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Spin Online, August 2001

Ten Past Ten
By Eric Weisbard with Jessica Letkemann, Ann Powers, Chris Norris, William Van Meter, and Will Hermes

Dramatis Personae

  • Dave Abbruzzese: drummer, 1991-1994
  • Jeff Ament: bassist
  • Michelle Anthony: Executive Vice President Sony Music
  • Tim Bierman : manager of Ten Club, Pearl Jam's fan club
  • Bono: singer, U2
  • Matt Cameron: drummer, 1998-present
  • Chris Cornell: singer, Soundgarden
  • Cameron Crowe: filmmaker
  • Kelly Curtis: manager, Pearl Jam
  • Brett Eliason: sound engineer, Pearl Jam
  • Cathy Faulkner: music director, KISW, Seattle
  • Michael Goldstone: A executive, Epic, 1990-1996
  • Stone Gossard: guitarist
  • Dave Grohl : singer/guitarist, Foo Fighters former drummer, Nirvana
  • Karrie Keyes: sound engineer
  • Rick Krim: producer, MTV/VH1
  • Mike McCready: guitarist
  • Brendan O'Brien: producer
  • Mark Pellington: director, "Jeremy" video
  • Jim Rose: circus impresario
  • Susan Silver: manager, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains
  • Gloria Steinem: author; women's rights activist; Ms. co-founder
  • Pete Townshend: guitarist/singer, the Who
  • Steve Turner: guitarist, Mudhoney
  • Eddie Vedder: singer
  • Nancy Wilson: singer/guitarist, Heart

It's been a decade since Pearl Jam released Ten, which sold 11 million copies and gave hard rock a heart transplant. In an exclusive look back, the band and a host of comrades run it all down, from the censored "Jeremy" video and the interband struggles to the Roskilde tragedy and the road ahead. An oral history of a band that matters.

When Pearl Jam's Ten came out a decade ago on August 27, 1991, pretty much nobody cared. Unlike Nirvana's Nevermind, which a month later revolutionized music faster than Kurt Cobain could pull the hair from his eyes, Ten took a full year to climb the charts. "Jeremy," the third single and the band's only true video, finally unleashed the floodgates in the summer of '92.

Yet even then we had little sense what Pearl Jam represented. A few million MTV fans and some historic live shows notwithstanding, they hadn't fully arrived. Their throbbing, baritone sound was branded by some as a sellout, corporate version of grunge, and the band members themselves couldn't shake the feeling that, where it counted, they hadn't registered. Especially their lead singer—an outwardly shy but maniacally competitive surfer from San Diego who'd been plagued with identity questions long before anyone started debating the meaning of "alternative."

Eddie Vedder grew up with a man he thought was his father and wasn't; when he found out, he became what film director and good friend Cameron Crowe calls "a living Pete Townshend character," consumed with unresolved hurt. But that isn't the Pearl Jam—nor is lead guitarist Mike McCready's days in the juvenile hair metal band Shadow, nor is bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard's formative experiences in the pivotal Seattle indie-rock band Green River, which would also beget Mudhoney. Ament and Gossard left Green River to pursue mainstream rock glory in Mother Love Bone, then saw it ripped away when lead singer Andy Wood died of a heroin overdose right before their debut's release in 1990.

It's the combination that sets up the Pearl Jam story. The vocals that Vedder added to the instrumental demos he got through his friend Jack Irons (later one of the band's ever-revolving cast of drummers) resonated precisely with Gossard and Ament's sense of loss. A trip to Seattle to check the fit, and the result was a band that exploded both live and commercially before anyone had had a chance to figure out what the goals were. And then a tumultuous decade, marked by interband squabbles, contentious back-and-forths with the pop machinery, and, long after every question seemed to have been settled, a tragic concert at which nine fans died.

The group that was once accused of being synthetic grunge now seem as organic and principled a rock band as exists, continually tweaking the industry: introducing what became their biggest single ("Last Kiss") as a fan-club-only release; producing 72 live albums to document their 2000 tour. We talked with the band and their contemporaries—musicians, crew members, friends, and industry folks. Mixed in with some great stories is the answer to a paramount question: Why were Pearl Jam, virtually alone among their peers, the ones who kept the flame alive?


MARCH 19: Mother Love Bone singer Andy Wood dies of a heroin overdose a month shy of the band's debut, Apple. MLB immediately disbands. SEPTEMBER: In San Diego, Eddie Vedder adds vocals to demo tapes of a nascent Seattle band, creating the first Pearl Jam recordings OCTOBER: Vedder travels to Seattle to rehearse with the band OCTOBER 22: The band, temporarily named Mookie Blaylock, play their first show at the Off Ramp. NOVEMBER-DECEMBER: Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron and Mookie Blaylock's Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, and Vedder record Temple of the Dog.

KELLY CURTIS: With Mother Love Bone, there was this huge buzz. It was unheard of. It was such a crazy year, 1990, because it went from we're putting a record out . . . and then Andy dies. And then by the end of the year, we found Eddie.

STONE GOSSARD: I saw Mike at a party when he was really drunk playing blues guitar and he was totally amazing. I had known Mike for a long time, since I was in 7th Grade, and he went through a transformation; found his own voice.

McCREADY: He said, "do you want to jam," so we got together and we started playing upstairs in his parent's attic. Jeff was playing with other people at the time. I said, "we've got to get Jeff, because you guys together are really great." Jeff said he wanted to do it. All these songs came out of that time: Jeff had "Jeremy," Stone had "Black," "Alive." I came up with "Yellow Ledbetter." When Matt [Cameron] helped us out with [with drumming on] the demos, I knew these songs were going to be good.

JEFF AMENT: I was going through a major identity crisis at that point; I'd put my heart and soul into Mother Love Bone, gave up school, and to have it be snuffed out so quickly. All summer, Stone and I would meet up, mountain bike and just talk. We aired our grievances with one another. He told me that I needed to lighten up a bit and I told him that he needed to take it more seriously.

Dramatis Personae

  • Dave Abbruzzese: drummer, 1991-1994
  • Jeff Ament: bassist
  • Michelle Anthony: Executive Vice President Sony Music
  • Tim Bierman : manager of Ten Club, Pearl Jam's fan club
  • Bono : singer, U2
  • Matt Cameron: drummer, 1998-present
  • Chris Cornell: singer, Soundgarden
  • Cameron Crowe: filmmaker
  • Kelly Curtis: manager, Pearl Jam
  • Brett Eliason: sound engineer, Pearl Jam
  • Cathy Faulkner: music director, KISW, Seattle
  • Michael Goldstone: A executive, Epic, 1990-1996
  • Stone Gossard: guitarist
  • Dave Grohl : singer/guitarist, Foo Fighters former drummer, Nirvana
  • Karrie Keyes: sound engineer
  • Rick Krim: producer, MTV/VH1
  • Mike McCready: guitarist
  • Brendan O'Brien: producer
  • Mark Pellington: director, "Jeremy" video
  • Jim Rose: circus impresario
  • Susan Silver: manager, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains
  • Gloria Steinem: author; women's rights activist; Ms. co-founder
  • Pete Townshend: guitarist/singer, the Who
  • Steve Turner: guitarist, Mudhoney
  • Eddie Vedder: singer
  • Nancy Wilson: singer/guitarist, Heart

MICHAEL GOLDSTONE: I had bumped into Jack [Irons] at a party because I knew Jack from [the band] What Is This?. I told him [Jeff and Stone's new band] needed a drummer and was looking for a singer too. He initially turned it down, then forwarded his demo to Eddie, and then I guess Eddie called those guys direct.

CURTIS: The pivotal moment was Jeff coming by the office with the tape and saying you aren't going to believe this. We were like, "Oh my god, this is scary."

McCREADY: I'd never been in a situation where it clicks. It all happened in seven days. We had worked up all the music a month prior to that with [original drummer Dave] Krusen. When Eddie came up he had "Footsteps," "Alive," and "Black." And out of that week came so many other things. It was very punk rock. Eddie would stay there in the rehearsal studio, writing all night. We'd show up and there was another one. And then he had to get back. I remember giving him a ride back, at about five in the morning, to Sea-Tac Airport. I remember him saying "Don't be late!" He had to get back to work.

EDDIE VEDDER: I always had the kind of clip-on-tie, stocking-the-shelves-at-drugstores jobs. And for that first week of rehearsing with the band, I wasn't going to have to go to work. It was just going to be about music. We practiced in an art gallery, in the basement. And the alley that we were on was like crack-alley central. I remember having to use the restroom upstairs and going through these rooms that smelled of oil paint and sawdust and stuff. The guys would come in, and we'd practice and then maybe go play some pool and then come back and keep working, surrounded by Gatorade bottles with piss in them for those times when you didn't feel like walking up the stairs.

CURTIS: Eddie was this shy guy. It was just the opposite of [late Mother Love Bone frontman] Andy Wood, who was this flamboyant, David Lee Roth kind of guy.

AMENT: The minute we started rehearsing and Ed started singing—which was within an hour of him landing in Seattle—was the first time I was like, "Wow, this is a band that I'd play at home on my stereo." What he was writing about was the space Stone and I were in. We'd just lost one of our friends to a dark and evil addiction, and he was putting that feeling to words. I saw him as a brother. That's what pulled me back in [to making music]. It's like when you read a book and there's something describing something you've felt all your life.

STONE GOSSARD: I don't think I appreciated Eddie like I do now back then—his words and where he was coming from. Writing songs like "Release" or "Even Flow" in that basement together, I knew immediately when he was singing it felt good. But it took Ed and me a long time to get to know each other. We were very different kinds of people.

GOLDSTONE: This little experiment ended up turning into Ten within a six-week process. Ed went up to Seattle initially, came home, moved up there, and never came back [to Southern California].

CAMERON CROWE: I loved Mother Love Bone, so when I was writing the movie that would end up being [1992's] Singles, I wanted to interview Jeff and Stone to explore the whole coffee-culture, "two or three jobs, one of which is your band" lifestyle. The terrible turn of events that took place was that Andy died. And everybody just instinctively showed up at Kelly [Curtis]'s house that night. For me it was the first real feeling of what it was like to have a hometown—everybody pulling together for some people they really loved. That was a pivotal moment, I think, for a lot of people there. It made me want to do Singles as a love letter to the community that I was really moved by. Few people know this, but Stone is actually in [Crowe's 1989 film] Say Anything.... He plays a cab driver, and Ione Skye looks at him and kind of flirts with him a little bit as they're stuck in traffic on her way to graduation.

