Monday, April 30, 2012

Stone on WFPK


Pearl Jam Toronto, Canada  9-11-2011



The Weekly Feed posted an interview with Stone Gossard this morning.




Thanks to Red Mosquito member, Ed10, for the notes.
  • Double Bill with Pearl Jam and Soundgarden? Stone said he'd feel back for Matt Cameron but also said, "sounds fun, I think we should do it."
  • BRAD will re-release prior records potentially with a few new tracks. Stone said not to expect much new stuff but that they may find something as they continue digging through the old files.
  • Stone said that he spent less time on the nostalgia marketing than Jeff and Eddie but still believes Pearl Jam's best records are ahead of them.
  • He announced that PJ will have another box set but it's release is not set yet. Jeff and Ed spend a lot of time doing the packaging to make it worth it for super fans what to see and feel the bands history.
  • Bay Leaf, Stones personal solo record has turned 10 years old. He says he's proud of that record and expects to release another solo album in the next couple of years. It's fun to be a fascist in the studio when doing a solo album.
  • How's Eddie doing? Hurt his back when moving a bench in his back yard. His arm was going to sleep. Going through physical therapy now.

New Brad Show (May 12)

Brad & Friends 4/14/10

It looks like you're getting one more chance to see Brad live.  STG and Synergia Northwest have announced the line-up for Music Matters "Live" 2012 which includes Brad. The benefit which supports extended learning, enrichment and performance opportunities to Northwest area music students, takes place Saturday, May 12 at the Paramount Theater in Seattle.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Skipping

Maybe it is because of where I am right now in my life, with a little girl learning to walk and desperate to hold my hand, but Skipping hit me hard. This is a beautiful song, a love letter from a parent to a child. That's notoriously difficult material to write about well. Even moreso than the connection between two lovers, the relationship between a parent and a child is so complicated, so unique, so intensely personal. Love songs have the same problem--everyone knows what THEIR love feels like, but other people's experiences sound trite and cliche, no matter how authentic. The best love songs usually have to circle around their subject rather than addressing it directly,. They fill in the surrounding spaces. Love becomes visible by defining its borders. This makes it possible to share without having to try and explain something experienced by the lovers alone. Eddie pulls this off in Skipping. He can't capture the relationship itself so he captures a moment and uses that moment to speak to the whole.

This is a hushed and delicate song, one that is trying to live in a moment too fragile and fleeting to risk disturbing. It's a particularly heartfelt performance, a complicated mixture of love, longing, pride, joy, and stillness, one straining to capture every detail, every sensation, so he can have it forever without having to sacrifice the moment itself.

I love that he grounds the song in something so innocent, (skipping with his daughter), and the way he describes the pride, the urgent need to love, the fierce desire to protect, and how all of this is anchored by savoring the simple and profound experience of holding his little girl's hand in his. He gets this absolutely right.

Skipping is not a sad song by any stretch. It's quite joyful, actually, but it's a bittersweet joy, because it has to be fleeting. The little girl won't be young forever. Daddy will not always be the center of her universe, even if she'll always be the center of his. I'm not sure a child can love a parent the way a parent can love a child. She won't always be holding daddy's hand, and no matter how much he wants her to grow up strong, happy, and independent, his heart breaks knowing he can't linger here forever.

The shivering silver tones of the guitar are a wonderful backdrop for the vocals, and Eddie's voice showcases the warmth, depth, and rich texture that make him, when he wants to be, one of the very best around. There are beautiful double tracked vocals throughout this song--which makes sense, since there are two of him now. The heart that beats in his chest and the one that beats in hers. Skipping culminates with the kind of gorgeous, wordless self harmonies that he does so unbelievably well. And this makes sense. In the end this song is about something universal, but too personal for words. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pearl Jam Speak Out Against Backpage.com

Pearl Jam 2009 02
Pearl Jam has added their name to a list of  leading musicians spoke out against the Village Voice Media-owned Backpage.com’s Adult classified section, where teens and children have been sold for sex.
“Village Voice Media has a history of being a strong advocate for the arts, reporting extensively on musicians and their work in its 13 weeklies across the country. That musicians are now speaking out against Village Voice Media’s refusal to take down the Adult section of Backpage.com where pimps advertise the sale of girls for sex is significant and should send a clear message to the company that it needs to take action to ensure no child is sexually exploited through use of its site," Mike Mills, R.E.M.’s bassist said in a press release.
Other artists who have called for an end to the practice are Alicia Keys, Daniel Bedingfield, Roseanne Cash, R.E.M., The Roots, Alabama Shakes, and the Drive-By-Truckers.

