It was 30 years ago today (August 27th, 1991) that Pearl Jam released its debut album, Ten, which peaked at Number Two on the Billboard 200, and has sold over 13 million copies in the U.S. alone. The album’s key tracks, “Alive,” “Even Flow,” and “Jeremy,” helped redefine rock radio — along with those by fellow Seattle bands Nirvana and Soundgarden — which laid waste to the dying days of hair metal and ushered in the grunge era.
At the time of Ten’s release, frontman Eddie Vedder spoke about the connection all the Seattle bands had to each other — both musically and personally: [“Probably a coincidence , too — there’s some really brilliant musical minds, too. Chris Cornell, the guy’s writing and the way — he writes music and lyrics and all these people, like I said, just coincidence. . . Y’know, somebody like Kurt (Cobain) from Nirvana.”] SOUNDCUE (:14 OC: . . . Kurt from Nirvana)
Bassist Jeff Ament told us that the Pearl Jam’s initial goals when they started out were decidedly modest: [“Y’know, I think we all thought, like, if we sold 50, 60,000 records, that would allow us to make a new record and, y’know, I think mostly we wanted to get out and play. Y’know, I think we wanted to be a touring band and we wanted to be better musicians and we wanted to be more powerful and tighter. And we knew in that process we’d be better songwriters, and so I think for us, y’know, at the time the focus was just to be a better band.”] SOUNDCUE (:22 OC: . . . a better band)
Guitarist Stone Gossard told us why he thinks Pearl Jam remains strong after 30 years together: [“I mean, I think we all really respect each other. We’ve been together long enough that we know how lucky we are to be in this position. So I think there’s a lot of gratitude in the band and a lot of like, when we show up together we’re like, ‘Wow, we have our own warehouse and we get to plug in our amps and we’re gonna write some new songs and somebody cares about it and, y’know, we’re gonna put a record out and we sold some tickets and . . . ‘ I mean, these things are not just things we take for granted, because we’re totally aware of how fortunate we are.”] SOUNDCUE (:25 OC: . . . fortunate we are)
Jeff Ament told us a while back that things like anniversaries and special editions are an interesting way to look at the past: [“It’s really good because I think that there’s so much going on at the time that you forget so many things. And when people start pulling out pictures and footage from things, it’s a trip to realize that large aspects of your life are fully documented (laughs).”] SOUNDCUE (:13 OC: . . . are fully documented)
- Pearl Jam came out of the ashes of Seattle group Mother Love Bone, following the death of that band’s singer Andrew Wood.
- Eddie Vedder was living in San Diego before joining the band and was recommended to them by former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons, who also played briefly with the Peppers.