AMENT: I definitely don't talk like Matt Dillon. But I made a couple of thousand bucks loaning him my clothes. I wore shorts year round. I rode bikes everywhere, didn't have a car, and if I was going to practice I had to carry my bass on my bicycle, so I couldn't wear jeans. I'm not sure what defined what grunge was or wasn't. I never ever wore a flannel shirt. I had a few hats, for sure. That started off when I was in Green River and had a girlfriend who made hats. At the time, I don't think I looked like a rocker, I looked like a dumbass. It was partly function and partly what was laying around.

McCREADY: I really liked Stevie Ray Vaughn, so hey—I tried to look like him. At least I had gotten out of my mullet phase. Eddie just had his punk rock thing. He wore what he wore and still does. [Jeff and Stone] dressed a certain way, because that was their clique—that sarcastic, playing-like-you're-at-an-arena-to-30-people look.

GOSSARD: For a long period of time, me and Jeff would have loved to be in Get Your Wings-era Aerosmith, or Iggy Pop, or David Bowie. But there was something going on in Seattle that added a different element, a kind of garage approach.

CROWE: Eddie was painfully shy. It was weird because he was...barely there. But you couldn't take your eyes off him. There's a guy sort of sitting across from you, with his hands on his lap, and looking down, and you wanted to reach out and let him know that he didn't have to be so shy. He was and still is an amazing listener. When he locks in and he's talking about something that matters to him, the whole world disappears. Hours can go by. The first time I met him, we mostly talked about Pete Townshend. He knew every detail. I remember very clearly my feeling that Townshend could have written this guy as a character. He was a living Pete Townshend character.

CHRIS CORNELL: I first met Eddie in a waiting room [outside our common rehearsal space] the day he first got to Seattle. He was very quiet and very shy and didn't have a lot to say. He was under a lot of pressure, a lonely guy away from home in a room full of people who had a lot of experience in bands. He was by himself, just singing his words and doing his thing.

VEDDER: We were both singers. When I first came up and he [Chris Cornell] put out his hand to me early on which is so important to me it's almost undefinable. The first time we played he came to this little club and he told me that it was really good and he was thankful that I was there and that I was who I was, or something really nice, but the whole time he was saying this, he didn't realize but he was standing under a black light, and his teeth were glowing and his eyes were glowing. I remember it as my first conversation with Satan.

GOSSARD: We made a record with Chris Cornell called Temple of the Dog. I still listen to it and think that it's the best thing I've ever been involved with. Whatever that combination of people was, I'd never been in a situation where it was that easy. I've almost been looking for that ever since. The very first thing we did was a very high water mark, the way that our two bands complemented each other. And it was a bunch of songs that Chris wrote totally from the heart. He wrote these songs without any preconceived notions of where they might end up or what they were going to be. That's where the real gold is. In terms of writing music, being self-conscious is the worst place to be.

CORNELL: I had written "Say Hello to Heaven" and "Reach Down" and I had recorded them by myself at home. My initial thought was I could record them with the ex members of Mother Love Bone as a tribute single to Andy [Wood]. And I got a phone call from Jeff, saying he just thought the songs were amazing and let's make a whole record. When we started rehearsing the songs, I had pulled out "Hunger Strike" and I had this feeling it was just kind of gonna be filler, it didn't feel like a real song. Eddie was sitting there kind of waiting for a [Mookie Blaylock] rehearsal and I was singing parts, and he kind of humbly—but with some balls—walked up to the mic and started singing the low parts for me because he saw it was kind of hard. We got through a couple choruses of him doing that and suddenly the light bulb came on in my head, this guy's voice is amazing for these low parts. History wrote itself after that, that became the single. I think Temple was the first full-length album that McCready ever recorded. You almost kind of had to yell at him to get him to realize that in the five-and-a-half minute solo of "Reach Down," that was his time and that he wasn't going to be stepping on anybody else. He started recording what was eventually the solo, halfway through it he got so into it that his headphones flew off, and he played half that solo without even hearing the song.

SUSAN SILVER: [Mookie Blaylock] played their first show at the Off Ramp, a female-motorcyclist bar. It was the same club Cameron shot Soundgarden in for Singles. And everyone was nervous, wanting to see the phoenix rise. There was such an intense connection among all of them. Even though the Off Ramp show was amazing and people wanted to see Stone and Jeff win, when they opened for Alice in Chains [on December 22] at the Moore Theatre, there was still a lot of grieving about Andy. He was such a special guy, such a character, so fearless and outrageous—the whiteface and the sparkly spandex outfits. So this was the first time that a lot of fans saw Eddie, and the feeling I was picking up from the audience was "Who is this guy? Is he good enough to fill Andy's shoes?" It felt like the place wholeheartedly accepted him.

CROWE: At the Moore Theatre, the first song they did was "Release," and I remember looking over at Nancy [Wilson, Crowe's wife], and we were like, "That's the shy guy? Oh my God!" Soon he was hanging from the rafters. It was sort of like the end of Eddie as the excruciatingly shy guy.

1991: GIVEN TO FLY MARCH: The band adopts the name Pearl Jam. APRIL 16: Temple of the Dog released. MAY 25: Drummer Dave Krusen fired AUGUST 2: "Alive" single is released AUGUST 23: Drummer Dave Abbruzzese plays first show with band AUGUST 27: Ten is released OCTOBER-DECEMBER: Tour with Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Smashing Pumpkins, and Nirvana

CORNELL: Stone and Jeff were in Green River, and Green River and Soundgarden always had a friendly rivalry. I've had discussions with Johnny Ramone about the New York scene when the Ramones were coming up, and he was very surprised at how well bands like Soundgarden and Pearl Jam would get along, because he said that in the New York scene, bands weren't very nice to each other.

NANCY WILSON: There was a really cool night when a whole bunch of those people came to my house, a farm near Seattle. Kelly and most of the Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains guys showed up. We pulled out guitars and had a hootenanny. It was one of those nights that you never forget, like camping out together. Some people were chemically altered and were giving champagne to my horses when I woke up the next morning. Eddie and [wife] Beth [Liebling] were just like little Eskimos in their sleeping bags.

AMENT: The first time I mentioned Pearl Jam [as a band name] was when Ed, Stone, and I were watching Sonic Youth play with Crazy Horse. In the middle of Crazy Horse I turned to Stone and said, "what about 'Pearl Jam'?" A couple of years later, the first time that we played [Neil Young's] Bridge School [benefit], I saw Neil's big black, must have been a '55 Chevy and the license plate says PEARL 10. I think I'm in a dream. I asked Neil how long he'd had those plates, and he said 15 years.

KELLY CURTIS: Jeff and Stone, they weren't released from their PolyGram contract. But now we didn't have any relationships with PolyGram and we were being ignored. So we kind of concocted a scheme. We hired the lawyer who had negotiated his contract to help us get out of it. This after six months of trying to get money out of PolyGram.

MICHAEL GOLDSTONE: The band fought hard for their release. Kelly and the band had a meeting with Rick Dobbis to basically say we want to go off and do our own thing and start over. And he benevolently granted them their freedom. Kelly then came downtown to a restaurant in Chinatown to meet me and [Sony Music exec] Michele Anthony, let us know how it went. So he's there with Stone and Jeff, waiting for us, and Dobbis walks in. And they literally feigned that they had just finished eating. They left and ran down the street, caught us just as we were getting out of the cab, and we all went running off downtown somewhere else. Small town: how many restaurants, right? It was like A Hard Day's Night. By the time Eddie was playing the shows as Mookie Blaylock, it hadn't been finalized yet, not legally, and that was a huge panic for me. But they got their release. I think there were people who tried to get it stopped within PolyGram. I'm sure they don't look back on it too fondly.

McCREADY: Recording Ten, we probably did "Even Flow" 30 times. "Yellow Ledbetter" [the B-side of "Jeremy"] was probably the second take; when we did that song, Ed just started going for it. But [Ten] was mostly Stone and Jeff; me and Eddie were along for the ride at that time.

AMENT: I'd love to remix Ten. Ed, for sure, would agree with me. Three, four years ago, I picked out a cassette, and it had the rough mixes of "Garden" and "Once," and it sounded great. It wouldn't be like changing performances; just pull some of the reverb off it.

DAVE GROHL: The first thing I remember of Pearl Jam was hearing "Alive" on the radio while I was living in Seattle. I pictured Mountain or some serious '70s throwback. The music just seemed like classic rock to me, so I pictured the singer being some husky, fuckin' bearded, leather-jacketed Tad type, big and fat and tortured and scary.

STEVE TURNER: Stone was such, and still is such a hilariously funny, sarcastic guy when he was in his full rock mode in the mid to late '80s. I kept thinking, I hope Stone becomes a rock star, just so I can see him being interviewed on MTV cause he's just fucking funny.

GOSSARD: We thought metal was pretty much a joke at that point, but we also knew that it was an area where we could get some fans. Headbangers Ball and Rip magazine, all that stuff. You're going to do whatever you can to get it going. We made an "Even Flow" video that never came out that I'm sensitive about, because it was my idea. It ended up being totally rawk: lots of big lights, out on a cliff, definitely comic to look back on now. Hopefully at some point, we'll be able to laugh at ourselves enough to show that one.

CURTIS: People didn't know what it was. Once people came and saw them live, this lightbulb would go on. Doing their first tour, you kind of knew it was happening and there was no stopping it. To play in the Midwest and be selling out these 500 seat clubs. Eddie could say he wanted to talk to Brett, the sound guy, and they'd carry him out there on their hands. You hadn't really seen that reaction from a crowd before.

GOLDSTONE: The band did such an amazing job opening the Chili Peppers tour that it opened doors at radio. You look at how long that record took to explode, and it was exactly how they would have wanted it—not having it shoved down everyone's throats the first five minutes. People got to discover Pearl Jam on their own: The kid on the street took all of his friends, and then the next time through everyone came.

MATT CAMERON: Eddie used to write everybody a lot in the early days. I used to get postcards when he was on tour with little drawings on them. One, he snuck into this locked-up ballpark that was getting condemned, and on the postcard he had a big arrow, "I am here," in the middle of the ballfield. He's up for anything. The kind of guy who'll go for it.

CATHY FAULKNER: Early on, we always made bets on where Eddie would climb to jump from.

