Monday, March 30, 2009

Sales Numbers on the Redux

I hate to swamp folks, so I'll make this it for the day.  It was just too good of news to wait. has posted an article touting first week sales of $10,000 Super Deluxe Editions.  Given the $140 price tag, that's amazing.

Pearl Jam's 'Ten' Reissue Off To Strong Sales Start
Pearl Jam fans snapped of 10,000 copies of the super-deluxe "Ten" reissue.

March 30, 2009 08:16 AM ET

Cortney Harding, N.Y.
Sony Legacy is predicting solid first-week numbers for its reissue of Pearl Jam's 1992 album "Ten"—55,000 total copies sold and, remarkably, 10,000 copies of the collector's edition, which is selling for $140 on the band's Web site and for $124.99 at Best Buy.

The sales of the collector's edition comes thanks to worldwide fan club pre-orders; Legacy Recordings/Sony Music VP of sales Scott Van Horn says the label predicts that during the first week of release it will sell 55,000 copies overall of the four versions of the reissue.

If Sony's predictions are correct, the album will easily lead Billboard's Top Pop Catalog Albums chart. Even if predictions are off, the set is still expected to conquer the chart with ease. The reigning albums for the last two weeks have sold 11,000 and 12,000 copies, respectively; the fan club pre-orders alone would almost beat that.

The list price for the collector's edition is $199.98. The set contains two CDs, four LPs, a DVD of Pearl Jam's previously unreleased "MTV Unplugged" performance, a cassette of demos, replicas of mementos from the collections of singer Eddie Vedder and bassist Jeff Ament, a vellum envelope with more ephemera and a print commemorating a concert from the time. Besides the collector's edition, other versions of the "Ten" reissue include a $40.98 deluxe edition and the $19.98 legacy edition. Van Horn predicts the collector's edition will account for 10% of sales, the deluxe edition for 50% and the legacy edition for 40%. (He adds that the label is having a harder time quickly counting sales of the $24.98 vinyl editions.)

The breakdown of sales is a stark contrast to the percentages for U2's latest album, "No Line on the Horizon," which was also released at multiple price points. During the first week of sales, 92.4% of the copies sold were the standard physical CD and all digital formats, with a $35.98 Digipak accounting for 4.4% of the sales and the $95.98 boxed set accounting for 2% of sales (Over the Counter, Billboard, March 28).

Compare Pearl Jam's numbers to pre-order numbers from another recent reissue, the Beastie Boys' "Paul's Boutique": While sales numbers aren't available to Nielsen SoundScan, Topspin founder Ian Rogers, who helped release the album, told Billboard earlier this month that the highest and lowest price points were the biggest sellers.

Although the prices for the deluxe edition of "Ten" might seem high, they are in line with historical trends. During the first golden age of boxed sets in the late '80s, collections like Eric Clapton's "Crossroads" and Bob Dylan's "Biograph" cost around $60, which would equate to $103 today, adjusted for inflation. Neither of those sets contained books, tapes or other assorted memorabilia, making "Ten" look almost like a bargain.

Thanks, WorldWithYourHeart, for the catch.

McCready on the Radio

Mike has confirmed that Pearl Jam plans a short US tour in September.  He also speaks about plans for the new album and a movie with Cameron Crowe, neither of which are new news for us hardcore Jamaniacs.

Ten Redux: An Album for the People

Reviews of the Ten Reissue have been pouring in.  Even from people who haven't always characterized themselves as "grunge fans."  I'll start with my find first.  Aren't you glad that I flew to Dallas this week, so I could catch this piece in the March 15th issue of American Way Magazine?

The First Cut Is the Deepest

As the rerelease of Pearl Jam’s seminal album, Ten, is this month, we asked one die-hard follower to recall what the original album meant to him and so many other rock fans.
By Zac Crain

Up until about 1992, I listed exclusively to hip-hop.  It was a hard trick to pull off, since I grew up in a small town and didn’t have access to MTV or an urban radio station, much less a good record store.  And the Internet?  That was only a rumor.  So I read The Source obsessively and dropped every paycheck on mail-ordered CDs – that is, until the day my mom happened to hear one of my Ice Cube discs and, Footloose-style, demanded I get rid of my entire collection.  I took everything to a used-CD store a few towns away and told the clerk to put all the money toward rock records.  I asked him to choose them for me, since I had no real clue where to begin.

Most of his selections were played once and the quickly forgotten.  (Collective Soul’s Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid, I’m looking in your direction.)  But there was one keeper: Pearl Jam’s debut, Ten.  There was an almost subliminal hip-hop undercurrent to the riffs on songs like “Even Flow,” which made for an easy transition to this new genre of music.  More than that, Eddie Vedder’s often-inscrutable lyrics spoke to the confusing years of my late teens.

Looking back, I realize it’s not my favorite Pearl Jam album (that would be 1993’s Vs.), nore does it contain my favorite of their songs (“Corduroy,” from 1994’s Vitalogy).  Ten is, however, the disc I have the fondest memories of, partly due to the fact that it was pretty much the only album I listed to for months.  Sure, there wasn’t much else for me to listen to, but there wasn’t much else I wanted to listen to either.

And now, a find from twofeetthick, who found a review on the Onion's AV Club by David Wolinsky, who never even heard Tenuntil the reissue.

TwoFeetThick Weekend Update

Two great pieces of news popped up at twofeetthick this weekend.  First is news of an upcoming book by rock journalist, Greg Prato, titled Grunge is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music.  The book is a collection of interviews with prominent grunge figures, including Eddie Vedder and Jeff Ament.

