Clearly I remember…
As we come to the end of the “influential” bands in shaping my #MusicalNes taste, Pearl Jam would bridge the gap of all of the music because they had all of the best music of my lifetime somehow shoved in there somewhere.
They are the mutts of rock music dressed up and grown up now. But Pearl Jam is the legendary modern band that has remained consistent, true to themselves and their music and brought the world what a real rock group looks like when it’s functioning at a world class level for three decades.
Quite simply, Pearl Jam is the real deal.
And, sure, I had “Ten” like everyone else. And I sang “Alive” and “Jeremy” and “Even Flow” at the same time I was figuring out the rage and grunge of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. And then suddenly, one of them was gone in moment of tragedy.
The first time I saw Pearl Jam was at the Patriot Center on April 8, 1994. It was just three nights after Cobain committed suicide and it was a particularly somber occasion. The bands were so linked by Seattle and their sound their takeover of the rock music industry.
The album “Vs.” was released the week of my 25th birthday and Pearl Jam quickly became all I listened to for a little while – almost like my R.E.M. phase in 1987! By the time of this PJ sophomore release, their legend had grown and this was the most anticipated album of the year.
And, certainly, these songs like “Animal” and “Daughter” have stood the test of time. “Dissident” is my favorite Pearl Jam song not named “Black.” W.M.A. is always relevant. “Elderly Woman” is timeless. And the roller coaster of “Rearviewmirror” always takes me on a ride and emancipates my soul.
The end of my #AlmostFamous critic rock days had early Seattle grunge sound publicists from Mother Love Bone and Temple of The Dog chasing me in 1989 and 1990. I actually wrote at length about Soundgarden twice and interviewed Matt Cameron before one of the Hammerjacks shows. (I’m going to have to find that one and dust it off because I have no idea what I said or what he said. I also chatted with Kim Thayil. Those are always the most fun when I find them. They make me cringe!)
I still love Pearl Jam. I scraped for tickets on the spring tour that never was meant to be and that lost show at the Royal Farms Arena in March. They are one of the last bands I get on an airplane and plan a vacation to see. They never, ever disappoint. I saw them when it was 10-below in Missoula, Montana in 1995 and in Phoenix, Arizona in a 110-degree sweaty gym in 1998.
Yes, I was even in a Pearl Jam mosh pit once. Bruised but not bloodied…
I do feel like an idiot for never trying to have any of these dudes on my show over the years. They all love sports. I was in a sweaty pit with Eddie Vedder in Brisbane, Australia once and saw him tear up at Springsteen singing “Spirit In the Night” that night before they ripped up “Highway To Hell” together. I almost passed Stone Gossard in Seattle at the Ravens game last fall but I would’ve been a fanboy idiot. Jeff Ament is the dude I really wanna chat with about sports and charity and community.
Most of the bands and music and artists I have featured the first 29 days of May are old, tired, retired, deceased or faded away in some way.
Pearl Jam is still relevant and very much in their prime. Their shows are always wildly different, unique and spiritual for any of us who ever spun the black circle and had pictures washed in black.
Escape is never the safest path…