GROHL: I didn't sit and watch them play until the show in San Diego, where Eddie climbed the fuckin' lighting rig. I swear to God he was like 250 feet up in the air. It was one of the scariest things I've ever seen live in my entire life. I've seen people cut themselves, I've seen people shit, I've seen people get beat up onstage, and I've seen people break bones, break their backs, and get concussions. Honestly, I was horrified. I was really scared that he was gonna die.

VEDDER: In San Diego we were playing with Nirvana and the Chili Peppers. I had climbed an I-beam that you could kind of wrap your hand around. So I got to the top, and I thought, "Well, how do I get down?" I either just give it up and look like an idiot, or I go for it. So I decided to try it, and it was really ridiculously high, like 100 feet, something mortal. I was thinking that my mother was there, and I didn't want her to see me die. So somehow I finally got back onstage, finished the song, and went to the side and threw up. I knew that was really stupid, beyond ridiculous. But to be honest, we were playing before Nirvana. You had to do something. Our first record was good, but their first record was better.

McCREADY: I remember after the New Year's Eve 1991 show, somebody running onto the bus and saying Nirvana had just hit No. 1. I remember thinking, "Wow; it's on now." It changed something. We had something to prove—that our band was as good as I thought it was.

1992: WHY GO HOME?

JULY 18: The Lollapalooza tour begins, including Ministry, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Jim Rose Circus (a collective who liked to lift weights with their genitals, pump their stomachs etc.) JULY 22: "Jeremy" single released SEPTEMBER 18: Cameron Crowe's Singles, based loosely on the Seattle rock scene, released

JIM ROSE: The bile-drinking contests started with [Soundgarden's ] Chris Cornell. There's an act in our show where one of my members—and it would be a different one every day, because no one can do it really twice in a row—would force seven feet of tubing into their stomach through their nose, and we would pump in beer, ketchup, and mayonnaise. Then it was sucked back out, and the result became known as bile beer. One early stop on Lollapalooza, Chris came up and drank it. The very next day, Eddie came up and did it. Then for two days after, [Ministry's] Al Jourgensen came back on and did it. He started telling Eddie and Chris that he's drank more than they have. Well, Chris bowed out. But Eddie's right there every day drinking this stuff. At the end of the tour, Eddie says, "I have drunk two quarts more than you, Al, and I've won."

VEDDER: Just looking for attention, I guess. Every city there'd be some old friend or my wife's parents, and I'd get to gross everyone out.

MICHELLE ANTHONY: I remember [the Lollapalooza stop] at Jones Beach [near New York City] standing with Kelly, watching Ed climb this huge scaffolding. He's looking down, and it looks like there's water on the side, except we knew that the water was only six inches deep. The two of us are going oh no, please don't let him jump. There were always those edge of the seat moments.


THE OFF RAMP, SEATTLE, OCTOBER 22, 1990 ...And on the seventh day, they played their first show. A diffident Eddie Vedder is rooted to his spot, but his baritone unshakily booms through the songs that will become Ten. A fan near the ad-hoc videotaper presciently mutters: "Wow. Who the fuck is this guy?"

COW PALACE, SAN FRANCISCO, DECEMBER 31, 1991 How do Pearl Jam compete when opening for Nirvana and the Chili Peppers? Ament leaps against amps, and Vedder executes a running swan dive into the pit, swimming back to the stage shoeless.

MTV UNPLUGGED, MARCH 16, 1992 Pearl Jam mastered the campfire acoustica at a small gig in Zurich a month earlier, but Unplugged captures it writ large. With Vedder standing on a stool writing PRO-CHOICE! on his arm and McCready bludgeoning his strings, this version of "Porch" is still among their best.

ALPINE VALLEY, EAST TROY, WISCONSIN, AUGUST 29 1992 Quintessential old-school Pearl Jam: Ament's a blur, Gossard's in full duck-walk groove, and a wild-eyed Vedder interrupts his howling with a climb to the amphitheater's roof, where he Tarzans into the mosh pit from a rope dangling from a pole.

MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS, SEPTEMBER 3, 1993 A month before the release of Vs., an unannounced Neil Young plays sideman on a cover of his own "Rockin' in the Free World." The squall is righteous, even if Vedder looks a bit worse for rock-star wear.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE , APRIL 16, 1994 A shaken, wary group channels its grief over Kurt Cobain's death a week prior. Credits roll with Vedder placing his hand over the K written on his shirt.

SOLDIER FIELD, CHICAGO, JULY 11, 1995 Forty-seven thousand fans chant "Ticketmaster sucks!" unprompted. One of the few shows that happened after Pearl Jam canceled their first non-Ticketmaster tour midway through, this three-hour bliss-out comprises crazy covers, improvs, and damn near all of the band's catalog.


SEPTEMBER 29, 1996 Non-Ticketmaster tour 2.0, and here's Pearl Jam on the art-rock tip. During an 11-minute version of "Porch," Vedder blackens his eyes with burned cork, binds himself with duct tape, and delivers his "famous" "You are somebody" soliloquy.

MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NEW YORK CITY SEPTEMBER 11, 1998 Thousands of signs calling for "Breath" are held aloft. Pearl Jam play it for the first time in years, and 20,000 stand on chairs singing along. Opener Ben Harper duets in tears on "Indifference," and Vedder climbs up the mic cord he's hurled over the lighting truss during "Alive."

KEY ARENA, SEATTLE, NOVEMBER 6, 2000 After Roskilde, the band found the fortitude not to cancel their planned U.S. tour. This is their emotional homecoming and triumphant finale. Friends come from around the world, tears flow, and the band makes magic until 1:30 A.M. The most moving show of Pearl Jam's entire decade, period. J.l.

McCREADY: At Lollapalooza one show, Eddie had missed the bus we were on. I remember panicking: we're not playing today! He was at a gas station and got a ride from a passing truck driver. He ran through the audience while were starting to do like a Temple of the Dog set, he fully ran. We played "Hunger Strike," "Reach Down," and then he got up there and we did our set.

CROWE: Pearl Jam would get together in a circle before they went onstage and Eddie pulled me into the circle before one of their Lollapalooza shows. I put that in [my 2000 film] Almost Famous, even though it actually happened 20 years later.

CORNELL: There was a second stage at Lollapalooza, so Eddie and me worked up an acoustic set and got some space on the second stage for the middle of the day. We got a golf cart and drove through the crowd to the stage, and it was like the Beatles. There were, like, a hundred people running and screaming and chasing the golf cart. It was the first time I realized what was happening with his band.

BRETT ELIASON: One of the last times Ed went into the crowd was Lollapalooza—in Ontario, Canada. People were literally trying to take pieces of him. He was bloody, his shirt was torn up, somebody had him by the hair.

CURTIS: When "Jeremy" happened and they played at the MTV Video Music Awards, [Sony Music CEO Tommy] Mottola was at the Sony after-party saying, "You have to release 'Black.'" And the band was saying, "No. Enough. This is big enough."

GOLDSTONE: "Black" was kind of a sore subject; a lot of other people in the company really wanted "Black" as the next single.

CURTIS: We turned down inaugurals, TV specials, stadium tours, every kind of merchandise you could think of. I got a call from Calvin Klein, wanting Eddie to be in an ad. I learned how to say no really well. I was proud of the band, proud of their stances. We were starting to use the power for more political, more charitable type things.

McCREADY: It was at that time that Eddie took it over. Benevolent dictatorship: That's kind of the theory. Jeff and Stone running things from one angle, but with Eddie, it was all about pulling back.

AMENT: [American Music Club's] Mark Eitzel told us, "I saw the video for 'Jeremy,' and I fucking hated it." It was so shocking, this guy we'd just met. He said, "I had a totally different vision of it, and that fucked up the whole thing." And I agreed with him.

MARK PELLINGTON: Probably the greatest frustration I've ever had is that the ending [of the "Jeremy" video] is sometimes misinterpreted as that he shot his classmates. The idea is, that's his blood on them, and they're frozen at the moment of looking. I would get calls years later about it, around the time of Columbine. I think that video tapped into something that has always been around and will always be around. You're always going to have peer pressure, you're always going to have adolescent rage, you're always going to have dysfunctional families.

RICK KRIM: I have the unedited "Jeremy" video. It was too explicit. The boy sticking a gun in his mouth—it still gives me a chill to watch it. As you can imagine, the band didn't want to change it. They felt this was their statement. I got on the phone with Eddie on a couple of occasions to argue our position, like, God forbid some kid thinks that's cool and sticks a gun in his mouth. But it wasn't a pleasant experience, for me or for them. In my office, I have a poster from the first record, which actually has a picture of Kelly [Curtis]'s daughter when she's three years old, she's playing with a gun in crayons. They all signed it, and Eddie's note points to the gun and says: "the gun you wouldn't let us show. And thanks to you, I think you showed too much." Meaning, the combination of having to compromise their artistic vision and then it got so popular. That was the end of videos for Pearl Jam.

CROWE: Singles was in the can for a year before it came out. But the success of the so-called "Seattle sound" got it released. Warner Bros. said, "If you can get Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam to play the MTV party that we can use to publicize the movie, we'll put it out." So I painfully had to try and talk the bands into doing it. Pearl Jam said that they'd do it as a favor to me. So the taping happened, and it was...a disaster. It was populated mostly by studio executives and their children, who wanted to see the Seattle Sound.

KRIM: Eddie was hanging with a bunch of his surfer friends from San Diego. I remember fire marshals onstage, Eddie yelling at security guys. They had to shut it down. We had to get Eddie out before they arrested him.

CROWE: They were playing covers, and somebody got into a fight, and Chris Cornell got into it, and I think [Soundgarden's] Kim Thayil got into it. I remember Eddie yelling, "Fuuuck! What the fuck is this?' and studio executives grabbing their kids and streaming out. I was seeing this whole thing to get the movie released going down the tubes. But Singles came out, and the show aired twice, heavily edited. To anybody who taped it off the air, it's a real collectible. Later, we made up t-shirts to commemorate the party and they said on the front "Singles Premiere Party" and on the back it said, 'Nobody Died."

GROHL: We were coming from a punk rock standpoint. And Pearl Jam might have been as well. But we wore it on our sleeve a little more heavily than they did. Kurt [Cobain] had made his opinions known: "How could you consider Pearl Jam alternative?" Because their music had, like, guitar leads or whatever. It was pretty ridiculous. And the thing that was so funny to me was that it seemed Kurt and Eddie would have gotten along really well.