Blow Your Pants Off with Balls In Your Mouth

This coming June, Jimmy Fallon will release his second album of comedic music featuring our favorite political lead vocalist on our favorite protest song, Balls in Your Mouth.  Here's what the Wall Street Journal had to say.
On June 12, 2012, comedian and late-night host Jimmy Fallon will release Blow Your Pants Off on Warner Bros. Records. His second album release following his Grammy nominated debut contains new original music as well as viral favorites from Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and features a mind-blowing roster of guest stars including Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, Eddie Vedder and more. Of the title, Fallon says, "So far everyone that's heard the album had their pants blown off. There's nothing that we can do about it."

April 27: Brad in Seattle

Thursday, April 26, 2012

gremmie.net | Soundgarden & Chris Cornell


gremmie.net has been gearing up to add Soundgarden & Chris Cornell to the list of bands they cover. That means b-sides, the best quality live shows, and a slew of rare and hard-to-find material. But before they do it, they need your help.

Here's how it goes: as of this post, gremmie.net has 2,055 Facebook fans. They'll unlock the vault on Soundgarden & Chris Cornell once they hit 3,000. That's about 950 more fans. See? They can count. Considering they’ve done a lot for the community, it's a drop in the bucket. So head on over to their Facebook page and become a fan!

Why do they care so much about their Facebook page? For starters goof & gremmie, the site’s proprietors, are shallow and they derive their sense of self-worth from the size of that number. Second, it's a great way for them to get updates to gremmies. Lastly, it has material the website doesn't, like voting, and previews of their comics. So tell your friends and their moms, they love moms.


P.S. - Why haven't you liked The Sky I Scrape/Red Mosquito's Facebook page?  We're lagging a good 1000 likes behind the Gremster.

March-ish Madness: Round 4


Which song will make its Last Exit?  Who will go Down, and who will make it to The End?  Your votes, and your votes Alone, will determine the Man of the Hour.  Head to Red Mosquito to cast your votes in the latest round of March-ish Madness.

49. Last Exit vs. Oceans
50. Johnny Guitar vs. Satan's Bed
51. Porch vs. Sleight of Hand
52. Rats vs. Green Disease
53. Long Road vs. The End
54. Black Red Yellow vs. Insignificance
55. Rearview Mirror vs. Severed Hand
56. Alone vs. Nothingman
57. Cropduster vs. Jeremy
58. Corduroy vs. Got Some
59. Down vs. Ghost
60. Amongst the Waves vs. Save You
61. Can't Keep vs. Nothing As It Seems
62. Man of the Hour vs. Gonna See My Friend
63. Black vs. Big Wave
64. All Night vs. Crazy Mary

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Soundgarden's Classic Album Selection: May 21st

Soundgarden has announced that they will release a vinyl boxed set of their albums on May 21st.  The boxed set will include:
  • Louder Than Love (1989)
  • Badmotorfinger (1994)
  • Superunknown (1991)
  • Down on the Upside (1996)
  • Live on I-5 (1996/2011)
No word yet on price and availability.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Music Midtown in Atlanta!


Alright, America, according to the Ten Club, you have one more chance to see Pearl Jam in concert this year.
We are pleased to announce that Pearl Jam is headlining Music Midtown 2012, which takes place Friday, September 21 - Saturday, September 22 in Atlanta, GA. 
Pearl Jam is scheduled to close out the festival on Saturday, September 22. 
The lineup features the following artists on Friday: Foo Fighters, Van Hunt, TI, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, The Avett Brothers 
Saturday's lineup includes: Pearl Jam, Ludacris, Girl Talk, Florence and The Machine, Civil Twilight, LP, O’Brother, plus more acts to be announced. 
TICKETS
Music Midtown one-day and two-day passes go on sale this Saturday, April 28 at 10am ET / 7am PT at www.musicmidtown.com, www.livenation.com or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.For full festival info www.musicmidtown.com.

