Pearl Jam (formed 1990)
Pearl Jam are an American rock band made up of bassist Jeff Ament, guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready, vocalist Eddie Vedder and drummer Matt Cameron.
Formation: Pearl Jam formed in Seattle, Washington after vocalist Andrew Wood, of Gossard and Ament's band Mother Love Bone, died from a heroin overdose. They pair sent out a demo tape to find a drummer and a singer and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons passed it on to his friend Eddie Vedder in California. Vedder recorded his voice and lyrics over the demo and sent it back to Gossard and Ament who subsequently took him in to audition. Dave Krusen was their first drummer, and they initially named the band Mookie Blaylock after the basketball player. Their first show took place at the Off Ramp Café in Seattle and they subsequently signed to Epic Records and became Pearl Jam.
Musical career: Pearl Jam recorded their debut album 'Ten' at London Bridge Studios, Seattle in 1991. The record included singles 'Alive', 'Even Flow' and 'Jeremy', was named after Mookie Blaylock's jersey number and possessed several dark themes within it. 'Alive' looked at themes of grief and incest, while 'Jeremy' is based on a true story of a gun suicide. Soon after, drummer Krusen was replaced by Matt Chamberlain after checking into rehab. Dave Abbruzzese then replaced Chamberlain to complete a string of shows the band were performing for 'Ten'. By 1992, the album had reached number 2 in the US and was certified gold (it later reached diamond status and is one of the best-selling rock albums ever). In 1993, the band received four accolades at the MTV Video Music Awards, but went against their label and refused to make a video for their song 'Black' as Vedder felt videos took away the opportunity for listeners to create their own meaning. That year they released second album 'Vs.', to another wave of success selling 950,378 copies in its first week. It included the singles 'Go', 'Daughter', 'Animal' and 'Dissident'. The band then decided against doing any more videos, made less TV appearances and gave less interviews - they also put a cap on the ticket prices for their next tour in a bid to make their music more about their fans. In 1994, Pearl Jam embarked on a Ticketmaster boycott when they discovered the ticket sellers were adding a service charge to their show tickets, despite them trying to keep prices as low as possible. They attempted to tour without involvement with Ticketmaster but it soon failed as the sellers had contracts with pretty much every major venue. They were soon placed under investigation for their 'anticompetitive conduct', with Gossard and Ament testifying against their 'monopolistic practices'. After the case was dropped, the band's fierce boycott led them to cancel their summer tour and, as well as refusing to make videos, also refused to release singles and wanted their albums to be released solely on vinyl. Third album 'Vitalogy' was released late in 1994 after there had been much tension within the band and drummer Dave Abbruzzese was fired to be replaced by Jack Irons. The album was added to the quickly growing success of the band and included the Grammy winning song 'Spin the Black Circle' as well as 'Not for You', 'Corduroy', 'Better Man' and 'Immortality'. In 1995, they made uncredited appearances on Neil Young's album 'Mirror Ball'. Two tracks were left off the album - 'I Got Id' and 'Long Road' - but Pearl Jam later released them themselves on their EP 'Merkin Ball'. In 1996 they released album 'No Code' - an album very different from their earlier sound and one that quickly slipped down the charts after opening at number one. Two years later they returned to their old sound with 'Yield' which saw them release their first video in 8 years for 'Do the Evolution', animated by Todd McFarlane. They released a documentary about the making of the album entitled 'Single Video Theory'. In 1998, drummer Jack Irons was replaced by Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron after he became frustrated with the lack of touring due to the Tickermaster boycott. They then embarked on their first full tour in a long time after giving up on the boycott, and later released a live DVD entitled 'Live on Two Legs'. In 1999, Pearl Jam released their cover of J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers' 1960 song 'Last Kiss' with all proceeds going to the Kosovo War refugees. It reached number 2 in the charts and became their highest-charting single. In 2000, they released their sixth album 'Binaural' which was their first not to be certified Platinum. On their subsequent tour, they decided to record all their shows after noting the popularity of bootleg recordings among fans. They thus released 72 live albums between 2000 and 2001. However, their European tour saw them witness a horrific accident at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark whereby nine concert goers were crushed and smothered as fans surged to the front of the stage. The band were initially blamed for the incident and cancelled the tour's final dates. They took a year's break before releasing their album 'Riot Act' in 2002 which featured singles 'I Am Mine' and 'Save You'. One track, 'Arc', was written in tribute to those who died at Roskilde Festival. The tour for the album caused controversy when Vedder impaled a rubber mask of President George W. Bush on a mic stand after singing their anti-Bush track 'Bu$hleaguer'. In 2003, they left Epic Records with no intention of releasing on another label. They recorded their single 'Man of the Hour' for the movie 'Big Fish' at the request of director Tim Burton and later received a Golden Globe nomination. That year they also released a collection of B-sides entitled 'Lost Dogs' and a live DVD entitled 'Live at the Garden' from their Madison Square Garden show. In 2004, they released live album 'Live at Benaroya Hall' as a one album deal with BMG. The following year they embarked on a tour spanning the US, Canada and Latin America. In 2006, Pearl Jam signed with J Records and released their self-titled album. It included tracks 'World Wide Suicide', 'Life Wasted' and 'Gone'. They embarked on a worldwide tour and headlined Leeds and Reading festivals despite their concerns about what happened at Roskilde. The following year, they covered The Who's 'Love, Reign o'er Me' for the film, 'Reign Over Me' before going on their European tour and headlining Lollapalooza. 2009 saw their debut album 'Ten' reissued featuring extra re-mastered and remixed tracks and a DVD of their MTV Unplugged appearance. Director Cameron Crowe released a film entitled 'Pearl Jam Twenty' to coincide with their 20th anniversary. In 2009, the band's ninth studio album 'Backspacer' opened at number one in the charts after being released through their own label Monkeywrench Records in the US. In 2013, their released tenth studio album 'Lightning Bolt' alongside singles 'Mind Your Manners' and 'Sirens'. It also reached number one.
Biography by Contactmusic.com