GOSSARD: When me and Jeff were at Sub Pop, we left in our wake a rift. That rift was what Kurt attached himself to, and it was perceived in the media as this huge line in the sand. I remember feeling blindsided by that, particularly because when I heard his record, it sounded so good and so immediate, I wanted him to like our band. That stressed everybody out. He crystallized a negative viewpoint of the band. I think all of us didn't know if we deserved the hype aspect of what was going on. Why me? I know fucking a hundred great guitar players. What am I doing that's different? There's a lot of that mindplay that starts to come into existence once we do well. And then, on the other side, some real beginnings of some overblown sense of yourself. I remember looking back on myself and how I felt destined to do something. I'd achieved my dream, so I felt like I was on some mission. It was a real mix of those two kinds of extremes: feeling blessed on one hand, and on the other hand hating myself for pulling something off that my friends hadn't been able to do.

AMENT: If a girl breaks up with you, you hate her. Mark Arm in particular was bitter about us leaving Green River. Then I heard what he was saying about us. That's kind of what started the whole "Jeff, in particular, and Stone, being careerists" thing. The fact of the matter is, in Green River I was the only guy who had a job. Those other guys, they had trust funds, were getting financial help from their parents. I was the one who was hungry to have my rent paid for. With Kurt Cobain, that's what got misconstrued. Maybe I was the one who wasn't going to get bailed out by anyone if I was 30 years old and still working in a restaurant. I was paying back student loans. Those things that Mark, or Kurt said, they hurt quite a bit initially. It was almost portrayed like at a young age I decided I was going to be a rock star. And that definitely wasn't the case. I made several attempts to talk to Kurt and he would put his head down and walk away. I'm sure some of it was based on them getting asked about us. We were getting asked about them a lot, and you get sick of it.

KRIM: I remember that at the MTV Awards in '92, Eddie and Kurt kind of made up. I almost remember them underneath the stage, grabbing each other. Clapton was playing "Tears in Heaven," I think, and they embraced under the stage. Kind of a magic moment.

GROHL: Yeah, some kind of fucking summit. It was so ridiculous; it had blown so out of proportion. I remember the two of them smiling and hugging each other—[sarcastically] and then, all of a sudden, Seattle was okay!

CURTIS: There's a funny story—well, Eddie was able to laugh about it later—where he's been in his house for months, says I think I'm going to go Christmas shopping. He goes to Pioneer Square and immediately 400 fans surround him.

VEDDER: I was already petrified to leave the house, and I finally leave the house, three days before Christmas, get in my old Plymouth and go for it. I probably hadn't been out of the house in a week, really isolating myself. And I go out and suddenly there's like people on top of the car. I tried to get out, got out and buy a couple things, and all of a sudden there's people on top of the car, and then I got in the car. I was parallel parked. I just had to sit there with people screaming in my face. I finally got out and I just ran. I ducked into a map store. Ran up the street and hid behind a globe.

CURTIS: Turns out he'd gone to an Alice in Chains video shoot.

1993-1994: LETTING BLOOD

OCTOBER 19, 1993: Vs. released; it sells 950,378 copies in the first week, a record that stands for five years. APRIL 8, 1994: Kurt Cobain found dead in Seattle JUNE 30, 1994: Gossard and Ament testify before a congressional subcommittee investigating possible antitrust practices by Ticketmaster AUGUST 1994: Drummer Dave Abbruzzese is fired DECEMBER 6, 1994: Vitalogy released DECEMBER 1994: Drummer Jack Irons—Eddie Vedder's longtime friend—joins the band

VEDDER: The second record, that was the one I enjoyed making the least. We didn't record it in Seattle, and it was just like being on tour. I just didn't feel comfortable in the place we were at because it was very comfortable. I didn't like that at all.

AMENT: Recording Vs., there was a lot more pressure on Ed. The whole follow-up. I thought we were playing so well as a band that it would take care of itself. Toward the end it got fairly intense. He was having a hard time finishing up the songs; the pressure, and not being comfortable being in such a nice place. We tried to make it as uncomfortable for him as we could. He slept in the freaking sauna.

BRENDAN O'BRIEN: There's a great song we recorded for Vs., "Better Man," which ended up on Vitalogy. One of the first rehearsals we did they played it and I said "man, that song's a hit." Eddie just went "uhhh." I immediately knew I'd just the said the wrong thing. We cut it once for Vs., he wanted to give it away to this Greenpeace benefit record, the idea was that the band was going to play and some other singer was going to sing it. I remember saying to the engineer, Nick, "this is one of their best songs and they're going to give it away! Can't happen!" And we went to record it and I'm not going to say we didn't try very hard, but it didn't end up sounding very good. I may have even sabotaged that version but I won't admit to that. It took us to the next record, recording it two more times, before he became comfortable with it because it was such a blatantly great pop song.

GOSSARD: Ed was trying to break up our formula from early on; he immediately realized that getting bigger wasn't necessarily going to make any of us any happier. The song that you thought was going to be really great for the record wouldn't necessarily be the one he'd attach himself to. It would be some sort of third riff or silly little song: All of a sudden that would be the one he'd want to work on. Looking back on it, I can appreciate it, and I sort of resent it. I came into this band writing the majority of the songs, and being in control of the music. But my flavor would have gotten really tired by this point, had it just been my lead all the time.

DAVE ABBRUZZESE: I just thought that was ridiculous. I liked where we started out, I liked the notion of going out and playing for ten bucks a show and selling shirts and doing all these things inexpensively and keeping integrity. But, you know, you don't sacrifice the fucking music that you make. When I got fired, I thought I was meeting with Stone to talk about working with [U2 producer] Daniel Lanois. I was thinking, man, we should work with somebody who'll take this band somewhere and let us be magical rather than go drag our feet and just poop out some records. We could take a shit on a piece of styrofoam and people would buy 2 million before they smelled it. So let's go make something amazing.

VEDDER: I call Stone my archenemy in the band, mainly because he's the devil's advocate. You could have the best idea that was absolutely nonquestionable, and then he'd bring something up why we can't just go do it. But it's really positive. Someone's gotta do it, and he does, unabashedly.

AMENT: The picture of the sheep on the cover of Vs. was from a farmer down by Hamilton, Montana. That picture at least semi-represented how we felt at the time. As Prince would put it, we were slaves.

TIM BIERMAN: I was there in San Francisco, on Halloween, when Kelly told the guys that they had sold a million records in a week and no one had ever done that. Instead of high fives, it was hung heads. It made for an uncomfortable situation instead of elation. What's cool is, basically everybody in the band felt the same way. They were all freaked out. It wasn't just one person pouting; it was real emotional confusion.

VEDDER: Maybe I wasn't ready for attention to be placed on me, you know? Also I think it was the practical things that I wasn't ready for, or the legal things that I wasn't ready for. I never knew that someone could put you on the cover of a magazine without asking you, that they could sell magazines and make money and you didn't have a copyright on your face or something.

WILSON: Eddie was seeking the advice of Bono a lot. After the shows you'd see Bono and Eddie over in a corner in deep discussion. And they would go off together and stay at Bono's place, and they would have stayed up and had some wine and really talked about the business and sort of argued about it.

BONO: I seem to always take the role of scolding them for not wanting to be pop stars. I think they suffer me with some grace. Anyone in their right mind would do [what Pearl Jam have done]; this is actually how to have a life, how to keep your dignity.

PETE TOWNSHEND: I met Eddie at my solo show in Berkeley [California] in 1993. I recognized him in the audience, but he looked bemused, a little lost. [Afterward] I spent an hour with him. It could have been ironic, the play I was performing—about old, worn-out stars trying to pass on their "wisdom" to younger performers. I can't remember what I said. Probably something about just accepting who he obviously was—a new rock star. I think maybe he could see the new rock'n'roll rules of his life being rewritten, and he didn't like them.

CROWE: Eddie used to have a secret DAT tape recorder. Elvis Costello came backstage to kind of hail Pearl Jam and meet Eddie and he had the DAT running the whole time, secretly under his jacket, because he wanted to save these experiences. That's how much of a fan he was.

FAULKNER: Whenever the band would come in and do station interviews, it was really hard keeping Mike McCready and Eddie Vedder in the studio, because they were huge vinyl fans and I had an incredible vinyl library up in my office. So any time a commercial break would come on in the interview I'd turn around and they were gone. I don't know if shoplifting would be the right term, but they definite added to their vinyl collections. They would spend hours sitting there, watching them go nuts over a Lou Reed twelve-inch or an extended mix of a Pete Townshend song. And after they went shopping, Eddie Vedder was the only one who sent me a thank you note. He scribbled it in pencil on a note pad. "Thank you for all the vinyl in a year when every day seemed like Xmas." That was the Vs. year.

ROSE: I get a call from Eddie; he says, "It's Roger Daltrey's 50th birthday; I got a cake for him, why don't you come with me?" So we went, and everybody was there: Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Townshend, Sinéad O'Connor. So we all met up at Carnegie Hall, we gave Roger the cake, and then Eddie and I went into his dressing room and he hands me a metal chair, and says, "You throw the opening pitch." I look around, and it's just these gorgeous chandeliers and mirrors and gold-plated lights. And I had been drinking. By the time it was through, there was nothing left. Even the toilet was broken down, just a pipe gurgling water from the floor.

VEDDER: I think I threw a wine bottle at a mirror and it exploded. At some point I cut my hand and started writing "I hope I die before I get old" in blood. Which was really good. We got a bill from Carnegie Hall for $25,000. It was maybe two grand, tops—like, a mirror and a paint job and a couple of lightbulbs. We talked them down. They also said they'd never have rock'n'roll bands in [Carnegie Hall] again. Which is only right.

TOWNSHEND: I heard about it afterward. No one thought it was particularly well executed. But after all, he's a fucking surfer!

GOSSARD: It was the most stressful and unnerving time. I was going out of my mind. The band has never been more successful, but we can't all be in a room together. Everything's dramatic and big.

McCREADY: We came up with a ten minute rule around Vs., Vitalogy time, because we'd come back and we'd totally argue, analyzing the show. It was just like let's fucking enjoy it. Sit back so we don't totally get into each other.