Brad Video: Make the Pain Go Away



In celebration of the release of their new album, United We Stand, Brad has release a video for the song Make The Pain Go Away.

Monday, April 23, 2012

March-ish Madness: Round 3



It's time to go Lukin our forum and start voting on the next round of March-ish Madness.  You Are the only one who can determine the winners.  You'll be Sad when your favorites are Gone if you don't vote.


33. Lowlight vs. Breath
34. Wishlist vs. Parachutes
35. Do the Evolution vs. Wash
36. You are vs. Off he Goes
37. Indifference vs. Habit
38. No Way vs. Evacuation
39. Immortality vs. Push Me/Pull Me
40. Gone vs. Just Breathe
41. Get Right vs. Grievance
42. Sad vs. Faithful
43. Inside Job vs. Even Flow
44. Lukin vs. Footsteps
45. Given to Fly vs. Why Go
46. Of the Girl vs. Not For You
47. Release vs. Smile
48. Blood vs. Betterman

A Mad Season Live Album?



In case you missed Mike McCready's interview today on WFPK, Mike announced that about two days ago, plans have begun to come together to release a Mad Season live album and possibly an album of demos finished off with guest vocalists as part of an Above reissue.  There are still some music rights issues to get worked out, but Mike is hoping for a late 2012 release.


Do we believe that man that's been promising us a solo album and a Pearl Jam EP for the last decade?  Well, we want that album badly enough that we're going to take him at his word.


Listen to the interview here:




EDIT: Sorry ... had the date wrong on the expected release.  "Late 2012" is correct.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

WFPK Sits Down with Mike

Pearl Jam - 09.12.11 - Toronto, Canada
Kyle Meredith, host and producer of The Weekly Feed on WFPK Louisville, announced yesterday that his show will be airing an hour-long interview with Mike McCready on Monday at 11am ET.

Hey Jamily, 
I'll be airing an hour long interview (and songs) with Mike this Monday the 23rd at 11a EST on 91.9 WFPK. If you're not in Louisville, stream us at wfpk.org to hear some great talk about UFO, The Rockfords, Crohn's, Soundgarden / splitting time with Matt Cameron, Shadow, Star Anna, Monkey Wrench radio and why public radio is awesome and never having to completely grow up. 
oh, and there's a lot of updates on the next Pearl Jam LP. 
oh, and a pretty awesome bit of news about a certain one-off record that came out in 95. 
wfpk.org, 11a EST, Monday the 23rd. 
Kyle Meredith, host/producer of The Weekly Feed, www.theweeklyfeed.org
It seems fairly unlikely that we'll hear much more about the new album beyond the clich├ęs that they guys have been throwing our way since the release of Backspacer, but we'll be tuning in nonetheless.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Set Your Alarms: Record Store Day

Don't forget that tomorrow is Record Store Day, and there are many awesome Pearl Jam goodies for which to hunt.  Also, if you live in Seattle or Kailua Village, Pearl Jam has announced a few free events that you'll want to attend (all times are local).

  • Brad in-store performance and signing at Easy Street Records (Queen Anne) at 4pm
  • Star Anna in-store performance and signing at Sonic Boom Records (Ballard) at 4pm
  • Po & the 4Fathers in-store performance and signing at Hungry Ear Records (Kailua Village, HI) at 2pm 
  • Lance Mercer Photo Exhibition with The Young Evils and Reignwolf at Easy Street Records (West Seattle) at 7:30pm
Here's a recap of the Pearl Jam related releases that will be available in record stores tomorrow:



Eddie Vedder (Monkeywrench)
“Love Boat Captain” / “Wishlist” (Live)
Live versions of two Pearl Jam favorites were recorded at The Orpheum in Minneapolis during Eddie Vedder's 2011 solo tour.



Brad (Razor & Tie)
“Water’s Deep” / “Pressure is On”
Brad is led by Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) and vocalist Shawn Smith (Satchel/Pigeonhead). This limited 7” features b-sides from Brad’s new album United We Stand, which will be released on April 24th.



Mike McCready & Star Anna (Monkeywrench/Local 638)
“Keep On” / “Call Your Girlfriend”
Mike McCready has been collaborating with Star Anna since meeting her at a benefit show in Seattle in early 2011.  The B-side is Star Anna’s acoustic cover of Robyn’s dance-pop hit.