When asked which artists have given him the most enjoyable interview, Prado answered, “There have been quite a few. Tops would have to be Eddie Vedder when I interviewed him for Grunge Is Dead, he was gracious enough to be interviewed for nearly two hours, and he told great story after great story. The same with Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil - Kim doesn’t do interviews very often, but he realized early on that I knew my “Soundgarden facts” since I was a long-time fans, and granted me several very long interviews for the grunge book.”

UPDATE: TwofeetThick has received their copy of Grunge is Dead and posted some excerpts.

The next peice of news is that, apparently in an attempt to not be outdown my the band who left him off of the cover art for their MTV Unplugged DVD, Dave Abbruzzese has begun uploading his personal VHS collection to YouTube.  His is posting under the Free Associated Records (FreeAss).

And lastly, ... a twitter tweet by TFT, which I think is brilliant and worthy of investigation.

twofeetthick is thinking .. when Vs. is up for the Legacy redux release, will Rick Parashar remix Brendan O'Brien's version?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Upcoming Appearances

It's a good bet that there won't be a lot of opportunities to see Pearl Jam prior to the release of the new album (except, maybe, Austin City Limits), but coming soon, there are few opportunities to see the requisite parts of Pearl Jam playing with their various side projects before they retreat back into the studio.

April 4th: Eddie Vedder
at Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the David Lynch Foundation.
(get the news on the live, backstage webcast!)

May 2th: Flight to Mars (Mike McCready) at Showbox for the benefit of CCFA.

May 22nd: Green River (Jeff Ament & Stone Gossard) at Showbox celebrating the Melvins' 25th Anniversary.
May 23rd: Green River (Jeff Ament & Stone Gossard) at Showbox celebrating the Melvins' 25th Anniversary.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

T-Shirt Contest Winner

The Ten Club announced the winner of their t-shirt contest today, Barbara Alonso.  The original contest did promise that the design would be for sale on the website, but as of this posting, it is not.

Happy New Ten Day!

Ah, the dawn of a new reverb-free era!  I got some funky error messages when I logged into Ten Club this morning, so watch them.  They might be up to something.  Probably announcing the winner of the t-shirt contest.  Also, Rolling Stone has added the Legacy Edition to their album database so you can go rate it and/or review it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

TFT: Ed Talks to Newsweek

TwoFeetThick caught this Newsweek interview with Ed.

The Reluctant Rock Star -Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder on music, activism and trying to avoid celebrity. 
byJessica Bennett
Newsweek Web Exclusive
Pearl Jam exploded onto the Seattle music scene in 1991 and has been fending off celebrity ever since. The group’s debut album, “Ten,” reached No. 2 on the pop charts and has sold some 12 million copies, but the band shunned endorsements and shied away from almost all self-promotion, even refusing to make videos for a time. Close to two decades later, it’s clear they didn’t need the hype. In a 2005 USA Today readers’ poll, Pearl Jam was voted the greatest American rock band of all time. They’ve managed to take up causes from health care to antitrust, even testifying before Congress in a Justice Department probe into Ticketmaster. Currently at work on their ninth studio album, Pearl Jam is re-releasing “Ten” in four new and expanded editions that include six bonus tracks. Lead singer Eddie Vedder, 44, spoke with NEWSWEEK about the reissue, balancing music with activism, and life as a father of two. Excerpts:
NEWSWEEK: How has Pearl Jam changed in the years since “Ten” was first released?
Eddie Vedder: I think in so many ways we’ve grown up, but I think in music you’re also able to hang on to a part of youth that in a normal job you’d have to surrender. In a way, it was a blessing that we didn’t have families at the time, because we could give everything to the music. But I never thought we’d have to actually look back and answer questions about 20 years ago.

How much of this has become about activism for you, and how much is still about music?
I think it’s always been a balance. I think music is the greatest art form that exists, and I think people listen to music for different reasons, and it serves different purposes. Some of it is background music, and some of it is things that might affect a person’s day, if not their life, or change an attitude. The best songs are the ones that make you feel something. But it’s really a balance, because part of it is just, well, you’re a rock-and-roll band. But what happens is you learn that a rock-and-roll band can be a whole lot of things.

Has the way you pursue activism changed?
Back [in our early days] it was very knee-jerk: You’d want to kick out a stained-glass window to get your point across. Now you try to deliver better business plans to corporate entities so they can still make a profit, but do it without destroying land or culture.

Has having a family changed your views about celebrity?
I don’t really have too many views on it, to be honest. [Laughs] Seattle’s very close-knit, and I don’t feel any different, even though I have a different job than some of the other parents at school. How else do I answer that?

Well, what’s it like to be a rock star?
You know, rock stardom … I have a hard time discussing that because I don’t really accept it. It’s not really that tangible. What’s really bizarre is how it’s used as a thing—you know, “He’s the rock star of politics,” “He’s the rock star of quarterbacks”—like it’s the greatest thing in the world. And it’s not bad, but it’s just different. I don’t understand it. Cause I’m going, “Well—am I that?” I want to be the plumber of rock stars.

How do you keep your music relevant?
I think by pushing the boundaries, by not doing something you’ve already done, and pushing each other as bandmates to create in a new way.

Do you miss that Seattle heyday of the early ’90s at all?
I think what we miss is the bands all showing up at each other’s shows, and five people being up onstage, and then the next night the same people that were up onstage being in the audience and vice versa. Everyone was very supportive of each other. And, you know, there were some great f–king living-room parties as well. And it still happens, it’s just a little less.

