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Ten Things You May Not Know About Pearl Jam
In the current rock music scene, few bands have a pedigree as resilient as Pearl Jam.
The Seattle-based group burst onto the scene with 1991’s grunge opus Ten. They refused to let themselves be pigeonholed into that genre, releasing introspective albums including No Code, Yield, and Binaural that allowed them to simultaneously grow and maintain a feverishly devoted fan base.
The band's devotion to authenticity wouldn’t be the same without frontman Eddie Vedder and today happens to be his 49th birthday. So to celebrate the man who helped bring you Black, Alive, Better Man, and Jeremy to name only a few – here’s ten things you may not know about Pearl Jam!
1. Bill Clinton sought the band’s advice after Kurt Cobain’s suicide.
When Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain took his own life in 1994, President Bill Clinton reached out to Vedder for advice on whether or not to issue a special address to the nation. However, Eddie expressed concern about potential ‘copycat’ suicides, so Clinton ultimately decided against making a national address.
2. Guitarist Mike McCready isn’t much of a technical musician.
Though Mike McCready routinely leaves jaws agape with his guitar skills, he prefers to perform is craft by ear, going as far as to state, “I’m so ignorant of this technical stuff…I’m not into being a tech-head”. Humble McCready can call himself whatever he wants – either way he sounds pretty perfect to us.
3. The band was given a high honor due to their environmental work.
In 2011, Pearl Jam were officially christened ‘Planet Defenders’ by Rock the Earth due to their environmental activism and efforts to reduce waste and carbon emissions over the years.
4. Eddie subbed in for a notetable rock n’ roll icon.
When the Doors were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, Vedder stepped in to replace the departed Jim Morrison for a few performances, including “Light My Fire” and “Roadhouse Blues”.
5. Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins blames Eddie for the Chicago Cubs’ inability to win the World Series.
In 2008, Vedder (a lifelong Cubs fan) wrote and released a Cubs anthem called All the Way. Corgan, a lifelong Chicago resident and fellow Cubs fan, claimed that Vedder ‘jinxed’ the team by releasing the tune. Pearl Jam played the song at their big 2013 Wrigley Field gigs, appropriately. (source)
6. Vedder discovered PJ through a tip from another rock icon.
Former Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer, Jack Irons, gave Vedder a demo tape he had received from Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. The musicians were in search of a new singer after the passing of Mother Love Bone frontman Andrew Wood from a heroine overdose. Vedder wrote lyrics and recorded vocals to the demo and mailed it off to Gossard. After a brief audition—the rest is PJ history.
7. Despite the band’s hits, their most successful charting single was a cover.
While PJ has racked up a number of successful original singles over the years, it was their 1999 cover of Wayne Cochran’s 1961 hit Last Kiss that was their highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching #2.
8. ‘Eddie Vedder’ was not his birth name.
Eddie, born Edward Louis Severson III, spent most of his childhood under the impression that his stepfather, Peter Mueller was his real father and went by Edward Muller. When his mother and Muller divorced and he learned the real story behind his parentage, he adopted his mother’s maiden name, "Vedder".
9. Vedder worked at a gas station before joining the band.
Eddie didn’t exactly live in affluence before his music career caught on, as he worked a number of odd jobs before meeting the band through drummer Jack Irons. One of those jobs included working as a gas station attendant.
10. The band releases a Christmas single every year.
This isn’t news for anybody that is a member of the band’s ‘Ten Club’, but Pearl Jam routinely releases a special holiday single each year. Due to their scarcity, the singles (usually pressed to vinyl) become pretty valuable.
So there you have it, ten fun facts about one of our favorite bands who continues to produce classic tracks and shows no sign of slowing down. New album, Lighting Bolt, is choice addition to the PJ cannon and it even made the cut for our top album picks of 2013 – check it out here.
Know any other PJ facts you'd like to include? Let us know in the comments section below.