Po & the 4Fathers (Bam Boom/Monkeywrench)
“Kingdom Come” / “Do Ya”
Boom Gaspar (organ/keyboard for Pearl Jam) joined a crew of Hawaiian music all-stars in 2010 to create a sound of modern day Maoli music.  Eddie Vedder contributes his vocals to “Kingdom Come” and Stone Gossard is featured on guitar on “Do Ya”.


Willie Nelson (Legacy)
"Just Breathe"
The special Record Store Day EP Just Breathe features the title track, a cover of the Pearl Jam song, as well as “Come On Back Jesus” (both on the upcoming Heroes album, scheduled for May 15) and “Can I Sleep In Your Arms” a previously unreleased NON-ALBUM track! 



McCready to Play National Anthem, May 4


Pearl Jam - 10/31/09 - Philadelphia
May 4th is CCFA Day at Safeco Field.  As is the tradition, Mike McCready will be playing the national anthem.  No bobble heads this year, but you can bid to throw out the first pitch.  Proceeds, obviously, benefit CCFA.   

Take yourself out to the ballgame!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

March-ish Madness: Round 2

It's time to vote on the next 16 matches in Red Mosquito's March-ish Madness.  I would usually fire up a few song-related puns, but I Got Shit.  Go vote!


17. All Those Yesterdays vs. Pilate
18. Go vs. Light Years
19. Army Reserve vs. Strangest Tribe
20. Unemployable vs. Tremor Christ
21. Mankind vs. Unthought Known
22. MFC vs. World Wide Suicide
23. I'm Open vs. All or None
24. Rival vs. Whipping
25. Come Back vs. W.M.A.
26. Thumbing my Way vs. Yellow Ledbetter
27. Who You Are vs. Elderly Woman...
28. Around the Bend vs. Undone
29. I Got Shit vs. Sometimes
30. Dissident vs. I Am Mine
31. God's Dice vs. Brain of J
32. In The Moonlight vs. Fatal

More 2012 Brad Shows Announced

We were pretty lax in getting the word out that you can catch Brad on an upcoming Jimmy Kimmel Live! show.  Here's the tweet from Shawn Smith.



But now, Brad has also announced three more shows.  If you live back East, now you'll have an opportunity to check them out as they tour in support of their new album, United We Stand.

  • World Cafe in Philadelphia, PA: Monday, May 21st, 2012
  • Red Palace in Washington DC: Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
  • Gramercy Theater in New York City, Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eddie Vedder Posters Available for a Limited Time

Need a little help staying excited about your Eddie Vedder solo show that is now a few months off?  How about a poster?


The Ten Club has 21 Eddie Vedder posters from past shows available to members in the Goods Section at $30 a pop, plus $9.50 domestic and $11 international shipping for a limited time.

Sustainable Touring

Check out this great video from Brand Channel where Stone explains how Pearl Jam partners with UPS to improve the sustainability of their tours.  It's essentially a commercial for UPS, but it's also an issues that's always important to Pearl Jam fans.


Above, watch how eco-minded Pearl Jam crafted a sustainable tour with a helping hand from UPS. The partnership, as described the words of the brand:
From stage diving to sustainability. Since their debut 20 years ago, Pearl Jam has evolved from an alternative rock band to a full-scale business. They recently partnered with UPS to devise a transportation strategy and offset the impact of their PJ20 Anniversary Destination Weekend. UPS employed a simple tactic: they used multiple forms of transportation, including rail, instead of semis to move the band's equipment. This helped Pearl Jam reduce a large portion of their carbon output during the PJ20 Destination Weekend. UPS offset the remaining 19 tonnes of carbon by investing in carbon reclamation efforts. The band was so impressed with the results, they're now talking and strategizing with UPS for further solutions to minimize and offset the impact of their tours on the planet.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pearl Jam to Play DeLuna Fest and ... Stay Tuned



In the wee hours of the evening, Pearl Jam made the announcement that they will be joining the Foo Fighters, Band of Horses, Ben Harper, and many more at the DeLuna Fest in Pensacola Beach, Florida.  The festival is Friday, September 21st through Sunday, September 23rd, but the details of Pearl Jam's exact performance date and time have not been released yet.