Does that community you talk about still exist?
You know, it’s amazing how few bands are able to keep it together. But I’d like to think there’s still a number of us who, for lack of a better word, are slaves to rock and roll. It’s in us and we need it. And I think it’s trickier now because a lot of us have to be a little bit more grown up. We’re parents and we’re figuring out how to do both. Because as much as I would dedicate my life solely to music, I wouldn’t sacrifice the kids’ upbringing to do it.

You recently had a second daughter.
Yep, she’s 4 months old. She was born on Bruce Springsteen’s birthday [September 23].  So my one kid’s 4, my other kid’s 4 months, I’m 44, Barack Obama is the 44th president—it’s all lining up nicely here.

Do you still wear a lot of flannel?
I’m not wearing one today, but I sure was wearing one yesterday.

TFT: Just What Is Pearl Jam's Chart History?

This is the kind of creative, original content for which TwoFeetThick is known and which I am too lazy to produce.  There is a lot of good info and history about Billboard and the various other music charts.  When I reported about Brother hitting #1, I listed the other songs that hit #1 on Billboard, but there are other charts, and other songs that have hit "#1."

1993   Daughter/Yellow Ledbetter  - Mainstream Rock Tracks    
1994   Daughter - Mainstream Rock Tracks          
1994   Daughter - Modern Rock Tracks                         
1995   Better Man - Mainstream Rock Tracks       
1996   Who You Are - Modern Rock Tracks          
1998   Given To Fly - Mainstream Rock Tracks     
2006   World Wide Suicide - Modern Rock Track                      
2009   Brother - Hot Modern Rock Tracks  

Pearl Jam in the New York Post

The New York Post published two articles this weekend about the Ten Reissue.  One [I wouldn't call it an interview] with several quotes from the band, and a [not glowing] review of the album.

Pearl Jams Debut 'TEN' gets a brand new spin

NINETEEN years ago, Eddie Vedder unleashed an emotional tirade on a harmless cassette tape, singing over instrumental tracks and melodic samples played by Seattle musicians he didn't even know. A short time later, that piece of plastic evolved into a landmark album, Pearl Jam's debut "Ten," which is being celebrated with a three-disc reissue on Tuesday.

In 1990, the musicians who would form Pearl Jam were in disarray. Guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament had seen their previous band, Mother Love Bone, flame out after lead singer Andrew Wood died of a heroin overdose. Guitarist Mike McCready's previous band, Shadow, had just broken up. And down in San Diego, Vedder was pumping gas, surfing and playing in a going-nowhere band called Bad Radio.

In search of a singer and percussionist, the Seattle trio gave a copy of their rough demo tape to ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons, who passed it on to his basketball buddy Vedder. Once they heard Vedder's snarl over their arrangements, they quickly flew him to Washington, where they proceeded to hit the studio seconds after the plane touched down.

"It was special right away," recalls Ament of the sessions. "We knew [Eddie] was the missing piece."

The songs that began forming contained dark meanings that were mostly hidden behind driving guitars and thunderous drums. "Even Flow" unveiled the morbid life of a homeless man. "Jeremy" was real-life tale of a schoolboy blowing his head off in front of his classmates. And "Alive" included lyrics focused on incest, betrayal and a broken-home life.

Amazingly, "Ten" which went on to sell more than 12 million copies never boasted a No.1 hit. But along with Nirvana's "Nevermind," it became one of modern rock's most influential albums and a touchstone of what would become known as alternative rock.

Despite its revered status, Pearl Jam asked producer Brendan O'Brien to tinker with their first creation. His remix and six related tracks from the "Ten" sessions are part of the reissue package.

"The band loved the original mix of 'Ten' but were also interested in what it would sound like if I were to deconstruct and remix it," says O'Brien, who produced the follow-up albums "Vs.," "Vitalogy," "No Code" and "Yield."

"The original 'Ten' sound is what millions of people bought, dug and loved, so I was initially hesitant to mess around with that," O'Brien adds. "I was able to wrap my head around the idea of offering it as a companion piece to the original giving a fresh take on it, a more direct sound."

Several package options, ranging from $15.99 to $140, are available. Depending on which "goodie bag" is chosen, fans can finally possess Pearl Jam's wild and unreleased 1992 performance on "MTV Unplugged," an LP of the band's 1992 "Drop in the Park" concert in Seattle, a replica of Pearl Jam's three-song demo cassette with Vedder's original vocal dubs or a recreation of the frontman's composition notebook with abstract photos.

"['Ten'] has definitely withstood the test of time," says current drummer Matt Cameron, who contributed to the original demo tape while still a member of Soundgarden. "I couldn't have predicted what the album would become."

"Ten" (remixed)
March 22, 2009

FEW fans are as devoted to their band as Pearl Jam admirers, so they should know right up front that the remixed version of the band's 1991 debut "Ten," out Tuesday, doesn't paint a mustache on the Mona Lisa. In fact, producer Brendan O'Brien's fiddling with the rock masterpiece is subtle. There are no hip-hop infusions or radical switch-ups.

Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder has always griped that "Ten" was "overproduced," and band bassist Jeff Ament cringes at how much reverb is on the original. Yet in side-by-side spins, through the same speakers, the differences mostly lie in sonic precision, bass and treble separation, and emphasis.

