For the generation-X, the 90s was an ultimate musical era, priceless experience, great music and good vibes all around. Seattle became a veritable conveyor belt to some of world’s finest musical exports such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and more. The cultural influences help shaped the early grunge era into the international platform simultaneously making it one of the most celebrated genres of recent history. While the world was craving for a musical conversion, Seattle underground music scene was already budding with a new music dimension while witnessing the birth of the modern day rock stars and the imposing resurgence of the grunge culture. Names like Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley and more were already building a fortress of tunes ready to take over the world at the first light of the day. While Nirvana became the first all-imposing grunge band to rise to fame, they succeeded in pushing the claustrophobic envelope further and opened up the doors for their fellow contemporaries to push the marks of grunge culture further into the lustrous rock spectrum. One of the most memorable band of the early 90s circa that came from the Seattle underground scene was Pearl Jam and no doubt is still one of the biggest name in the rock dominion
Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament of Green River together with Malfunkshun’s vocalist, Andrew Wood or most commonly known as Andy Wood were the founding members of the early Seattle punk-rock band, Mother Love Bone in 1987. They quickly established themselves as firm favourites of the Seattle underground scene and became an attractive package to further push the subterranean sounds to the mainstream arena. However the band only managed to release one album, Apple and was disbanded following Andy Wood‘s death from heroin overdose in 1990 at the age of 23. Apple is sometimes regarded as the early influences of the punk-rock initial emergence in the Seattle underground and Andy Wood as the forefather of the grunge movement.
Gossard and Ament were devastated by Wood’s death and parted ways but got back together after Mike McCready persuaded Gossard to do so. The three boys eventually got together and were looking to complete the band as soon as they found a drummer and vocalist. They made a demo tape and passed it to Jack Irons, the founding member of Red Hot Chili Pepper hoping that Irons would be interested to join them as the drummer. Iron who left Red Hot Chili Pepper following the death of band member, Hillel Slovak from a heroin overdose in 1988 passed on the offer but handed the demo tape over to his basketball buddy, a Californian-based musician and vocalist from the band Bad Radio, Eddie Vedder. Vedder recorded his vocals on three songs Alive, Once and Footsteps on the demo tape and sent it back. Gossard, Ament and McCready were impressed with Vedder‘s vocals and flew him down to Seattle for an audition that became the start of Vedder‘s successful career as one of rock n roll’s golden child. The band initially took the name Mookie Blaylock but settled on Pearl Jam.
While waiting for the band to be completed, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden invited the trio to become a part of Temple Of The Dog that was form as a tribute to Andy Wood who was Cornell’s room mate. The boys started to practise songs written by Cornell as well as some existing materials written by Gossard and Ament. The band was completed once Matt Cameron joined as the drummer. Temple Of The Dog released a self-title effort in 1991 with Eddie Vedder singing a duet with Chriss Cornell on Hunger Strike and providing backing vocals for some other songs.
Following the release of Temple Of The Dog’s album, all members went back to their respective bands and Pearl Jam entered the studio to start recording their own materials. Pearl Jam first came to its lush debut in 1991 following the success of their first studio album, Ten. Some of Ten singles became the early testaments of Pearl Jam‘s capability as a rock band and further propelled its creators to the mainstream success. The group became one of the most highly regarded bands of the 90s simultaneously securing them as one of the most ferocious and top contenders of the punk-rock dominion.
However, the band’s initial debut was heavily latched with controversies, which first started with being criticised by British media NME as the band who was stealing money from their fans while highly acclaimed rivals and fellow contemporary band member Kurt Cobain from Nirvana claimed that Pearl Jam was sell outs and Ten wasn’t an alternative band for having too many guitar leads. The dispute between the two Seattle based grunge bands was just a drop in the bucket as the dispute faded as the band’s notoriety became more established. Pearl Jam embarked on an extensive tour in support of Ten, which further integrated the band’s success mostly due to the band’s infectious energy and onstage persona during live performances.
With no attention in settling the core, the band once again provoked publicity following their 1992 MTV award wins for the track Jeremy that secured Pearl Jam as the winners of Video Of The Year and Best Group Video. Pearl Jam refused to make a video for the track ‘Black’ despite the heavy pressure from the record label. Following ‘Jeremy‘s’ success, the band opted for fewer interviews and television appearances, which was one of the major contributing factors in band’s success at that time. It was a ballsy move to let your record to do all the talking but with the band’s extensive craftsmanship and deliverance, it could be classified as a heroic move.
The band’s outstanding success, fame and popularity placed them in a discomforting position with the pressure falling intensely on the band’s front man, Eddie Vedder. The band’s frontman was often compared to his former contemporaries such as Jim Morrison and Pete Townshend who carried the band’s vigour through his theatrical impact and fascinating persona. In 1994, the band started a waging war with Ticketmasters after finding out that the ticket vendor has overcharged Pearl Jam‘s concert goers by indicting a service charge to the ticket prices. Pearl Jam aimed to keep the ticket prices low for their fans and was unhappy towards Ticketmasters and eventually started a denunciation act towards the ticket vendor. The vendor however refused to changed its policy to waive the service change that resulted in concert cancellation by Pearl Jam and further refusal to play at any venue that had a partnership with Ticketmaster.
For a band whose initial emergence in the music network was often regarded as rip-offs, Pearl Jam was willing to bend over backwards so their fans were not being ripped off by some irresponsible vendors. For a band that was so fond in doing extensive tours and live shows, the band went up to the level of cancelling concerts in protest to the injustice it sighted against its followers.
In 1993, Pearl Jam released its second studio album, Vs. and set the record for most copies of an album sold in its first week of release ultimately surpassing all other entrees on Billboard’s Top 10 list that week combined. Vs managed to hold the forth for 5 years until it was exceeded in 1998.
It has been a long and endless fight for Pearl Jam and for a band that has hit every stumbling block over the last 2 decades, it’s extremely impressive to witness the history of Pearl Jam as the masters of ceremony still reigns heigh on the map. The band’s front man Eddie Vedder has remained as one of the reasons why we continued believing in music and became our vessel to the past, where great times were build, music was angry but undeniably beautiful and the sincerity in musicians made everything far more enjoyable. Even through endless streak of tragedies that has overcast the rock n roll books, Eddie has outlived all the stigmata and together with Pearl Jam has been our very own source of survival.
We take a trip back to the magnificent era of post-punk, where Pearl Jam first took the stance in the popular punk medium and became one of the seminal bands of the 90s circa. Through Eddie Vedder‘s golden baritone, ferocious energy and venomous flair, Pearl Jam’s status sky-rocketed into the mainstream arena and won them a militant of fans worldwide.
Emotional Powerhouse And The Vocal God; Eddie Vedder
With Chris Cornell of Soundgarden for Temple Of The Dog
With Pearl Jam
Eddie Vedder throughout the 90s
Eddie On Stage Swagger
We Would Totally Do That Too!!