|Genres||Alternative Rock, Grunge|
|Date of Formation||1990|
|Formation Location||Seattle, Washington|
|Associated Acts||Temple of the Dog, Mother Love Bone, Malfunkshun, Green River|
Pearl Jam is an alternative rock band hailing from Seattle, Washington. They were formed after the death of Andrew Wood from Mother Love Bone and Malfunkshun. Pearl Jam is one of the Big Four of Grunge, having gained mainstream success through their album, Ten. Their success has gained them many albums sales; selling 32 million albums in the US, and an estimated 60 million albums worldwide.
Although Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard are the grunge pioneers who founded the band, most of the fame falls on vocals, Eddie Vedder.
Although their first three albums are the only three to get very favorable reviews, Pearl Jam's popularity continues through their boycotting of Ticketmaster and the number of live bootlegs they've released throughout their 2000's-2010's career.
Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard were part of the bands Green River and Mother Love Bone, forming the latter with Malfunkshun vocalist, Andrew Wood. However, Wood died in 1990, and the band broke up. Gossard found himself writing edgier songs than he did in past bands, and started jamming with his friend Mike McCready, whom was also a guitarist. After the two gained contact with Jeff Ament again, the trio set out to find a drummer and a singer.
They recorded a demo and sent it to Jack Irons, drummer of Red Hot Chili Peppers, hoping he would join the trio. Iron declined, however, but gave the demo to a lead vocalist he played basketball with: Bad Radio vocalist Eddie Vedder. Vedder worked part-time at a gas station in San Diego, California, when he obtained the entirely instrumental demo. When he listened to it, he began thinking of lyrics. These lyrics ended up being part of a three-way mini-opera he entitled Momma-Son. Vedder sent the recordings to the Gossard, Stone and Ament, who all liked the vocals. The three flew Vedder up to Seattle and had him audition, which he passed. The group later phoned Dave Krusen, a Tacoma based drummer, and auditioned him, later letting him join the band.
The band originally named their band after basketball player, Mookie Blaylock. They then played their first official show at Seattle's Off Ramp Café. After signing onto Epic Records, the group named themselves Pearl Jam, continuing the tradition of using two random words as a band name. However, Vedder claimed in an early interview that the name was a reference to his Aunt Pearl's peyote-laced jam. Vedder later admitted in a 2006 Rolling Stone interview that even though he indeed had an aunt named Pearl, the "pearl" part of the name was thought of by Ament before Vedder ever joined the band. The "Jam" part was thought of after going to a Neil Young concert, where Neil Young extended his songs with lengthy jams.
Pearl Jam finally recorded their first album, Ten, which was named after Mookie Blaylock's jersey number as a reference to their first name. They began recording in London Bridge Studios on March 1991. In May of 1991, Krusen left the band to go into rehabilitation, and he was replaced by Matt Chamberlain of Edie Brickel & New Bohemians. However, after playing only a few shows, one of which was filmed for the "Alive" video, Chamberlain left and suggested Dave Abbruzzese as his replacement. Abbruzzese joined the group and played the rest of Pearl Jam's live shows supporting Ten.
Ten was then released on August 27, 1991 with eleven tracks all written by Vedder. The album was a close mix of alternative rock and grunge with plenty of hard rock influence. In fact, the band has claimed to influenced by many classic rock and punk rock artist in there years of music listening and making. Ten had a few hit singles, including "Even Flow", "Alive", and "Jeremy," all three of which are commonly known as their best. The album itself was slow to sell, but it was certified gold within a couple months. Ten stayed on the Billboard charts for more than two years, and has gone on to become one of the highest-selling rock records ever. Ten's success helped Pearl Jam become of the members of the Big Four of Grunge, who are made up of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. Ten became one of the most important albums in the grunge scene, and helped to introduce the mainstream to alternative rock and grunge albums, along with Alice in Chains' Facelift and Dirt, Nirvana's Nevermind, and Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger.
Pearl Jam felt that touring very often would help raise popularity, so they toured nonstop. Early on in Pearl Jam's career, the band became known for its intense live performances. Vedder stated that "playing music and then getting a shot at making a record and at having an audience and stuff, it's just like an untamed force...But it didn't come from jock mentality. It came from just being let out of the gates." In 1992, Pearl Jam made television appearances on TV and took a slot on that summer's Lollapalooza tour. Because of the rise in popularity of grunge, Pearl Jam also contributed two songs onto the nearly all-grunge soundtrack to the film, Singles. However, this success was soon to be a burden, especially for Eddie Vedder.
Vs., Ticketmaster, and Vitalogy Edit
Touring for their second album put a lot of pressure on the band, mostly due to their success. Part of the reason they stopped writing music videos was because they felt that a music video deprived the listener of a song from expressing what the song meant to the listener in their mind by putting images into the video which would let the listeners remember the songs in a video's manner, and not their own.