Bass lines and drumming jump off the remixes with a little more power, most easily heard in bottom-happy songs such as "Porch." Throughout the new "Ten," Vedder's voice is in front of the music by a hair, giving him vocal crispness and the lyrics additional clarity. And the guitar solos definitely benefit from the dropped echo.

That said, if you don't listen with extreme care, through pricey new speakers, you might not hear the distinction between original and remixed versions of "Jeremy," "Alive" or "Even Flow." O'Brien, who has produced four of PJ's past records, is like an expert barber nobody notices his work, nobody should. "Ten" is still Pearl Jam's record.

So why snag this new version if you already own the original? Mostly for the bonus songs. With the hidden track "Master/Slave," the original "Ten" featured a dozen songs. The O'Brien remix gives fans six additional deep-vault rarities. Of those, the Doors-esque "2000 Mile Blues" and the grungy "Just a Girl" are fine glimpses of the band's evolution.

Thank you, Bathgate66, for the tip-off.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jeff Ament Interview with Shockhound

I should probably have posted this when I posted the Pearl Jam iPod Contest, but as I may have mentioned, sometimes, I'm lazy.  As most Pearl Jam fans, I never get tired of reading new interviews.  Even with 90% of the interview is stuff I know, I still feel like I get a window into the band's personalities and motivations.  So, even though you've read through so many Ten Reissue interviews, I'm still posting Shockhound's interview with Jeff.

Pearl Jam: History in Process
Interview by Gregg LaGambina

Has it really been just an eyelash shy of 20 years ago that a surfer from San Diego laid down some vocals over three instrumentals that would forever hence be known as “Alive,” “Once,” and “Footsteps”? That surfer, of course, was Eddie Vedder, those songs were composed by guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament — former members of Seattle staples Green River and Mother Love Bone — and two of those three songs wound up on Ten, the 1991 debut album by Pearl Jam. 

Debut is a French word meant to describe “a formal entrance into society.” There was nothing formal about Ten, and the society into which it was thrown was even less refined. The album appeared precisely at the time when it was needed; cuts like “Alive,” “Jeremy” and “Evenflow” resonated deeply with a new generation of kids who were distinctly not all right. Rounded out by guitarist Mike McCready and drummer Dave Abbruzzese (who joined shortly after Ten was finished, replacing original drummer Dave Krusen), Pearl Jam crawled out of the insomniac hours of MTV rotation and into the spotlight. They toured the earth with a singer who dangled from rafters and tumbled into the arms of newly anointed devotees, created small riots in the early afternoons of the second Lollapalooza festival (back when it was still a tour), and earned their adulation one person at a time, face to face, eardrum to eardrum.

On the occasion of the reissue of Ten — which comes in four different deluxe editions, all of which include a stripped-down, remixed version by producer Brendan O’Brien — SHOCKHOUND visited with bassist Jeff Ament to discuss then, now, and all points in between.

SHOCKHOUND: You’ve been a photographer for a long time, assembling a large pictorial archive of your band over the years. Are you a particularly nostalgic person?

JEFF AMENT: I’m probably nostalgic more so now than I ever have been. But I think I’ve been kind of lazy-nostalgic because the photos that I’ve taken over the years, I only really organized them in the last year or so. Timing-wise, it worked out pretty well [for the reissue of Ten] because it was pretty easy to access a lot of the photos I took during the two years that we were putting the band together and touring. It was pretty cool. I think you always worry about getting too nostalgic about things because we’re still a working band and we still feel like we’re making music that means something. Sometimes it’s a little bit tricky to jump back and forth between those two worlds. But in some ways, it feels like we can kind of close the door on that era a little bit now.

SHOCKHOUND: After all this time, how do you feel Ten has held up?

AMENT: The reason the album got remixed is because about around Vitalogy [1994], I saw a cassette tape that said “rough mix” — I was organizing this old crate full of cassettes — and it had the rough mixes from Ten. And when I heard it, I went, “Wow. This sounds so much better than the record.” I started bugging Brendan [O’Brien] around that time and started putting it in the ears of the other guys in the band. I thought if there was an opportunity at some point to remix that record, it would actually be a version that we could listen to. Whether it got released or not didn’t really matter to me, but I felt like I wanted to have a properly mixed version of it. Stone’s comment was he thought the reverb was covering up our inability to play [laughs]. A part of me had doubts too, but in listening to the rough mixes, it kind of proved that wrong. Listening to that stuff and listening to how Brendan remixed it — it kept it kind of punchy and raw. It really made me have a lot more respect for Dave Krusen, who was our drummer on that record. He was a really great drummer. He had a lot to do with how that record sounded. I don’t know if I ever gave him props; hopefully this remix will give him those props.

SHOCKHOUND: What exactly were the circumstances of Krusen’s exit?

AMENT: He was going through a bunch of stuff at the time. He had a wife and a newborn kid at that point. When we started touring, he just had a really hard time with it. And we were like, “Well, we’re going to be touring for the next 20 years [laughs] so if that’s something you’re not into…” So, it just didn’t work out.

SHOCKHOUND: When Pearl Jam started out, you famously sent a cassette of three instrumental songs you had recorded with Stone Gossard to “some surfer in San Diego” and it came back with vocals — the rest, as they say, is history. Almost 20 years later, you’re now in the studio recording your ninth album. Can you compare what it was like to hear Eddie Vedder sing over your music then to now? Is there a similar thrill now when you hear his new ideas for the first time?