Tickets will only be available as 3-day passes and can be purchased from the DeLuna Fest website starting at 9am ET today!  If you're the "travel package" kind of fan, you can check those out at the CID Entertainment website.


And if this show isn't your cup of tea, just wait!  There is more to come!
As a head's up to Ten Club members -- we expect to make an additional concert announcement in the next week. Due to embargoes, we can't say much more just yet.

Download Live to Rise for Free


Soundgarden has made the full version of their new song, Live To Rise, available for free via iTunes.  Grab this limited release while you can.

Monday, April 16, 2012

March-ish Madness: The Big Bracket Begins Today

Love Reign O'er Me and Crazy Mary have dominated the Misc. Songs Bracket and stepped up to the big game today.  Today you can start voting on the first 16 matches in the Red Mosquito March-ish Madness Main Bracket.

Can Once get a Leash around In Hiding? Can Love Boat Captain score from Deep or will it be crying for Help Help?  Only you can make the call.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jeff *hearts* Public Radio Too

Pearl Jam Calgary, Canada 9-21-2011



Not to be outdone by bandmates, Stone and Eddie, Jeff Ament posted a public radio love letter in celebration of Public Radio Music Month.
Growing up in north central Montana in the mid-70s, I scavenged for any and all music scraps that I could get - befriending older kids and making mix tapes from their huge collections, recording songs off the TV from American Bandstand and Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert and scouring the radio waves for any kind of new music.


Today, I am lucky enough to have KEXP in my backyard, leading the way with broad strokes of new music from all over the world and putting on one of a kind live shows by the best new artists.


I start every day with tea, The Seattle Times and an hour of KEXP, KBGA, or KCRW. With local record stores disappearing daily, it’s more important than ever for DJs that we trust to introduce us to new music.


Rock and roll is dead, long live public radio!

RM March-ish Madness: Fight for the Big Bracket



Today there are four, soon there will be 128!  The Misc. Bracket is coming to an end.  Your votes will determine which two songs make it into the Main Bracket.  The real question isn't "Can Sunburn hold it's own against Love Reign O'er Me?" it's "Will March-ish Madness be finished before May?"


Love Reign O'er Me vs. Sunburn

and
Crazy Mary vs. Of the Earth

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stone & Ed Sign Letter of Thanks to NPR


Pearl Jam - 11.27.09 - Auckland

Eddie & Stone were two of 98 artists to sign a thank you letter to public radio in honor of Public Radio Music Month.

Dear public radio,
Thank you for taking chances. Thank you for playing our music even when - especially when - it doesn't sound like everything else on the radio dial. Thank you for inviting us into your studios and asking us intelligent questions. Thank you for introducing us to some of the most important music in our lives, music that made us who we are.


Thanks, public radio, for being who you are. Happy Public Radio Music Month.
Here at TheSkyIScrape.com, we thank WUNC!

Monday, April 9, 2012

March-ish Madness: Race to the Big Bracket!



With the speed of a Thunderclap, the Misc. Songs Bracket has now moved into the Quarter Finals.  Vote today to determine which songs will be playing for a chance to move up and play with the big songs.  Hits like Alive and Elderly Woman await these songs on the Otherside, so choose carefully.


57. Love Reign O'er Me vs. Let Me Sleep
58. Sunburn vs. Otherside

59. Hold On vs. Crazy Mary
60. Thunderclap vs. Of the Earth

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The 2012 Ten Club Gift

If you are a savvy Pearl Jam fan, you probably caught that the Ten Club changed the benefits of their Analog Membership.  Most benefits stay the same, but instead of the fan club t-shirt that we received last year, members get an "Annual MEMBERSHIP merchandise item."  That item began arriving this week for members who renewed in the first quarter.



A lot of fans were hoping for a new Vault release, but it looks like we're getting something more akin to the Vitalogy Health Club Starter Kit.  The gift includes a sheet of Ten Club themed stickers, a patch, and a mini poster.


4/8/12 EDIT: We found the full list of Analog Membership benefits on the Ten Club website.

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    Given to Cast, 4/6/2012

    The latest episode of Given to Cast is now available.