STEVE TURNER: The media was kind of trying to make Pearl Jam and Nirvana diametrically opposed to each other, like Nirvana's the real deal, Pearl Jam's the made-for-TV kind of band. Even Cobain was saying that. The biggest thing that really stuck out in our minds was we [Mudhoney] had a horrible time on the Nirvana tour. Cause it was just really unorganized and everybody was unhappy, crew members were being fired left and right, they were trying to tell us that we couldn't have beer backstage because they were trying to make it a dry tour. So then we were like, fuck, if that's what the Nirvana tour was like, what the hell's the Pearl Jam tour gonna be like? But we did it, and immediately it was such a better atmosphere. We were absolutely bummed for Nirvana, but God, they're having such a horrible time, everything sucks, ya know. And it shouldn't. Just watching Pearl Jam. The crew was really happy and really nice people, a lot of them are still with them today, since day one. It was just really pleasant, really fun. There were some skateboards, I remember skateboarding around with Jeff backstage. It really did change my perceptions of the whole thing. It just seemed like they'd actually worked for it and so they weren't going to pretend like they didn't want it. And they also weren't going to act like big stupid rock stars.

VEDDER: I remember tearing up my hotel room in a complete rage when I found out [that Cobain had died]. We played that night [near Washington, D.C.], and I still question that. [Fugazi's] Ian MacKaye was there, and he offered to take me in that night. So I went to get my suitcase from the hotel, but I didn't have a key, so I had to go up with the maintenance guy to let me in the room. When he opened the door, I just looked at him and said, "You have to understand what happened today."

O'BRIEN: Vitalogy was a little strained. I'm being polite—there was some imploding going on.

McCREADY: Brendan would tell us stories of Jerry Lewis. We came up with a phrase from that: Lewisian, which means to speak fondly of oneself. It was probably more about our egos at the time. Definitely a good strategy on Brendan's part.

GOSSARD: Vitalogy was the first record where Ed was the guy making the final decisions. It was a real difficult record for me to make, because I was having to give up a lot of control.

AMENT: The first record or two, Ed and I could talk. We roomed together, the whole first year and half that we toured, so we got to know each other fairly well. We were jamming on "Release," and he started to sing this thing, and after we were done he said I need to talk to you and he laid the whole thing on me, acknowledged what had gone on with him and his dad. It was a heavy moment. But now communication was at an all-time low. I responded like I've always responded: just put my head down and played. On the first record he revealed those personal things to us more than he did on the next two or three records. There were songs on Vs. and Vitalogy where I had no idea where they came from. It almost became a game, or a puzzle. Like being a fan within your own band.

ABBRUZZESE: Stone would kind of be the bridge of everyone's gap. When he stopped taking that role, the music changed, and [the band] became a less communicative, more whispery place.

JEFF AMENT: Vitalogy, Ed brought in that book, and we said man that would make a great album cover. We tried really hard, to make it like a book, kind of tipped it so it opened horizontally, which pissed off record stores: they had to put it in sideways. With the packaging, from Vs. on, we were trying to create something a bit more unique. It ended up costing us 50 cents or something, which we were so headstrong at the time on. I don't know if I'd do that again: give the record company 50 cents of my $1.50! ANTHONY: Eddie had been carrying this book around with him; a self-help book from the '20s. What to do to be healthier. He loved this. We thought great: public domain book. No problem. We sent it down to our legal department and it turns out there are two or three different versions of Vitalogy, one of which was copyrighted. Now we had, in this war room, the two different Vitalogy versions printed out, the portions that the band wanted to use versus the two original texts. Lawyers reading over all three versions.

GOSSARD: And Mike was really starting to struggle with his addictions, alcoholism and cocaine.

CURTIS: Mike was definitely not a good drinker. He'd do stupid things: taking his clothes off, passing out, pissing in the corner.

GOSSARD: Mike would get these terrible hangovers and he'd be a wreck all day long. He was aware of what was going on. Mike's always been extraordinarily self-deprecating and honest. But at the end of Vitalogy, we had some time off and he went off the deep end. Me and Jeff had gone through it with Andy, so from day one we knew that there was this chance that Mike would have to do that. But twisting his arm wouldn't have worked; Mike had to figure it out himself.

McCREADY: I bought into the whole idea of what rock stardom was and all the bullshit that goes along with it. It was definitely a rowdy time. Luckily, I didn't end up a rock and roll cliché. We were in the maelstrom of the band getting really big. But over the years, Eddie, Stone, Jeff, they saved me. That, and good parenting, keeping in touch with my parents.

GOSSARD: The Ticketmaster thing came at a perfect time for us to say you know what, we can't tour. It was perfect for us to wallow around in some controversy with Ticketmaster.

AMENT: That whole thing was a joke. The Department of Justice used us to look hip. Stone and I spent a week with this guy John Hoyt; he was drilling us with serious questions that we were [supposedly] going to get asked, and then it didn't feel like we got to utilize any of it. It made me a lot more cynical about what goes on with the government.

VEDDER: Eventually they came out with a press release that basically said, "The Department of Justice has ceased its investigation of Ticketmaster. No further investigation will take place." That was it, after a year of struggle. It was really amazing to be right up close and get absolutely stomped on by a huge corporate entity.

O'BRIEN: And Dave Abbruzzese, for whatever reason, he and Eddie didn't get along.

ABBRUZZESE: I felt like there was a time when I had a good friendship with that guy. And then all of a sudden I didn't know him. But I understand—shit, if I was freaking out about stuff and having panic attacks, I can't even begin to fathom what the hell he was going through. I give it up to him just for surviving it.

CURTIS: There was definitely a difference in philosophies. Politics, pro-choice, anti-gun, respect for women, all of that stuff. The responsibilities of being a member of PJ and what message that sends.

AMENT: Dave was a different egg for sure. There were a lot of things, personality wise, where I didn't see eye to eye with him. He was more comfortable being a rock star than the rest of us. Partying, girls, cars. I don't know if anyone was in the same space. Also, with Dave, musically, when you'd say, "I want this to sound more like the Buzzcocks," I don't think he related to that at all. He was a technical guy, and we all played by feeling, or by seeing bands.

GOSSARD: It was the nature of how the politics worked in our band: It was up to me to say, "Hey, we tried, it's not working; time to move on." On a superficial level, it was a political struggle: For whatever reason his ability to communicate with Ed and Jeff was very stifled. I certainly don't think it was all Dave Abrruzzese's fault that it was stifled.

ABRUZZESE: Stone showed up as a man, and as a good friend. I hope to one day tell him how much I appreciate [that]. I had just soured. I didn't really agree with what was going on. I didn't agree with the Ticketmaster stuff at all. But I don't blame anyone or harbor any hard feelings. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't furious and hurt for a long time. But now I just wish there was more music from the band I was a part of.

GOSSARD: Jack entered the band right at the end of making Vitalogy. Jack's a breath of fresh air, a family man. Everybody had a strong sense of friendship with him immediately. He was just there to play drums and help out.


JANUARY 8: Pearl Jam hosts Self-Pollution, a four-and-a-half hour free-form radio broadcast featuring live sets and interviews with Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, members of Nirvana and Alice in Chains, among others. FEBRUARY: Band records Mirror Ball with Neil Young FEBRUARY 21: Tour of Asia and the South Pacific begins APRIL 12: Eddie Vedder begins a tour with Mike Watt and Dave Grohl JUNE 16: A U.S. tour of alternative venues (those without Ticketmaster affiliation) begins in Casper, Wyoming JUNE 24: After being hospitalized for food poisoning, Vedder collapses midset during a show in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The tour's remaining dates are cancelled

TURNER: The first PJ pirate radio show was at this practice place that they had, it was this dilapidated house along the side of a small freeway. And it was just this boarded up house that looked like it was condemned. It was like a punk-rock house party. A million dollars worth of gear broadcasting from it. There were a few kegs outside, kind of the immediate circle of friends, the Seattle scene people were there. It was just really fun. I wish more things like that happened where I could see a lot of these people on a regular basis.

GLORIA STEINEM: I first met Pearl Jam because they were performing, with Neil Young, for the 22nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade at an annual concert that Voters for Choice does in Washington, D.C. When the issue of late-term abortion was emerging as a crucial one, they asked to have a briefing so that they would truly understand the issue. Maureen Brittel of Voters for Choice, who was one of the women whose story convinced Clinton to veto the legislation that would have outlawed late-term abortions, came, and the whole band was there. You know, it's a level of caring. Since then we've all become friends. And, of course, now I've acquired a value to my nephews that I never had before.

O'BRIEN : I got a call from Kelly. He said, "Don't be surprised, but in an hour Neil Young is going to call you and want you to produce a record with him." He calls me and says, "Can you come tomorrow, or the next day?" We did [Mirror Ball] in a week and a half. Eddie wasn't around much for it.

VEDDER: I think I was in the midst of a pretty intense stalker problem, and leaving the house wasn't the easiest thing to do. And also I don't think we had a lot of downtime and I had committed to my most significant other that that was going to be downtime.

GOSSARD: That came at a time when we needed it, that Neil thought we were a band that would be good to make a record with. He probably felt sorry for us. He made it all right for us to be who we were. He's not taking his career so seriously that he can't take chances. Suddenly, our band seemed too serious.

GROHL: My girl and I took a vacation down to Australia. And I dropped by backstage at Pearl Jam to say 'Hey,' and Jack Irons, who was playing drums with them at the time asked me to fill in for him for a few songs because he was having carpel tunnel problems with his wrists. It was hard to say no to a brother in need. I was horrified first of all, because that was the first time I'd played drums in front of anybody in a year. Also, I had never seen a crowd react like that in my life. It was just fuckin' scary. The people were out of control. They were so incredibly amped to see Pearl Jam that it looked like kids were being poured over the sides to get onto the floor. I don't go to fuckin' 'N Sync concerts, but I imagine that's probably what they're like.

AMENT: Manilla was such a wild experience. The place held 8,000 people, and there were 10,000 other people outside. It was a covered open air venue so people were creating these human ladders, trying to climb up and see. The police showed up with water cannons, sprayed everybody off the wall. And inside, too, to be in a completely different part of the world, have indigenous people all singing along, so cranked, those are the shows where I have to play with my head up the whole time. There's a whole different force motivating you to play.

GROHL: For anyone like me or Krist [Novoselic, Nirvana's bassist] or Eddie, who may have been somehow disillusioned or jaded or just numb, being around [Minutemen's] Mike Watt in the studio for just one day renewed that feeling of excitement. He started talking about putting a tour together: He wanted to have Eddie play guitar and me play the drums and he'd play the bass. For three people who were so starved for some sort of thrills, it kind of blew up. Eddie and his wife's band, Hovercraft, had this van they had spray-painted silver—it just looked like a cop magnet; it was such a bad idea. And we had this red Dodge extended van that we called Big Red Delicious. We all had CBs, and through a lot of CB conversations driving through the middle of nowhere, I realized that Eddie is a fuckin' funny motherfucker. I think that for Eddie, at that point, a lot of things had been knocked out of perspective. That tour brought a lot of it back together. We were playing three sets a night for 12 days in a row, with a ten-hour drive every night.