AMENT: I have a huge appreciation for people who can put words together and be poetic. He’s always been a really strong writer in my eyes, but I think there’s been different phases when he’s really bumped it up. That’s just what he thinks about all the time. He’s always messing with wordplay and always thinking about words and how to put words together. Just the first few things that he did on this [forthcoming] record, it was obvious that he had again stepped it up a notch. It’s been really exciting these last few weeks just to hear what he comes up with and how he keeps making the words better. And sometimes he’ll come up with something great and then he’ll totally replace it with something even better. That’s a huge talent. I write some complete songs myself and it’s such an intense process for me just to get it to where it’s average. Slightly below average is really a lot of work [laughs]. He puts a lot of work into it too, but he also has an incredible gift.

SHOCKHOUND: Does he still cart around composition notebooks and jot things down?

AMENT: Yeah. He has a suitcase full of them.

SHOCKHOUND: Looking at the cover photo of Ten, you get a sense of how different things were back then, how being young and in a new band created a unique kind of solidarity. You’re all huddled there, announcing yourself to the world. For better or worse, how has that camaraderie changed over the years?

AMENT: I think partly with the relationships we’ve had with our better halves and over the years with our good friends and our families and the growing process of that — wives, girlfriends, that whole thing — we’re just having more grown-up conversations and communicating better. I think about Stone and I, and us being together for 25 years or whatever, and how we communicated early on — or really, how we didn’t communicate [laughs] — and how good of friends we are now and how we can have a pretty elevated, emotional discussion and not have it turn into something ugly like it could, or did. Even around the time we were making that record, there were strong feelings flying around and probably, to some degree, little power struggles, and really no ability to communicate in a calm, loving way what we were feeling. When we did take that picture, the idea was like, “If I’m going to be in a band still…” — because I had been in bands for 10 years at that point — “everybody has to be on the same page. If we are going to go step out into this world and really go for it, we really can’t have a weak link because a weak link is going to make us less of a band.” That was the idea — to really be a band. The cover, looking back at it, there’s a little bit of a cheesiness to it, but I think that was just the idealistic view we had at that point. We’re in this together and we’re gonna build a life out of this somehow — even if it’s only four or five years long [laughs] — we’re gonna go for it.

SHOCKHOUND: When Ten was originally released, it took a bit of time to find an audience; but when it did, you became huge almost without warning. When you were scheduled for the Lollapalooza festival that year, you had a 2 pm time slot usually reserved for smaller acts, and the crowds literally tore down barricades to get closer. Was that when you knew something was happening?

AMENT: Lollapalooza was a year after the record came out. We went to Europe three times that album cycle and every time we came back to Europe, the reception was exponential. We were playing like 200 or 300 capacity clubs and then all of sudden 2000-seaters, then we’re doing Lollapalooza at two in the afternoon. The record was doing well at that point, but we’re playing with the Chili Peppers and Soundgarden and Ministry — bands that we really looked up to. It was pretty intense. I don’t think we really knew how to handle all that energy. When you listen to tapes of some of those shows, we’re playing so fast, it’s so fucking crazy. I think we just took that energy in. I remember times on that tour when I just couldn’t go to sleep at night. I would just go back to the hotel and just lay there and it’s like five in the morning. It was great. At any given show it felt like something could go wrong too. It felt like we were playing on the edge of something. The barricades were coming down. All the people from the grass are coming down up front. Who played after us? The Jesus and Mary Chain. I think it was a bummer for them, because we had this thing going on and they played their pop music [after us] and it just didn’t translate.

SHOCKHOUND: But that band thrives on complaining.

AMENT: [Laughs] Right. Absolutely. They probably got a couple of good songs out of it.

SHOCKHOUND: The point of Lollapalooza then was to create this little traveling band of misfits who would play huge venues together that they wouldn’t be able to fill on their own. Now, there are “destination” festivals all over the place that basically have the same lineup in a different order. It might be good for the fans, but do you think the bands have that same kind of kinship of travelling around the country together like you did back in ’92?

AMENT: I think the good thing for us is that we haven’t played a lot of festivals in the past 15 years, really. We play a couple every year, and I think when we went to Europe two or three years ago, we played four or five but they were all in different countries. I think in the States, we’ve chosen every year to play a different one and not to play three or four. That makes it a little more exciting for us because only a couple times of year are we in the same vicinity as a lot of our peers. That makes it more fun as opposed to going out and doing the festival circuit every year. I think for a lot of bands that’s a way to make money and it’s a bit easier because you don’t have to carry your own sound and own lights and all that stuff. So, I think a lot of it is probably financially driven, but we’ve always wanted to change it up. There have been points over the years where we’ve toured too much in the same sort of setting, whether playing sheds or arenas and I’ve been like, “God, if I play another shed, I’m going to kill myself.” We’ve gotten pretty good at this point at knowing how to mix it up, keep it fresh, throw a festival or two in. It was fun a couple of years ago, we got to see Queens of the Stone Age for a couple of shows. For the last six or seven years, every time they’ve played Seattle we were out of town. So, it’s kind of a way to catch up. We got to see the Stooges at Lollapalooza a couple of years ago and that was great. I don’t know if that answers your question [laughs].

SHOCKHOUND: You just finished two weeks of recording in Los Angeles for your next album. What’s your favorite song, what’s its name, and why do you like it so much?

AMENT: [Laughs] Oh, man. There’s some really good stuff happening right now and it’s just starting to happen. The basic tracks are all kind of done. There are rough vocals. That stuff is getting tidied up. There are some keyboards and percussion things going on right now. It’s kind of just starting, but there’s a song called “The Fixer” that I think is really incredible.