    Show Notes:
    The Week in Review
    Song of the Week - "Constellations" by Jack Johnson w/ Eddie Vedder
    Interview with a Fan - Leti from Houston (Wishlist Foundation fundraiser coordinator)
    Trivia Contest
    Covered - "Everyday People"

    Get Well Soon, Eddie!

    Pearl Jam - 5.3.10 - Kansas City


    The Ten Club has announced the postponement of Eddie Vedder's US Tour.  Formerly the dates were April and May, but they have been moved to October through December 2012.  The New Orleans Jazz Festival appearance will not be rescheduled.  Unfortunately, it looks like Ed hurt his back and is having some residual nerve problems in his hand.


    We'll keep Ed in our thoughts.  If you need information on new dates, refunds, and whatnot, you can visit the Ten Club's site for more info.

    More March-ish Madness


    Will an injury to Pearl Jam's star player give Whale Song the advantage or can Eddie Hold On?  Only your votes will tell.  Head to the forum and vote for the latest round of Pearl Jam songs in our tournament bracket!

    49. Drifting vs. Love Reign O'er Me
    50. Let Me Sleep vs. Brother
    51. Sunburn vs. Whale Song
    52. Otherside vs. Aye Davanita

    53. Hold On vs. Happy When I'm Crying
    54. Crazy Mary vs. Golden State
    55. Leaving Here vs. Thunderclap
    56. Of the Earth vs. Leatherman

    Just Breathe by Willie Nelson

    Wanna check out Willie Nelson's cover of Just Breathe from his upcoming album, Heroes?  You can hear it at Rolling Stone right now.



    Don't forget to look for the album May 15th or the 3-song EP available April 21st for Record Store Day.



    Happy Birthday, Mike McCready!

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    2013!?!? Ah man!

    Ah, c'mon, guys!  Waiting until 2013 for that tenth Pearl Jam album is going to kill us!



    Pearl Jam San Jose, Costa Rica 11-20-11



    Nonetheless, that's what Stone told Billboard this week.  Suck it up, gang!  It's gonna be a long wait.  Possibly, the longest wait between albums we've ever know (current winner: 3.5 years between Riot Act and Pearl Jam).

    Side Tracks: Soundgarden's Live to Rise and Brad's Deluxe Album

    How about some new Matt Cameron music?  No, it's not his solo work, but Soundgarden released their contribution to the compilation of music from and inspired by Avengers Assemble, Live to Rise.  You can listen to it here and talk more about it here.



    And speaking of side projects, Brad is now offering a deluxe digital version of their upcoming album, United We Stand, through iTunes.  It costs $11.99 and for that you get four videos (Thomas Jefferson Son, Peaceful Waters, Don't Cry, and Let It Breathe) and digital liner notes.


    Monday, April 2, 2012

    Eddie Vedder & Jack Johnson

    Eddie Vedder joined Jack Johnson on stage in Hawaii to perform Constellations with Jack Johnson. The performance will be included on Johnson's upcoming live album, Best of Kokua Festival.



    Jack Johnson spoke about his collaborations with Vedder to RollingStone.com:
    "Over the years the most rewarding part of the festival has been inviting musicians to join us onstage," says Johnson. "We’ve had some amazing collaborations, like when Eddie Vedder and Kawika Kahiapo came up for 'Constellations' and I got to hear Eddie singing over Kawika’s beautiful slack-key guitar playing. Those sit-ins are always my favorite moments, and a huge part of why I love playing music in general. I think it’s the best part of the night for the audience as well."
    It's not the first time Vedder and Johnson have teamed up on stage. Here they are collaborating on Soon Forget:

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

    RM March-ish Madness: Round 3



    It doesn't look like Barack Around the Clock is going to make it out of the Misc. Bracket, but Leatherman has a chance.  Evil Little Goat does too, but it has to get past Whale Song.  Only you can make it happen.  Vote here on the latest round of Red Mosquito March-ish Madness!


    33. Drifting vs. I've Got A Feeling
    34. Angel vs. Love Reign O'er Me
    35. Let Me Sleep vs. Untitled (I'm Still Here)
    36. Soon Forget vs. Brother

    37. Arc vs. Sunburn
    38. Whale Song vs. Evil Little Goat
    39. Other Side vs. Ole
    40. Bee Girl vs. Aye Davanita

    41. Hold On vs. Last Kiss
    42. Master/Slave vs. Happy When I'm Crying
    43. Dirty Frank vs. Crazy Mary
    44. Golden State vs. U

    45. Leaving Here vs. Out of My Mind
    46. Thunderclap vs. Wasted Reprise
    47. Falling Down vs. Of the Earth
    48. Foldback vs. Leatherman

    We'll Have Some Fun When the Clock Strikes One...