VEDDER: It was really great until the middle, and then I think I couldn't handle it. There were people throwing coins in Chicago—Minutemen fans who didn't want to see a corporate-rock-band guy on the same stage as Watt. And I was frustrated. I was thinking, you know, "I'm supporting your guy; he's my hero too." Goddamn. I understand where they're coming from. I might have been one to throw the coin myself.

ELIASON: The [Self-Pollution] radio show felt like pirate radio. That gave Ed the idea of setting up a broadcast van during our 1995 American tour. Up to a certain wattage you're allowed to broadcast without a license. During the show I had a feed to broadcast the show. Afterward, oftentimes Ed would jump in the van, talk about the show, up until it was time to go. Very often, he rode to the next venue in the van. I think he felt the need to be punk rock: go back to the roots. The rest of the band flew. Man, you did not want to go near that van. It was clear people had been living in that.

VEDDER: I'd just done a Watt tour in a van so I was feeling that we were about to start a big tour, it was going to get a certain amount of attention, people were kind of excited about it. I didn't relate to any of the hype. The way I was going to get through it was to stay as attached to the ground and low key as possible. [Travelling by van] would be the way I'd be centered. It worked for a while. And then I just got too fuckin' tired.

AMENT: We were so hardheaded about the 1995 [Pearl Jam] tour. Had to prove we could tour on our own, and it pretty much killed us, killed our career. Building shows from the ground up, a venue everywhere we went.

ELIASON: God bless 'em for trying, but people didn't care; they just wanted them to play. That was the first time they felt backlash from fans, which is something they weren't used to. When we left Golden Gate, what a low point. The band was really upset. Not many people realized just how sick Ed was.

VEDDER: That whole [Golden Gate Park] thing was a blur based on some bad food. It was really, really bad. Looking back at it, it doesn't seem as intense as it was, but it was horrible. I just felt not human and looking back I should have got through that show somehow, and I think the fact that Neil [Young] was there made me feel like I could get off the hook in some way and I did go out for a few songs. I just didn't feel good about the whole thing, I felt swallowed up by the whole deal. It was just a situation where you couldn't go to work. But I think now I'd probably get through that show.

CURTIS: We were afraid there'd be a riot. Neil just went down and wore em out. After that show, Neil said you know what, if it doesn't feel right, go home. And the band looked at each other and said you know what, we feel like going home. So we called it quits and went home.

KARRIE KEYES: Looking back, I'm surprised they made it through. After the '95 tour, they took some time off.

ROSE: Okay, so back to Mexican transvestite wrestling. Back in '95, Eddie turns up at a show, and he's wearing a wrestling mask, and he gives me and my circus performers masks. No one knew who Eddie was, so we could walk around in the crowd and do these little mock fuckin' wrestling matches. We started thinking, wow, let's do wrestling as part of the show. And, well, what if the rules are changed? What if they wear dildos? What if the first one who can force it into the other one's mouth for a 1-2-3 count wins? And it's Mexican transvestite wrestling. So from '96 to '98 we basically did a wrestling show with the Jim Rose Circus opening for it. And because I'd told people that Eddie had helped me come up with the idea, people decided Eddie was Billy Martinez, "The Barrio Bottom," underneath that mask. I had hundreds of kids in every city I went to asking, "Is Eddie really Billy Martinez, 'The Barrio Bottom'?" They don't even know what bottom means in gay culture or whatever. I ran into Eddie a year later—I was really dreading running into him because I knew it'd been all over the press—but he just smiles at me and goes, "I've been asked about that Mexican transvestite wrestler thing a hundred times this year." Just looked at me and rolled his eyes.

1996-1999: EVEN FLOW

AUGUST 27, 1996: No Code released SEPTEMBER 14, 1996: A non-Ticketmaster No Code U.S. and European tour starts in Seattle and runs through November FEBRUARY 3, 1998: Yield released APRIL 1998: Jack Irons quits; drummer Matt Cameron (ex-Soundgarden) joins JUNE 20, 1998: Pearl Jam's first comprehensive U.S. arena tour starts in Missoula, MT and runs through September AUGUST 4, 1998: Single Video Theory long-form video released NOVEMBER 24, 1998: Live on Two Legs released DECEMBER 23, 1998: "Last Kiss" released as fan club-only single; radio stations across the country are soon playing it JUNE 8, 1999: "Last Kiss" is rereleased as commercial single. It reaches No. 2 on Billboard's singles chart, higher than any other Pearl Jam single

O'BRIEN: By No Code, things were a bit more relaxed. It was really a transitional record. We had a good time making it. Jack [Irons] had just joined the band. Jack was like a session pro, a session-drumming assassin. Everybody was on their best musical behavior around him.

GOSSARD: No matter what, you're going to have a time when some people are going to lose interest in you. We could still sell out live, which took some of the ego sting. But there was definitely a sense of us not delivering the goods in the way that the masses expected from us. It's only in hindsight that it seems all right. Then, I was straining at it. We didn't talk about it. Talk about what? How do we get people to like us again?

AMENT: No Code, I wasn't super involved with that record on any level. I found out three days into the session that they were actually recording. I'd worked really hard, demoed up a bunch of stuff, and luckily at that point I was working on the Three Fish record. If I wouldn't have had Three Fish at that point, it probably would have broke the camel's back.

McCREADY: I'm sure Jeff was pissed, but it was more about separating, because if we played all together nothing would get done. We'd all just get pissed off at each other.

O'BRIEN: It was a really transitional record. You listen to it and there's definitely stuff that's not common. "Off He Goes" is one of my favorite songs they've done.

VEDDER: The song "Off He Goes" is really about me being a shit friend. I'll show up and everything's great and then all of the sudden I'm outta there ... I also remember saying I should write a lullabye and by the end of the day I wrote a lullabye, It was "Around the Bend." It was kind of a writing exercise. Then I thought, "well you can't just write a lullabye because that's just too sweet."So, just by changing a few words, I made it so if you listen to it one way it was like a lullabye like a father singing to his child, which is basically a song for Jack Irons to sing to his boy, or it could be like a serial killer who had just eaten half of his ... See, there's a nasty side.

GOSSARD: There was a division between Jack our friend and Jack struggling with having a family and trying to deal with his own medical issues. There was also a lot of stress associated with trying to tour at that time and it was growing more and more difficult to be excited about being part of the band. Ticketmaster, as monopolistic as it may be, is very efficient so we weren't playing the venues we wanted to play. The fans had to jump through hoops. We [worked hard] trying to book these venues, make sure they were safe.

KEYES: The vibe was always different than a normal rock tour; the band had different goals, different ideals, and they generally treated women with more respect than a lot of the bands out there. The vibe was never to be doing drugs, drinking, and seeing how many chicks you could pick up. All the other tours call us the G-Rated Tour. We roll into some city and the promoter thinks there's going to be some huge party and everybody's like "When? I'm going to bed."

AMENT: During that black-hole period, there were just a lot of power struggles going on. But Yield was a superfun record to make. And so much of it was Ed kind of sitting back; we worked on all of our songs before we worked on any of his stuff. That was a huge thing.

O'BRIEN: I remember there was a concerted effort to really put together the best, most accessible songs they possibly could.

McCREADY: We were hanging out a lot, Eddie and me, talking politics, life, surfing, music. I remember telling him we need to be very cognizant of the powers that be, because it's critical to our survival. We needed to go out and play music, and enjoy it, within this capitalist structure. To still support those causes, but to work through the established channels.

VEDDER: Basically Yield was great because the music was coming too quick to keep up with it lyrically, and the words [the other band members wrote] have all been stuff that I'm proud and happy to sing.

CURTIS: And then Jack left. He was a guy whom everybody had wanted in the band, and initially he really had a great effect on everybody. But he stepped into the PJ world, and it was pretty overwhelming. He wasn't able to continue.

ELIASON: We went and did Hawaii and Australia with Jack. When we came back, Jack wasn't in a position to carry on. He made that decision more or less by himself. He can be a really great drummer but he had difficulty on tour putting out the energy for the length of shows they were doing. I don't know if he thought they'd put things on hold for him.

VEDDER: I only talked to Jack recently for the first time in quite a while. I think that him deciding that he wasn't going to be in the band really hurt.

MATT CAMERON: I got a phone call out of the blue, from Mr. Ed Ved, Stoney and Kelly. I was ambushed. It was really short notice. He called and said "hey what are you doing this summer?"

CURTIS: Matt said, "sure, I'll do it," and the changeover was really nice. The hysteria started to go away. That was the first non-drama tour in our life.

CAMERON: Working with them is totally pro. They can sell out any arena anywhere in the world. They're kind of in a special league. They can tour really comfortably but keep it kinda small as well. Punk-rock arena rock is the way they approach it.

SILVER: In Texas, a very, very drunk Dennis Rodman refused to leave the stage no matter what they did or how firmly they asked. He would go behind Stone and start strumming on the guitar while Stone was playing or just walk in front of Stone and talk about how incredible each guy was. They finally got him a stool and sat him in front of the drum kit, and he sat there for a song looking like the kid in the corner pouting; then he looked back and realized he didn't know the drummer. He spent what looked like eternity to me leering at Matt like, "Who are you? Show me what you got."

KEYES: One of the funniest end of tour parties was in '98. They rented out a club and it was a disco party. Everybody dressed up, made the thrift store run. Ed probably had the best costume: a great 70s suit and an Afro wig. He definitely played the part that night.

CAMERON: End of tour, Eddie said, "Hey, man, you want to join?" I said, "Let me think about it." So I said, "I'll do a record, do a tour, if you wouldn't mind me doing it that way." I haven't really joined them long-term.

GOSSARD: "Last Kiss" was one of my favorite moments in this band's history.

VEDDER: I had found a copy of [J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers' 1964 version of "Last Kiss"] that day and then learned it. We were playing a small club show in Seattle, and Matt and I did it at the end of the night.

GOSSARD: Brett recorded it later, we spent $1,500 mixing the single at home, and it was our biggest song ever. The same performance that was at soundcheck. Just us trying to sound like a '50s song and sounding half-assed. Ed's interpretation is sentimental and beautiful, and it's not ironic, or clever, or sarcastic.