SHOCKHOUND: Is that still your favorite part of being in Pearl Jam — seeing these little ideas hatch into brand new songs?

AMENT: Absolutely. Especially after all this time. This has been a real collaborative process. All five of us, with Brendan, have been in the same room for the last couple of months working these things out. So, from the inception of any one of us sitting on our couch or in our studio with a guitar in our hands — from that point to this point is pretty cool.

SHOCKHOUND: As a fan of basketball, do you feel a certain karmic satisfaction that the Oklahoma City Thunder are currently in last place? [The Seattle Supersonics were sold last year and moved to Oklahoma.]

AMENT: Nah. I think, for me, I have a little bit of an attachment to those guys because I saw them play some games last year, but I’m mostly just down on pro sports. In particular, I’m down on the NBA. I just think pro sports in general, everything’s caught up to it, whether it’s steroids or the price of tickets or leagues holding cities hostage over building new stadiums and all the under-the-table deals that go along with that crap. I’m a sports fan, but everybody shouldn’t be taxed to build a stadium. Not everybody is using it and not everybody is getting benefits out of it. It’s just crazy that billionaires are holding cities hostage. In some ways it’s probably good that Seattle doesn’t have to deal with that now because those teams are just money pits right now. And it’s probably not the best time now to have a whole bunch of those.

SHOCKHOUND: Remember when stadiums were named after great people who did great things and not the corporations that paid to build them?

AMENT: Yeah. And now all of those names are changing because all the banks are going out of business and all the insurance companies are going out of business. Everything has kind of caught up to the crookedness of business and the way that things have been handled.

SHOCKHOUND: Which brings us to the whole potential Ticketmaster and LiveNation deal. [The two companies are currently in negotiations to merge.] If bands can’t even sell records anymore because music is flying around the internet for free, where can an artist make a living if one corporation controls how money is made on the road too?

AMENT: Well, I have to say, I’m glad to see it in the newspapers and I’m glad to see that people are paying attention, and I hope a lot of bands get behind this thing. And then the other part of me goes, “Where were you at, like, 15 years ago?” [Laughs] Because we couldn’t get anybody. [Ament and Gossard testified in front of Congress in 1994, arguing that Ticketmaster was a monopoly in violation of antitrust laws.] It’s a joke. It works fine for the huge bands, but for anybody in between, or even worse yet, a young band who is maybe not selling records and is just kind of approaching venues that they have control over: you’re screwed. I actually really hope that Congress does something about it this time besides turn a blind eye, because that’s what happened 15 years ago.

SHOCKHOUND: Luckily for your band, you get to put out your next album on your own label and will probably have more control over your music than ever before.

AMENT: Absolutely. It’s a good time to be a free agent.

Pearl Jam on TV

TwoFeetThick.Com Crossover Post.  Hey, I'm lazy.  Click the links for the "Why Go" cover that aired on MTV and the schedule for VH1's special on the Ten Reissue.

"Why Go" Cover Version - P.O.S. Style

VH1 "Pearl Jam Ten Revisited" Showing Times

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rolling Stone: Pearl Jam Revisit Their Early Days

The April 2nd issue of Rolling Stone (with Gossip Girl's Blake Lively, her cleavage, and Leighton Meester on the cover) features an interview with the members of Pearl Jam about the reissue of Ten.  As far as I can tell, it's not posted on-line, so I've gone ahead and transcribed it.  You're going to have to live with any typos.  I spent all day working on my deck, so I'm tired and my hands are sore.

Pearl Jam Revisit Their Early Days
By Brian Hiatt

Stone Gossard can’t quite remember the dude’s name – only that he almost became Pearl Jam’s singer.  “Tyrone?  Ian?  Liam?” he says, rummaging through a refrigerator in an apartment on the top floor of the ban’s warehouse headquarters in Seattle.  Downstairs is PJ’s merch and fan-club operation, along with their rehearsal space, museum-quality band memorabilia and indoor batting cage.  Bassist Jeff Ament, who’s sitting at a kitchen table, isn’t having mudh luck with his memory either: “He was kind of a tall, skinny guy,” he says.

