to the radio. Something else you would do often was wait till your favorite song came on and then press record on your cassette tape making yourself a mix tape. Anyway that’s pretty much what happened with me and Pearl Jam. In middle school and high school when I was looking for new music especially rock as that was the music I was getting more and more into I looked no further then our local rock station DC 101. So when I first herd a Pearl Jam song I was hooked from the start. Eddie’s vocals where so beautiful and the guitar solos where amazing thanks to Stone Gosserd & Mike McCready. Now at that point I only knew a few of their songs due to the radio only playing selected songs. It wasn’t really until 2013 when I watched their documentary Pearl Jam 20 which goes through their journey from before they started to 2011 when they made the movie. I really found a beautiful connection with the band I hadn’t realized before I learned more of their story. So I went back and listened to the whole Ten album and just fell in love. The pain, angst and perfect harmonies with the dark yet beautiful lyrics really blew me away. To write about hart break, losing the father you never knew, your love of the ocean and depression/bullying/suicide among other things and conveying so much emotion in each song is just so powerful. They are one of my favorite OG bands who are also very politically and socially active which is totally a plus. I think I will always love this band and the influence they have had on my life.
Till Next Time…Listen to More Pearl Jam Stick Man!