TIM BIERMAN: We're not doing anything with the [Pearl Jam fan club], Ten Club, that's completely groundbreaking but it doesn't ever take a back seat. The Christmas single, that's their present back to the fans and it's always been two unreleased songs on a 45 with original artwork.

CURTIS: There was this pressure [from the label] to release it commercially. We came up with the idea that you can release it, but you've got to give all the money away.

VEDDER: "Jeremy"'s kind of a teen death song, too. We've done really well with teen death songs.

GOSSARD: Right now, Binaural is a little bit of a black sheep in my mind. People like it, but it doesn't necessarily carry them. We can make a better record than that. I'd like to go back and write some more spontaneous songs.

McCREADY on Binaural: I was going through some personal problems. It was my own stuff I was dealing with. That was a tough time. I was out of it. That was due, at the time, I was taking prescription drugs. I got caught up in it, because of my pain.

VEDDER: I hope he knows that at least with the four of us and the people we work with too that he's got solid ground. And that people love him, not just people who love him because he plays guitar but people who just really love him.

O'BRIEN: We'd done four records together, five counting the Neil Young one. For whatever reason, they decided to make a record on their own. It was time for that. There was no weirdness. Mike called me up; he was so sweet about it. Classic Mike McCready. "Are you ok? Are you alright." But when they finished it, I guess they didn't really like the way it sounded. I don't really know. They called me up and said, "Can you help us out?"

CAMERON: They were really adamant about me bringing in songs for Binaural. I brought four or five, and Ed really liked the one that became "Evacuation," wanted to write lyrics for it. He switched the arrangement around a little bit; the verse and the chorus. Had a real clear idea of what he wanted the song to be.

VEDDER: It's bad when you have writer's block in the studio and you've got three songs without words and four days left. It pretty much happened on the last record. And the worst part was they were songs that I had written. I had written the music to "Insignificance" and "Grievance." I just wasn't happy with what I had so I kept working on it and scrapping it and staying up at night, playing piano melodies to make it be the best thing. And it worked, finally. That causes hell in a relationship, that's all I'll tell you.

2000: GODS' DICE

MAY 16: Binaural released MAY 23: Pearl Jam begin European tour in Lisbon, Portugal JUNE 30: Nine fans are trampled to death in the audience pit while Pearl Jam perform at the Roskilde festival in Denmark AUGUST 3: The band begin a U.S. tour in Virginia Beach, Virginia SEPTEMBER 26: Twenty-five live albums are released (from the European tour)

VEDDER: I never really spoke with anybody about Roskilde. It's the most brutal experience we ever had. I'm still trying to come to grips with it. Right before we went on that night, we got a phone call. Chris Cornell and his wife, Susan, had a daughter that day. And also a sound guy left a day early, 'cause he was going to have a child. It brought me to tears, I was so happy. We were walking out onstage that night with two new names in our heads. And in 45 minutes everything changed.

CURTIS: I think if we had felt responsible in any way, they couldn't have played again. There's been plenty of times in Pearl Jam's career where you see people go down and you stop the show.

GOSSARD: Well, this particular show, the barrier was 30 meters away; it was dark and raining. They'd been serving beer all day long. People fell down; the band had no idea.

CURTIS: The reason those people died was that no one could get word out what was happening. It was just chaos. There was a lot of Danish press that said we were inciting moshing. It wasn't during a crazy part of the set; it was during "Daughter."

GOSSARD: We were part of an event that was disorganized on every level. Mostly I feel like we witnessed a car wreck. But on another level, we were involved. We played this show, and it happened. You can't be there and not have some sense of being responsible. It's just impossible. All of us spent two days in the hotel in Denmark crying and trying to understand what was going on.

VEDDER: The intensity of the whole event starts to seem surreal, and you want it to be real. So you sit there with it, and you cough it up and redigest it. You still want to pay respect to the people who were there or the people who died and their families. Respect for the people who cared about you. A friend of an Australian guy named Anthony Hurley asked if I would write something for the funeral. That was just hands-down the hardest thing I've ever had to do—not really knowing what was appropriate, not knowing how the family or friends felt; maybe I'm the last person they'd like to hear from. But it meant a lot to them, and it really helped me. I think it also helped the rest of the guys. Hurley had three younger siblings, and they said he really cared about our band, and that's why he was in the front. And that he was actually doing something he loved during his last minutes. His sister and a friend of his—who was with Anthony that night—came to Seattle and saw our last two shows. And that was nice, spending time with them. That's been really important.

AMENT: Some of us thought maybe we should cancel the [North American] tour. I felt if we cancel, what are we running from? It made us deal with it every day on some level, and that was the most positive thing we could do. The shows were all reserved-seating, which made it a lot easier. At first, it was hard to look at the crowd. A couple of kids I saw at Roskilde, they're burned in my memory forever. Sometimes, when you're looking at a crowd, you can't help but see those faces.

KEYES: The U.S. Tour: it was a great tour. Everybody needed to complete it, and not have any drama concerning anything: tickets, canceling shows, or god forbid any horrible accidents.

AMENT: The Vegas show on the U.S. tour was pretty heavy. That afternoon was the first time we'd played the Mother Love Bone song "Crown of Thorns." Kelly and Susan Silver and my parents are there, my whole family, and all of a sudden, playing that song, it was the first time I properly reflected on what we'd gone through and what a journey it's been. And that moment was reflected in a purely positive way, feeling blessed, happy to still be playing music.

FAULKNER: Every hometown return for the band turns into a special event for the charities they work with personally. They make it seem so easy. Every day I drive by the skateboard park that they helped build with their benefit shows. Part of the agreement with local radio is we pick our favorite organization and do a promotion around it which is an actual fundraiser. We had a public service day at a local soup kitchen, we had people do work for tickets, which was the main theme of their [2000] hometown benefit show. It was a great way for their audience to learn how easy it is to actually participate.

WILSON: I saw them in Seattle, the last show of their whole tour. It was incredible. All these incredible versions, different versions of songs, different grooves on songs, big long jams. Pretty much every person during the whole show sang every lyric to every song. And every time Eddie would glance over or look over to our section, every arm went up. Afterwards, I went backstage and Eddie came up to me and was having a million feelings you could tell, cause it was the end of the whole tour, the 'life and death tour.' I said, "I just got so emotional during your show. That was maybe the best show I've ever seen." I saw tears come into his eyes and he was like, "Yeah, I know," and gave me this big hug. It meant so much to him that the night was so good.


Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, and Eddie Vedder with Matt Cameron and Chris Cornell A tribute to late Mother Love Bone singer Andy Wood in which his ex-roommate (Cornell) teams up with his ex-bandmates (Ament and Gossard). Olympian guitar solos and intense vocal duets ensue.
OUTPUT: Temple of the Dog, 1991

Gossard with Regan Hagar, Shawn Smith, and Jeremy Toback The first true side project is a loose-grooving soul-rock quartet fronted by a guy who sounds like a white Prince understudy.
OUTPUT: Shame, 1993; Interiors, 1997

Ament with Robbi Robb and Richard Stuverud Chianti-fueled discussions of Sufi poet Rumi and devil-priest Aleister Crowley birth two albums of vaguely Zeppelinesque mystic rawk, tablas and spoken-word segments included.
OUTPUT: Three Fish, 1996; The Quiet Table, 1999

McCready with Barrett Martin, Layne Staley, and John Baker Saunders McCready feeds his guitar-solo jones with moonlighting Alice in Chains singer Staley and Screaming Trees drummer Martin. The resulting Above is 55 minutes of dirges like "Lifeless Dead."
OUTPUT: Above, 1995; Live at the Moore (home video), 1995

Vedder, Mike Watt, Dave Grohl, others A 1995 punk rock roadshow in which Vedder drums with wife Liebling's space-rock trio Hovercraft, then returns to wrangle lead guitar in Watt's band before being chased by screaming, MTV-tipped hordes.
OUTPUT: Bootlegs only. See also Watt's Ball-hog or Tugboat?, 1995

Vedder with Brad Balsley and Jon Merithew In 1999, Vedder enlists Hobbit-metalists C-Average for a summer vacation of hit-and-run gigs as a punk/garage trio. Shows include a set at the Tibetan Freedom Concert and another as a full-on Who cover band (with Vedder in a Roger Daltrey fright wig) in an Olympia, Washington, wood-shop.
OUTPUT: Bootlegs only

McCready with Carrie Akre, Rick and Chris Friel, and Danny Newcomb McCready reunites with guys from his high school band Shadow and updates their Cheap Trick-influenced sound with the big-voiced Akre and a raft of unsettlingly likable pop-rock tunes.
OUTPUT: The Rockfords, 2000 J.L.

CURTIS: With the [live albums], we'd been talking about the idea for years, but it had been prohibitive. We'd always recorded our shows, and now our sound engineer said it could be done cheaply.

ELIASON: For the Europe set, they gave me two weeks to mix 25 shows. In man-hours, it took 15 hours a show. My assistant stayed here at the house and we just went, "Tag, you're it." One slept while the other worked. But it was worth it. We had 14 records in the Top 200! Nobody's ever done that.

BIERMAN: People start collecting shows, and the band knows they're collecting shows, which makes them want to keep changing things, which makes the fans just nuts. "Dirty Frank," from the "Jeremy" single; if that was on a show from the tour, that bootleg would have a huge bump in sales because of that one track. People know the setlist, know how rare things are.

ELIASON: There're no plans in the works regarding older material, but there have been conversations. I've had fans approach me about shows they can't get their hands on. We were in Zurich in February [1992], in a little coffee shop. So we rented guitars and the band put on this show that was amazing. It was voted best performance of the year for Switzerland. [Fans] have been begging for it because that's not out there.


February 27: Twenty-three more live albums released (from the first leg of 2000's North American tour) March 27: Twenty-four more live albums released (from the second leg of the North American tour) May 1: Touring Band 2000 DVD and video released

CURTIS: The next studio album is our last under our contract. We're not going to re-sign with a major, under current ways of thinking.

GOSSARD: We've kind of played small ball. And it's been great.

GOLDSTONE: Like any great band, there's peaks and valleys. If they continue to do what they want to do, they're going to be one of those bands that's around for 20 years. It's not that easy to achieve.

BONO: I'm a fan of the Pearl Jam organization, of what you might call the culture around the group. It's like the Grateful Dead. We've been thinking a lot about that West Coast way of doing business. I must say, I'm not sure how long U2's going to have the energy to take on the mainstream. And the Pearl Jam/Grateful Dead model is something to be really proud of. They exist entirely unto themselves. They don't depend on the media, don't depend on the radio.