Pearl Jam later released their second album, Vs. in 1993. The album sold almost 1 million albums within its first week. Pearl Jam decided to produce any more music videos after the massive success of "Jeremy" and took part in less interviews and television appearances. Industry insiders compared Pearl Jam's tour that year to the touring habits of Led Zeppelin, in that the band "ignored the press and took its music directly to the fans." During the Vs. Tour, the band set a $2.00 cap on service fees for tickets.
But Pearl Jam was then having problems with Ticketmaster. They had found out that Ticketmaster had added up to an additional $5.50 service charge to the tickets, and they refused to waver the charge. Pearl Jam filed an anti-trust complaint against Ticketmaster to congress. As a part of a boycott against Ticketmaster, Peal Jam built their own venues that were not owned by or related to Ticketmaster. They had complete control of ticket prices in their own locations (which were mostly rural). Pearl Jam’s efforts to organize a tour without the ticket giant collapsed which Pearl Jam said was evidence of Ticketmaster’s creation of a monopoly that enabled them to charge what they wanted in fees. An analysis of an investigation from the press suggested that Ticketmaster's monopoly had used anti-competitive methods that violated section 2 of the Sherman Act. So Pearl Jam took the issue to Congress in mid-1994. A bill was written that disallowed Ticketmaster from burying escalated service fees. Afterwards, Pearl Jam canceled its 1994 summer tour in protest. However, the case was soon dropped. Pearl Jam's stand against the tycoon lead many new artists to start charging small fees for their tickets, such as Green Day and Stone Temple Pilots.
No Code and Yield Edit
Pearl Jam starting recording No Code after the touring, and the album was seen as a break from their original sound. Pearl Jam had switched to alternative rock because the grunge scene had ended. The lyrical themes for the album were growing and self-examination. As with Vitalogy, touring in America for On Tour provided difficult. So a European Tour was taken in 1996. Soon afterward, they began recording Yield, which was a return to their original sound, despite not returning to their grunge roots. The album was more about the team writing it as a whole. This helped relieve much of the collected stress from their issues with Ticketmaster. When No Code was dropping in the charts, Yield debuted at #2. Yield is notable for having the song "Do the Evolution," which was paired with a video, Pearl Jam's first since 1992. A documentary detailing the making of Yield, Single Video Theory, was released on VHS and DVD later that year. In 1998, Irons left the band because he was not handling the touring well, and he was replaced with Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron, who's stayed with the band since. During the tour, many complaints about the inaccessability of tickets came. Because of this, Pearl Jam started using Ticketmaster again.
Binaural and the Official Bootlegs Edit
The band took a short break from touring, but then started recording an album for 2000. Binaural was the first album since the band's debut not produced by Brendan O'Brien. This marked yet another change in the band's sound, as they were "tired of grunge." During the Binaural Tour, they found that fans wanted copies of the shows they recorded, and thus they began their Pearl Jam Official Bootlegs series. Aware of bootlegging practices, they decided to release their own albums under the "bootleg" name for fans to have better quality products.
During a show in mid-2000, a crush occured at the Roskilde Festival, injuring 26 people and suffocating 9. When the band found out what happened, they stopped playing and tried to stop the sotuation, but it was too late. 9 people had died. Pearl Jam were originally blamed, but the responsibility was taken off of them. THis incident greatly affected the band. They considered retiring after cancelling the remaining two tour dates. They also made many tributes to the nine who were crushed.
On October 22, 2000, the band played the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, celebrating the tenth anniversary of its first live performance. They also performed their song, "Long Road," with Neil Young at the America: A Tribute to Heroes benefit concert to raise money for faimilies of nine-eleven victims.
Note: the member and timeline data is taken from Wikipedia's Pear Jam article.
Current members Edit
- Eddie Vedder – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1990–present)
- Mike McCready – lead guitar, backing vocals (1990–present)
- Stone Gossard – rhythm/lead guitar, backing vocals (1990–present)
- Jeff Ament – bass, backing vocals (1990–present)
- Matt Cameron – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1998–present)
- Dave Krusen – drums, percussion (1990–1991)
- Matt Chamberlain – drums, percussion (1991)
- Dave Abbruzzese – drums, percussion (1991–1994)
- Jack Irons – drums, percussion (1994–1998)
- Boom Gasper – piano, keyboard, organ (2002–present)
Studio Albums Edit
- Ten (1991)
- Vs. (1993)
- Vitalogy (1994)
- No Code (1996)
- Yield (1998)
- Binaural (2000)
- Riot Act (2002)
- Pearl Jam (2006)
- Backspacer (2009)
- Lightning Bolt (2013)
Live Albums Edit
- Live on Two Legs (1998)
- Live at Benaroya Hall (2004)
- Live in NYC 12/31/92 (2006)
- Live at Easy Street (2006)
- Live at the Gorge 05/06 (2007)
- Live at Lollapalooza 2007 (2007)
- Live on Ten Legs (2011)
- 9.11.2011 Toronto, Canada (2011)
Main article: Pearl Jam Official Bootlegs
- Merkin Ball (1995)
- Live at Easy Street (2006)