    Pearl Jam's strength as artists has always been their ability to tap into the unspoken thoughts of a generation (generations, really). Usually this is manifested in the empathy that colors and defines their music. Pearl Jam's best work is usually reactive--responding to events, not controlling. But not always. Occasionally their most powerful songs not only clarify, but define a person, a moment, even an era. When they are on top of their game Pearl Jam's music moves beyond giving voice to the voiceless and taps into something that moves beyond the primal and elemental into the ontological--something that gives shape to a reality we can sense but cannot see. It is their gift to history and to humanity. It is why, thousands of years from now, a moment like the PJ20 Alpine festival will be up there with the day Al Gore invented the internet, Guttenberg invented the printing press, Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, or some random caveperson invented fire and/or the wheel. One of those moments where you can watch the arc of history change course.





    Perhaps nowhere is this gift more on display than the truly sublime Rock Around Barack--the moment in their catalog that takes the defiance of Alive, the humanity of Betterman, the emancipation of Given to Fly, the grace of I Am Mine, the insight of Do the Evolution, the empathy of Insignificance, the wisdom of Amongst the Waves, and the literary grace of Inside Job--fusing them all into what may very well be not just the sum total of everything great about Pearl Jam, but something approximating the very platonic form of music itself. Lets break the song down.


    There is of course the nod to history, given the striking (albeit ultimately superficial) links to the Bill Haley anthem 'Rock around the Clock', as if the band is acknowledging its communal debt to the path breaking artists that made Pearl Jam possible while simultaneously transcending it. it reminds the present of its obligation to the past that shaped it and the future they will shape in turn, a heady theme the band has dabbled with before, most notably in their spellbinding cover of Black Diamond.


    The band is about as tight as they have ever been, with the dynamic, complex interplay between Stone and Mike making concrete just what was at stake in the 2008 election while the flawless work turned in by Jeff and Matt hypnotizes the listener, holding them still long enough for the guitars to open their minds--all of this is just a set up, a way to prime and prepare the listener for the transcendent solo Mike turns in around 40 seconds, that somehow manages, in the space of 20 seconds, to encompass both the brutal story of human history and the cathartic promise of justice and release. Move over Alive. This is MIke's defining moment.


    Of course it wouldn't be Pearl Jam without Eddie, and I have to credit both his restraint and choices. By adopting some of the vocal inflections typically used by Stone (he does a pretty badass stone interpretation) he makes the song about something greater than himself--making himself a vehicle for the message rather than the message itself. Plus there is a truly touching 'thank you' in the choice of sounding like Stone--a recognition of the debt that not just Eddie, but really all of us, friend and yes, even foe, of the band owe to Stone's vision. None of this would be possible without him.


    I'm not going to talk about the lyrics since I think I would just be repeating much of what I said earlier. Plus, the power and majesty of them is so profound that to write them down, to try and capture and confine them to a screen would both rob them of their spiritual force. I tried earlier and had to stop. It felt too much like rape. I will say this. I can say, without question and without hyperbole, that this song represents the pinnacle of the craft of song writing. This is the song that Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen--all the greats--dreamed, in those dark moments when they dared to imagine the impossible, that they might someday write. That Vedder achieved this without having to make some kind of Faustian bargain (that we know of), is as close as I've ever come to experiencing God as an immanent presence in our lives. I'm not embarrassed to say that I cried for probably close to two hours the first time I heard this. It was like knowing, really knowing, for the first time in your life, that everything was going to be okay.


    All this will be self evident to anyone who hears the song. But it does beg the question, why has the band kept this song hidden. Why not share it with everyone? At this point I can only speculate, but I treat this song like a promise of things to come. The band knows we are not ready for more than just a taste, but we're being primed for it. The day is coming, but until then Rock Around Barack has to be kept hidden. It's a secret weapon, a reminder that justice sleeps, but not forever.