GOSSARD: If we're at all like the Grateful Dead, that's the ultimate-a band believing in their own weird little world and people loving it because it is in a little bit of a vacuum.

TOWNSHEND: What comes across is that Pearl Jam are real and right sized. They have somehow managed to maintain a connection with their audience. They have also watched and learned. They have not stopped just because the creative process got hard, or because tragedy struck.

CORNELL: Better than any other band almost in history to have had that kind of enormous success, they dealt with it really eloquently. I think that set a great example to other musicians that, you know what, you can actually control the media spotlight. I think they stayed vital. The records they made didn't necessarily appeal to the same number of fans who were into Ten, but they appealed to a lot of people. They sold millions of records without having to make videos and without having to do an overhyped press campaign for each record.

VEDDER: I like the way [the DVD] came about, which was very organic. It was people who already worked with us on tour and they would just, once the show would start, drop what they were doing and grab a camera.

CURTIS: In a way, we just made 28 videos, but it was done in a Pearl Jam way.

AMENT: I still don't think we know what's going to happen, but we're much more relaxed about it. We've had a nice little ten-year run.

GOSSARD: Individually, each person in this band has a lot of music in them and what we decide on as a band, as far as what out next record will be. I just never know what's going to happen. I'm sort of hoping for a renaissance. I want to just get in a room together and jam a little bit. See where Ed takes us.

VEDDER: I'm writing on ukulele a lot [lately]. It's an interesting instrument, 'cause it's four strings, and the fewer strings, the more melody, I'm finding. And it's also about the smallest instrument you can play. So I'm just shrinking. As for the future, right now I have the luxury of not thinking about it at all. At the moment everyone is getting to figure out things about themselves. After everything that's happened, it's just really good that we're not trying to do what we usually do right now. That would just be unbearable. But I have a feeling that recording again is going to be a very similar thing. It's going to be the same kind of practice place, and the same kind of walking around, plugging in. And Stone's gonna plug in first and play really loud while the rest of us are trying to talk and say hello. We're gonna yell out, "Does anybody have a tape recorder?" And then they're gonna find a ghetto blaster from the back room, and then we'll play some songs, and we're gonna learn a couple of them, and then I'm gonna go home and drink beer.

Special thanks to Nicole Vandenberg


The Pearl Jam-Sports Connection
By Eric Weisbard

The stereotype is that rockers become rockers because they suck so bad in sports that they have to find some other way to impress people (OK, girls). But Pearl Jam, originally named Mookie Blaylock, after the NBA point guard, have unfailingly embraced athletics of all kinds. "The first year we played pingpong backstage, we actually had standings," says Jeff Ament. "We played for a month, gave everybody a ranking, played doubles matching up the best player with the worst player. We had a real tournament."

Ament, a former college basketball player who in 1994 volunteered to be (CBS commentator) Billy Packer's gopher at the Final Four, hooked Pearl Jam up with Dennis Rodman after interviewing the tattoed rebounder for Slam magazine. Rodman became a regular Pearl Jam scenester for a time: "He's definitely living the life of a rock star, way more so than us," says Ament. "I threw a lot of drinks over my shoulder, just kind of pretending I was going along for the ride. I hung out with him most when the Sonics were playing the Bulls in the finals, to psych him out, make him play bad. Took one for the team there."

Rodman's ties to the group cooled after he drunkenly commandeered the stage in Texas in 1998 and refused to leave. As Susan Silver remembers, "He would go behind Stone and start strumming on the guitar while Stone was playing or just walk in front of Stone and talk about how incredible each guy was. They finally got him a stool and set him in front of the drum kit, leering at Matt from right in front like, 'I don't know you, who are you, show me what you got, prove it.'" (When reached for comment recently, Rodman was completely incomprehensible, then hung up.)

Stone Gossard has his own fan: tennis star Pete Sampras, who has rallied with the band's preppiest member. "For as much tennis as Stone plays, which he probably doesn't have a lot of time, he hits the ball pretty good," says Sampras diplomatically. "Very grounded guys. They don't have any of the attitude that I see a lot when I watch these Behind the Music shows."

Gossard and Ament also take regular snowboarding trips to Alaska. "Landing the helicopter on insane stuff," says Ament. "Honestly, it's the only thing I've done that touches on the rush of having 20,000 people screaming to your music. Snowboarding is skateboarding for old people." Not that Ament has completely abandoned that pursuit: "We actually hooked up a few times recently and skated," says Mudhoney's Steve Turner. "But then my friend broke his arm, I hurt my knee, and Jeff broke his finger. So we stopped."

Eddie Vedder's love of surfing is legendary: he was recently spotted with former world champion Kelly Slater in Australia, where Pearl Jam love to play because they can surf by day and perform at night. McCready boogie boards, and also plays tennis and basketball. "He has skills," says Ament. "He just doesn't have the drive that the rest of us have. It might be that competitive thing." In that category, Vedder reigns supreme. "I'm a good pinball player," says Jim Rose, "and we had a bet that I was gonna kick his ass. There's no way in hell that anybody with Eddie's skills could beat me. He flipped when he should have flapped—but the ball went exactly where it was supposed to go. And he beat me." Ament had a similar experience with the man he towers over. "The last time we played basketball, actually Ed beat me, and he hasn't let me play since. He's holding on to that. He's a competitive guy, man. Everything he does he goes all out."


The Ultimate Pearl Jam Mix Tape
By Jessica Letkemann

There's a bounty of Pearl Jam out there—72 full concerts released in the last few months, six studio albums, a conventional live album, and countless singles. But sometimes there's nothing like a good old-fashioned mix tape.

The majority of the versions of these songs are available commercially, while a couple are only available via fan recordings (hint: look online). True to the quintessential Pearl Jam experience—seeing them live—the finished tape echoes the ebb and flow of one of their shows. Now all you need is a blank 90 minute tape ...

Intro: "The Color Red" - from Yield, 1998

1. "Sleight of Hand" - from the 6/16/2000 Spodek; Katowice Poland official bootleg A contemplative ballad to warm things up, the twinkling guitars almost hide it's heart of despair.

2. "Corduroy" - from Vitalogy, 1994 The tried and true mid-period rocker, a song even PJ skeptics enjoy, here in its original form.

3. "Do The Evolution" (live 7/13/98 in L.A.) from Live on Two Legs, 1998 A cool song in its studio incarnation, a carnivorous, howling jam live.

4. "Black Red Yellow" - B-side of import "Hail Hail" single, 1997 Eddie Vedder is a Who superfan, and this obscure b-side seems like it was written in unabashed homage to "I Can See For Miles"-era Townshend. Bonus (?): Dennis Rodman on the answering machine during the solo.

5. "Lukin" - from No Code, 1996 62 seconds of pure punk rock.

6. "Not For You" - (live 1/8/95) from the Hype! soundtrack, 1996 They make like Ragged Glory and pour quarts of hurt into a stomping crescendo of caterwauling guitars.

7. "MFC" - from Yield, 1998 A song about Vedder's love affair with the traffic in Rome—a kinetic, optimistic gem that's made for driving fast.

8. "Romanza/Better Man/(Save It For Later)" - from the 10/7/2000 Detroit official bootleg A favorite triple header: Better Man (with hearty singalong) intro'd by a melancholy instrumental and segueing seamlessly into an amped-up snippet of the English Beat's new wave classic.

9. "Long Road" - from the Merkin Ball single, 1995, with Neil Young A circular guitar elegy. Beautiful.

10. "Breath" - from the Singles soundtrack, 1992 One of those underrated rock-outs from the early days, huge interlocking Gossard-McCready riffs, and soaring Vedder vocals.

11. "Daughter/(Better To Not Be Sane)" - live 4/17/94 at the Paramount Theater, NYC "Daughter" is well received every time PJ plays it, but the "tag" at the end is what makes each version special. This one's an eerie, spoken-in-tongues mantra. Worth searching for.

12. "Black" - (live 9/7/98; Virginia Beach, VA) from Live On Two Legs, 1998 This 1998 reading captures the song's searing squall of love lost, and does the Ten version one better with an extended end-jam that truly smolders.

13. "Even Flow" (alt. studio version) b-side of the import "Alive" single, 1991 Guitarist Stone Gossard has a thing about grooves. This is the paradigm, easily trumping the album version.

14. "Soldier of Love" - (live 9/98) from the 1998 Pearl Jam fan club single Sure, sure, "Last Kiss" is a killer cover, early 60s Top 40 stylee, but so is "Soldier of Love" (a 1962 hit originally by Arthur Alexander) and it's got an even better climax. Cha cha cha!

15. "Angel" - from the 1993 Pearl Jam fan club single Unembellished melancholia on a whisper and an acoustic strum.

16. "Insignificance" - from Binaural, 2000 Trilogies are a Pearl Jam staple. PJ began with a demo trilogy called Mamasan. And the '00 tour saw the rise of the 'Man' trilogy ("Nothingman," "Leatherman," and "Better Man" played back to back). How about a third trilogy? The 'I' trilogy. Here's part one, the rocking, intricate "Insignificance," into:

17. "Immortality" - from Vitalogy, 1994 Ill-at-ease verses, McCready's guitar gently weeping. Confusion ain't next, it's now. Followed by:

18. "Indifference" - (live 4/3/94; Atlanta) from pt. 3 of the import Dissident ep, 1994 A minimalist declaration of ambivalent perseverance complete with cathartic sing-along, "I will scream my lungs out 'til it fills this room."

19. "Hard To Imagine" - (studio, 1993) from the Chicago Cab soundtrack, 1998 A grower that morphs from an arpeggio-driven ballad into a soaring groove-forward jam with a plaintive, repeating chorus.

20. "Blood/(Fame)" - live 10/2/96 Hartford, CT "Blood" is so caustic it's an acquired taste. This version is spiked with an irony-laden quote from David Bowie's "Fame."

21. "Leaving Here" - from the benefit album Home Alive, 1996 An early '60s Motown song with a nifty mini-solo, feminist message.

22. "Porch" - from the 3/17/95 JJJ radio broadcast from Melbourne, Australia "Porch" itself is one of Ten's best songs live, but here the middle-jam is practically an instrumental ep unto itself, moving amoeba-like through various moods.

23. "Baba O'Riley" from the 10/9/2000 Chicago official bootleg No Pearl Jam set is complete without a Who cover. Witness the audience drowning out Vedder on the line "It's only teenage wasteland!" What more needs to be said?

Outro: "Master/Slave" - uncredited Ten hidden track.