With a remixed, bonus-packed reissue of Pearl Jam’s first album, Ten out on March 24th, the group is in the mood to look back – and at the moment, Gossard, Ament and lead guitarist Mike McCready are trying to dredge up details about one of the few frontmen they considered before Eddie Vedder.  Ament is sure of one thing: “If we had chosen that guy, instead of sitting in an apartment above our warehouse now, this would be the apartment the three of us live in,” he says, cracking up his bandmates.  “We’d be playing you two grand under the table to do this interview.”
Since its August 1991 release, Ten has sold 9.6 million copies, according to Nielsen Sound Scan, more than Nirvana’s Nevermind.  And while Wedder’s bandmates know that none of it would have happened without him, the singer feels equally luck to have gotten the gig – especially after the harrowing recent experience of listening to the cassette demo that started it all.  “There was one part in there that’s as hysterical as anything I’ve ever heard,” Vedder says, “I haven’t laughed so hard in years.”  He’s referring to his early version of “Once,” which is the goffiest thing he’s ever recorded – the humongous chorus is intact, but the rest wavers between bizarre spoken-word segments and falsetto funk breaks.  “I’m fortunate they were able to see beyond that and give me the job.”
But the rest of the three-song tape – a cassette version is included in a superdeluxe edition of the reissue – comes eerily close to the sound of Ten.  It all started as riffs written by Gossard, who was determined to start over after the death of Andrew Wood, frontman of Gossard and Ament’s band Mother Love Bone.  Fascinated by the Led Zep-influenced Jane’s Addiction, Gossard had a very specific idea of the music he wanted to make.  “I like propulsion, I like rhythm,” he says.  “I wanted people jumping up and down.  It can be kind of like ‘Achilles Last Stand,’ or anything moving toward that heavy, funky, grooving, chaotic thing.”
To record the demo, Gossard recruited the best drummer in town: Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron – who wouldn’t play again with Pearl Jam until he joined the band in 1998.  “I got the sense that Stone had a pretty big picture of what this next musical endeavor would be,” says Cameron.
Former Red Hot Chili Pepper Jack Irons told Gossard and Ament about a singer living in Sand Diego named Eddie Vedder who was working as a gas-station security guard.  They mailed him the tape, labeled “Stone Gossard demos.”  “I recorded my vocals in four or five hours,” says Vedder, who wrote lyrics and melodies in his head while surfing.  “And it changed our lives in infinite ways, changed everything – it’s almost terrifying to listen to it.  It gave me what’s certainly the best life I’ve ever lived – to be able to support my kids, to be able to travel.  It was the best five hours I ever spent.”
With Vedder on board, along with drummer Dave Krusen, the band was convinced it had something special – especially as songs like “Black” and “Even Flow” developed.  “Someon asked me who this band reminded me of, and I said, ‘U2,’” says Krusen.  “Not that the music sounded like them – just the overall feeling.”
But when it came time to record Ten, the magic was sometimes hard to find.  “We played ‘Even Flow,’ like, a hundred fucking times,” says Ament, who would slam basketballs around the studio when he was frustrated.  “I was about to go fucking crazy.”  Vedder was trying to push the band’s music closer to punk – the song most indicative of its future direction is the power-chord blast of “Porch,” which he wrote on his own.  “This was my first chanced to make a real record, and I was pretty damn focused,” he says.  “I was in a new town, so that batch of songs replaced my friends and family.”
At some point in the mixing process, something went wrong: The guitars and drums float inside stadium-size digital reverb that now sounds more Eighties than Nineties.  As soon as they began working with producer Brendan O’Bien on their second album, Vs., Ament started begging him to remix Ten.  Last year, they finally convinced O’Brien to do it, and the results are impressive: The guitars snap and bite, Vedder’s vocals are rawer and more textured, and Krusen’s crisp, syncopated parts stand out.  “Krusen was a real hero,” Vedder says of the drummer, who left the band soon after his work on Ten, heading to rehab for a drinking problem.  “He was going through a lot, but he had something really special.”
The members of Pearl Jam are harder on Ten than most of their fans.  “From a musical point of view, it still seems kind of unrealized,” says Gossard.  “But that just shows I can’t hear it.”
“We were really wanting to figure it out, knowing it was somehow going to get better,” says Vedder.  “And we weren’t going to stop trying.”

Friday, March 20, 2009

An All Pearl Jam Weekend

UPDATE: It appears as though most of these channels are NOT actually playing non-stop Pearl Jam, but they are doing one sort of Pearl Jam promotion or another.  Go to their websites for details.  For non-stop Pearl Jam, stick with the AOL station and PJL.  Sorry for the confusion.

I suppose if you wanted to listen to Pearl Jam non-stop, you could always tap into AOL's Pearl Jam Station or Pearl Jam Live, sure, sure, sure, but how often does your local, over-the-air station play non-stop Pearl Jam?  Well, it's happening this weekend!

If you've got more, we'd love to see them in the comments!

The Sun: Interview with Eddie Vedder

Thank you, TFT, for the tip-off.  Ed spoke to the Sun about the new Ten Reissue back on January 20th.  They published it today.  Among other things, he delves into his interactions with Kurt Cobain in the early ears of the grunge movement.

With Ten reaching No2 on the Billboard 200 chart in 1992, Pearl Jam upgraded from Seattle to stadium rock band and with it arrived the backlash.
They were accused of being careerists, of betraying grunge, with their most vocal critic, Kurt Cobain, slating them for “pioneering a corporate, alternative and cock-rock fusion.”
In terms of follow-up albums, in the next year, 1993, it seemed grunge fans disagreed with Kurt and Pearl Jam’s Vs sold five times as many copies (nearly a million) as Nirvana’s third album, In Utero (200,000 copies) in their first week of release.
“I don’t think Kurt understood us at the time, but we became friends and I’m glad we had some of the great conversations we had, that I’m always going to keep up here,” says Eddie, pointing to his head.
“I don’t talk too much about him in respect to Krist (Novoselic) and Dave (Grohl) and I know he said that early stuff about not liking us.
“But there’s a couple of complimentary things that he said in public about me as a human being, which I’m proud exist. But if Kurt were around today, I know he’d say to me, ‘Well, you turned out OK.’”

TwoFeetThick.Com Revamp

TwoFeetThick.Com has retooled their website.  It currently looks like a blog format.  They must have seen the same vaccuum that I did whan I took over the front page of TSIS.  Here's hoping I can continue to scoop them on the big news, but it can only be good for Pearl Jam fans to have two clearing houses for Pearl Jam news.

TwoFeetThick is also the home to a lot of what I consider to be the best articles about Pearl Jam available on the Internet.  It's been a long time since they've added new content, so I'm excited to see them back in the game.  I hope they continue to create the same innovative and interesting original content that they're known for.  Please go by, pay homage, and join their Twitter Feed, Facebook Page, and YouTube Channel.

