Pearl Jam fuse the riff-heavy stadium rock of the '70s with the grit and anger of '80s post-punk, without ever neglecting hooks and choruses
Pearl Jam rose from the ashes of Mother Love Bone to become the most popular American rock & roll band of the ’90s. After Mother Love Bone’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 Jam drummer Jack Irons, the demo found its way to a 25-year-old San Diego surfer named Eddie Vedder, who overdubbed vocals and original lyrics and was subsequently invited to join the band (then christened Mookie Blaylock after the NBA player). Dave Krusen was hired as the full-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 Andrew Wood 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 rock acts. Soon, Pearl Jam outsold Nirvana, which wasn’t surprising. After all, Pearl Jam fused the riff-heavy stadium rock of the ’70s with the grit and anger of ’80s post-punk, without ever neglecting hooks and choruses; “Jeremy,” “Evenflow,” and “Alive” fit perfectly onto album rock radio stations looking for new blood. Pearl Jam’s audience continued to grow during 1992, thanks to a series of radio and MTV hits, as well as successful appearances on the second Lollapalooza tour and the Singles soundtrack. Fast forward 20 years, 10 studio albums, 2 anthologies and countless world tours and you have one of the most important Rock bands on earth. Pearl Jam recently announced their tenth studio album, Lightning Bolt, premiering the raw, punky single “Mind Your Manners” in July 2013. A “darker, more atmospheric” album, with longer songs than its short, sharp predecessor “Backspacer”, and bearing the influence of both Pink Floyd and punk, Lightning Bolt was scheduled for release in October 2013.
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