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Pearl Jam rose from the ashes of Mother Love Bone to become the most popular American rock & roll band of the '90s. After Mother LoveBone's vocalist, Andrew Wood, overdosed on heroin in 1990, guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament assembled a new band,bringing in Mike McCready on lead guitar and recording a demo with Soundgarden's Matt Cameron on drums. Thanks to future Pearl Jamdrummer Jack Irons, the demo found its way to a 25-year-old San Diego surfer named Eddie Vedder, who overdubbed vocals and originallyrics and was subsequently invited to join the band (then christened Mookie Bl ...read more
Pearl Jam rose from the ashes of Mother Love Bone to become the most popular American rock & roll band of the '90s. After Mother LoveBone's vocalist, Andrew Wood, overdosed on heroin in 1990, guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament assembled a new band,bringing in Mike McCready on lead guitar and recording a demo with Soundgarden's Matt Cameron on drums. Thanks to future Pearl Jamdrummer Jack Irons, the demo found its way to a 25-year-old San Diego surfer named Eddie Vedder, who overdubbed vocals and originallyrics and was subsequently invited to join the band (then christened Mookie Blaylock after the NBA player). Dave Krusen was hired as thefull-time drummer shortly thereafter, completing the original lineup. Renaming themselves Pearl Jam, the band recorded their debut album,Ten, in the beginning of 1991, although it wasn't released until August; in the meantime, the majority of the band appeared on the AndrewWood tribute project Temple of the Dog. Krusen left the band shortly after the release of Ten; he was replaced by Dave Abbruzzese.
Ten didn't begin selling in significant numbers until early 1992, after Nirvana made mainstream rock radio receptive to alternative rockacts. Soon, Pearl Jam outsold Nirvana, which wasn't surprising. After all, Pearl Jam fused the riff-heavy stadium rock of the '70s with the gritand anger of '80s post-punk, without ever neglecting hooks and choruses; "Jeremy," "Evenflow," and "Alive" fit perfectly onto album rockradio stations looking for new blood. Pearl Jam's audience continued to grow during 1992, thanks to a series of radio and MTV hits, as wellas successful appearances on the second Lollapalooza tour and the Singles soundtrack. Meanwhile, Temple of the Dog's self-titled albumbegan a platinum-selling hit, thanks to renewed interest in the project (which, in addition to Pearl Jam, featured grunge heavyweight ChrisCornell) and strong radio support for the single "Hunger Strike." Stone Gossard also embarked on a side project called Brad, which releasedthe album Shame in early 1993.
Despite their status as rock & roll superstars, Pearl Jam refused to succumb to the accepted conventions of the music industry. The grouprefused to release any videos or singles from their second album, 1993's Vs. Nevertheless, it was another multi-platinum success,debuting at number one and selling nearly a million copies in its first week of release. On their spring 1994 American tour, the band decidednot to play the conventional stadiums, choosing to play smaller arenas, including several shows on college campuses. Pearl Jam canceledtheir 1994 summer tour, claiming they couldn't keep ticket prices below 20 dollars because Ticketmaster was pressuring promoters tocharge a higher price. The band took Ticketmaster to the Justice Department for unfair business practices; while fighting Ticketmaster, theyrecorded a new album during the spring and summer of 1994. After the record was completed, the group fired Dave Abbruzzese, replacinghim with former Red Hot Chili Peppers and Eleven drummer Jack Irons.
Vitalogy, the band's third album, appeared at the end of 1994. For the first two weeks, the album was only available as a limited vinylrelease, but the record charted in the Top 60. Once Vitalogy was available on CD and cassette, the album shot to the top of the charts andquickly went multi-platinum. Pearl Jam continued to battle Ticketmaster in 1995, but the Justice Department eventually ruled in favor of theticket agency. In early 1995, the band recorded an album with Neil Young. Meanwhile, Vedder toured with his wife Beth's experimental bandHovercraft in the spring of 1994 as Stone Gossard founded an independent record company. Mad Season, Mike McCready's side projectwith Layne Staley of Alice in Chains, released its first album, Above, in the spring of 1995. Comprised entirely of Neil Young songs, MirrorBall appeared in the summer under Young's name; although the individual members of the band were credited, the name Pearl Jam did notappear on the cover due to legal complications. Pearl Jam released a single culled from the sessions, titled Merkinball and featuring thesongs "I Got Id" and "Long Road," during the fall of 1995.
In late summer of 1996, Pearl Jam released their fourth album, No Code. Although the album was greeted with fairly positive reviews anddebuted at number one, its weird amalgam of rock, worldbeat, and experimentalism dissatisfied a large portion of their fan base, and itquickly fell down the charts. The record's performance was also hurt by Pearl Jam's inability to launch a full-scale tour, due both to theirbattle with Ticketmaster and a reluctance to spend months on the road. The band spent most of 1997 out of the spotlight, working on newmaterial; Gossard also released a second album with his side project Brad, titled Interiors. By the end of the year, Pearl Jam had completeda new, harder-rocking record entitled Yield. The album was greeted with enthusiastic reviews upon its February 1998 release, but itscommercial fortunes weren't quite as clear cut. While their sizable cult embraced the album, sending it to number two its first week ofrelease, Yield quickly slipped down the charts. Pearl Jam supported the record with a full-scale arena tour in the summer of 1998, issuingthe concert LP Live on Two Legs at the end of the year; Jack Irons did not participate due to poor health, prompting the band to bring ex-Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron back into the fold.
In 1999, Pearl Jam scored an unlikely pop radio smash with their cover of the J. Frank Wilson oldie "Last Kiss," originally released as theseventh in a series of fan club-only singles that had also featured several incongruous covers in the past. Demand from fans and radioprogrammers resulted in the nationwide release of "Last Kiss," and it eventually became the band's highest-charting pop hit to date,peaking at number two and going gold. The group returned in 2000 with the Tchad Blake-produced Binaural. In order to circumventbootleggers, their subsequent European and American tours were recorded in full and released in an unprecedented series of double-CDsets, with each of the 72 volumes featuring a complete concert. Riot Act, a muscular -- and critically lauded -- collection of new songs thatfound the group dabbling in experimental art rock, was released in 2002.
Two anthologies arrived in 2003 and 2004, Lost Dogs: Rarities and B Sides and Rearviewmirror: Greatest Hits 1991-2003. They werefollowed in 2006 by the eponymous (and all-new) Pearl Jam, a number two hit on the album charts. As the band's 20th anniversary loomedon the horizon, Pearl Jam launched a series of album reissues, beginning with a deluxe version of Ten in 2009. That same year also saw therelease of their ninth studio album, Backspacer, which doubled as the group's first independently released project, initially appearingexclusively in Target stores in the U.S. The band supported the album with an extensive 2010 tour. Live on Ten Legs, a collection ofconcert highlights from 2003-2010, appeared in January 2011. Later that year, Vedder released a solo album of standards accompaniedonly by ukulele, and the band celebrated their two-decade anniversary by launching a two-day festival in Wisconsin, commissioningCameron Crowe to produce a music documentary named PJ20, and releasing a soundtrack of rare songs from the film. « hide
Similar Bands: Neil Young, Mother Love Bone, Temple Of The Dog
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