Dave Krusen Looking Back at Pearl Jam's Ten

This may not be new to everyone, but it was to me.  Of course, Ed, Stone, Mike, Jeff, and Matt are hitting the promotional circuit to hype the Ten Reissue, but even Dave Krusen is getting into the mix with this recent interview posted on Vater Percussion's website.

Some exerpts:
How many tracks in total were recorded for the "Ten" session?
Whoa, not sure. A LOT!!! I do remember the 2" tapes we had finished, lined up against the wall. It stretched on for quite a ways. Maybe 20, 25 songs all together. Maybe more.

Are there any songs recorded in the session that have never been released or surfaced on another Pearl Jam record?
Lost Dogs (released in 2002) has some great stuff from that session that hadn't seen the light of day. "Brother", the song being released as a new single as part of the re-issue of Ten, is on there without vocals. There's the Mudhoney tune we did, ("Touch me I'm sick"), a Free song, a Beatles tune. It's cool now to hear how we interacted musically. It was pretty damn cool!

What have you been up to lately musically?
Lately I've been keeping busy with several different projects. I've been recording and playing live with The Kings Royal, Puppies And Kittens, Toy Robot, Shelby, Ida Maria, La La La Birdtime as well as a couple things still under wraps. Also, my nine year old son Jagger, (who also uses only Vater sticks), has been shredding some serious stuff on the drums. Keep an eye out for him!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eddie Vedder to appear at Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden

Eddie Vedder is scheduled to perform at the Clearwater Concert: Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders, a one-night only concert event celebrating Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday. The event will be held on Sunday, May 3, at 7PM, at Madison Square Garden. For details visit:

Win a Pearl Jam iPod and Signed Ames Bros Book

I dread posting this because, well, I want to win too, but I want to do good by the Pearl Jam community.  This appears to be a legit opportunity to win the pictured Pearl Jam iPod (not currently available for purchase) and a copy of Pearl Jam vs. Ames Bros. signed by nearly every person associated with the band.
The Shockwave contest is only open to US residents, but
 HMV is running an identical contest for Canadian residents.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ten Club Clean Up Request

Have you checked your inbox?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 8:40 PM
Subject: Ten Club Cleans for Spring!

Time to roll up your sleeves, Ten Club is gearing up for an early Spring Cleaning and we need your help!

As you all know by now Ten Club updated the website back in December making the site more user interactive and streamlined.  Now you only have to login to one account to use both the message board and also to access your membership account.

However, some of you old message pit users have multiple accounts floating around out there cluttering up the database.  Let us clean them up and merge them all into one account to avoid future confusion when it comes to placing orders, looking up membership info, making posts on the message board... and more importantly TICKET SALES!

You just never know when Ten Club is gonna announce the next ticket sale or other members-only promotions and events.  So it is important to use this time now to get those accounts cleaned up!

For those of you who know you have both an old message pit account open and also a membership account please click on this link below and fill out the form as best you can and we will merge them together for you.

Thanks for lending a hand!


Tour coming soon?!

Brother Hits Number One!

Pearl Jam earns its fourth No. 1 on the Modern Rock chart as "Brother" rises from No. 4 to No. 1. With last week's leader, Incubus' "Love Hurts," ranking at No. 2, Epic claims back-to-back No. 1s and the top two spots for the first time in the chart's 20-year history . . . "Brother," one of six unreleased tracks from the March 24 reissue of Pearl Jam's debut album, "Ten," follows the band's previous No. 1s "Daughter" (1993), "Who You Are" (1996) and "World Wide Suicide" (2006).

Super Deluxe in Photos

 Thank you, TARS23, for what I believe is the first comprehensive photo gallery of the Super Deluxe Reissue of Ten to make it onto the web.

I won't embed any photos here because some folks might consider that spoiling their experience.  The Ten Club has announced that other reissues are coming, but there is debate about whether that means they'll all get the same boxed-set treatment.  However, this one seems to be designed to go nicely lined up on a shelf, next to later, similar boxed sets.

You be the judge.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pearl Jam Ten Code - Part 2 (Why Go)


Posted by Andy Cahn on March - 17 - 2009
In today’s Ten Code episode, we hear from TEN producer Brendan O’Brien, who came back to remix all the original album tracks for a bonus disc in this reissue.  You’ll also hear a clip of “Why Go” - a great example of the more in-your-face sound O’Brien sought for these remixes.

Pearl Jam TEN Reissue EPK

 Pearl Jam has posted a brand new interview promo on their Official YouTube Channel.  The band (sans Ed)  talk about the Mamasan tape, the Unplugged show, new packaging, and the Drop in the Park concert.  A lot of it is items we seen elsewhere, but it's nicely put together.

Does Jeff still has the TEN "P" hanging up in his garage?

Rock the Deuce Primetime

 Your humble blogger does not have cable, so I won't pretend to know anything about this show.  Perhaps someone will stick an explanation in the comments, but if you set your DVR to MTV2, you can catch some Pearl Jam on Rock the Deuce.

Rock the Deuce Primetime: Pearl Jam 10 on Rock Band

Tue 3/17 8:00-9:00pm   MTV2
Wed 3/18 6:00-7:00am   MTV2
Wed 3/18 8:00-9:00pm   MTV2
Thu 3/19 6:00-7:00am   MTV2
Thu 3/19 8:00-9:00pm   MTV2
Fri 3/20 6:00-7:00am   MTV2