Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam is one of the most successful American rock bands of the last quarter century, and arguably the definitive alternative rock band of the 1990s. Although it was Nirva-na which first codified the grunge movement’s revolutionary spirit, it would be Pearl Jam among Seattle’s “Big Four” (rounded out by Soundgarden and Alice in Chains) that enjoyed the greatest longevity and broad mainstream appeal. As former members of Green River and Mother Love Bone (which broke up on the eve of their album’s release when singer Andrew Wood overdosed on heroin) guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament were already veterans of the Seattle music scene when they started putting Pearl Jam together in 1990, with local recruits Mike McCready (lead guitar) and Dave Krusen (drums). But it was the discovery of a San Diego-based singer named Eddie Vedder that catalyzed Pearl Jam’s creative process and helped make 1992’s ‘Ten’ a multi-million-selling debut, almost on par with Nirvana’s genre watershed ‘Nevermind.’ Moreover, Pearl Jam immediately capitalized on their surging momentum with the following year’s equally successful ‘Vs.’ and 1994’s ‘Vitalogy’ (both featuring drummer Dave Abbruzzese), while simultaneously taking up the flag of the alternative rock nation in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s shocking suicide. But Pearl Jam themselves would soon begin chafing against their own celebrity, as though suffering from survivor’s guilt, and confused their fans with 1995’s contrarian ‘No Code’ album, before further distracting them by refusing to shoot music videos and embarking on an ill-fated crusade against the Ticketmaster behemoth. By the end of the decade, Pearl Jam’s popularity and sales figures had both cooled significantly, erstwhile Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons had come and gone, and former Soundgarden member Matt Cameron made his debut on 2000’s ‘Binaural,’ bringing much needed stability to the ranks. Since then, Pearl Jam has carried on touring and recording into the new millennium, to the delight of their still large loyal fan base, if not the pop masses at large, and their continued respect and success even without the backing of a major label is a testament to their achievements.



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