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Pearl Jam

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Pearl Jam was one of the most popular bands of the grunge music era in the early 1990s. Before their mainstream success as "Pearl Jam", they had recorded successfully as Mother Love Bone and Temple of the Dog.

Current Members

History The band Mother Love Bone formed in 1988 out of the ashes of Green River, and immediately created a buzz among critics (see 1988 in music). In addition to Green River's Ament, Gossard, and Bruce Fairweather[?] (guitar), the band also featured Andrew Wood[?] (lead singer, piano), and Greg Gilmore[?] (drums). They signed to Polygram[?] and began recording and touring. Wood checked himself into a rehab center in order to defeat a painful heroin addiction. He was found dead of an overdose before he could quit. Mother Love Bone's EP, Shine (1989 in music) and the album, Apple (1990 in music) was released posthumously, and the band decided to discontinue the name. With old friends Matt Cameron[?] and Chris Cornell (both of Soundgarden), Ament and Gossard released Temple of the Dog under the name "Temple of the Dog". The album was a moderate success, and the remaining members soon formed Pearl Jam.

Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament recruited guitarist Mike McCready and recorded a 3 song demo tape. This tape made it to ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons, who passed it on to Eddie Vedder during one of their one-on-one basketball games. Eddie Vedder, inspired by what he heard, put his vocals to the tracks (the 'Mamason' trilogy) and mailed the tape back to Gossard. Gossard and Ament were so impressed that they had Vedder fly up from San Diego to see how the group played together. Things went well and, with the addition of Dave Krusen on drums, Mookie Blaylock was formed. However, the issue of naming a band after the then NJ Nets point guard raised problems, and the band was renamed Pearl Jam. Keeping Blaylock in mind the band decided to honor him by using his number as the title of their debut album.

Pearl Jam became a key member of the Seattle grunge explosion, along with Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. Kurt Cobain at one point angrily attacked the group because of their riff-happy songs; the rift was patched before his death.

Ten, their first album, collects 11 songs possessed of a singular vision and sound. The preoccupation with death and serial killers is intriguing; Jeremy, about a boy shooting himself in front of his classmates, and based on a true story, is especially fascinating, given the events in Columbine nearly a decade later. It seems another example of a culture's artists being able to put their finger on the nation's pulse, and implore change years before authorities and institutions become aware of the real issues and discontent bubbling under the surface. The Mamason trilogy - Alive, Once, and Footsteps (b-side) - is generally interpreted to be the story of a boy who grows up to be a serial killer and is placed in prison.

Pearl Jam's first three albums were huge, commercially and critically. After that time, and probably in part because of a lawsuit alleging a Ticketmaster[?] monopoly, Pearl Jam lost fans (and the lawsuit). Also, at this time, Eddie Vedder began to steer the group in a non-commercial direction, and the music began once more to earn its alternative label. No Code is the primary example, as is Vedder's collaboration with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on the Dead Man Walking soundtrack.

Brad[?], Gossard's side project, was formed around this time.

Yield, on release, was proclaimed as a return to the band's early, "rockin" form, however, it failed to sell as well as earlier albums. Many fans had been driven away by the experimentation of No Code.

Later sales drops may be attributed to the unusally high techno-sophistication of the average Pearl Jam fan. In theory, because these fans have access to computers and file-sharing applications such as Napster and Kazaa, fewer people buy the actual album.

Nevertheless, Pearl Jam expend more than the normal effort on liner notes, producing some of the most original in the industry. No Code, for example, includes a collection of Polaroids taken by the band. And only their first album, when they had little clout, was released in the standard CD jewel case.

Spin the Black Circle is their homage to vinyl.

Pearl Jam was an outspoken supporter of Ralph Nader's presidency run in 2000.

After Binaurals release, and the resulting US and World tour, the band were the first to release bootlegs of each concert (except the one in Roskilde/Denmark where nine people died). They released more than 50 albums, most with two CDs, and set a record for most albums to debut in the Billboard top 200.

Riot Act continues the group's musical legacy. In it, the band condemns the profiteering of the rich, and the greed for more money in songs like Green disease, and makes use of the free speech laws of the United States in Bushleaguer, where they criticise George W. Bush.

Eddie Vedder is a huge Who fan, and has appeared several times on stage with Pete Townshend. He's also president of the official Ramones fanclub.

The group has also made the obligatory promotional appearances on television shows, such as David Letterman.

Discography Mother Love Bone period (1988-1991):

Temple of the Dog period (1990-1991):

Pearl Jam (1991-present):



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