Home ] Up ] January ] February ] March ] April ] May ] June ] July ] [ August ] September ] October ] November ] December ]

 

 

August 1991

 

Pearl Jamīs first single 'Alive'                    On August 2nd, Pearl Jam released 'Alive' as their first single of the then unreleased album "TEN". The artwork that Jeff created for the 'Alive' EP almost didn't make the cut with Epic. They said that the stick figure "just doesn't fit the vibe of the band". 

                    "I love that. Somebody who's listened to our fucking tape three times is telling me what the vibe of our band is. They wanted to change it, and they had all these different ideas for it. I just donīt think theyīre used to having bands come in and say, This is how we do things", Jeff Ament.

                    "I saw the drawing, this symbol of everything that I feel right now. I didn't want to take out my book and write, 'Wow, I feel great, I feel alive, I feel totally secure.' I wanted to remember that second of my life for the rest of my life", Dave Abruzzesse (sports a tattoo that was taken from a drawing by Jeff that graced the cover of the 'Alive' EP.

                    "Which not a lot of people thought was a great single when we released it ... "Alive" ... I don't think that the record company thought it was a slam-dunk. They went, "Oh! This seems like the best one so far." I think there was a lot of confusion about that. That just shows that when you go with your gut instincts, at least you're making your own mistakes or you're doing your own thing", Stone Gossard.

 

                    Dave Abruzzesse arrived in Seattle on August 3th and took a cab to RKCNDY, where the video for "Alive" was scheduled to be shot that evening. Josh Taft a longtime friend of Stone directed the video. 

                    "You see so many videos where it's obvious that they aren't playing their instruments; you hear all these background vocals, and pianos and cellos and that sort of stuff. I think more than anything, we just wanted to strip the song bare. We already had the show set up, so it was kind of like, let's shoot this video at the show and make it seem as little like a video shoot as possible", Jeff Ament

                    "We told them, we're gonna film a live video, and they said, great, then we said it's gonna be recorded live, too, and they said recorded live? it has to be the record or MTV won't play it", Eddie Vedder.

                    "Yeah, that was the 'Alive' video. They wanted a decision from me - Are you gonna join, or are you not gonna join? - And I was like, well Iīm not really in a position right now to be a good band member. Iīm just not into the idea at all. So they were like - Oh, do you have any reccomendations for a drummer? - They needed somebody, cause I guess they were going on a supertour after that, just tour their asses off. And so I reccomended Dave Abruzzesse. He actually came up for the video and was there in the audience. I introduced him to everybody and the next day I took off and he stayed there. So he basically just hung out and jammed a bit, just to see if it would vibrate", Matt Chamberlain.

                    "I was in Texas, jamming with my friends Darrell Phillips and Pat Hooker in a band called Dr. Tongue. It was kind of a funky thing, and we were just having fun. One day I got a call from Matt Chamberlain, who got hooked up with Pearl Jam after the band and Dave Kruzen split. Matt went out with them as kind of a hired gun at this showcase gig they were going. It was a three-week gig, and then he got an offer to play with G.E. Smith's band on Saturday Night Live. But before he left, he was looking for somebody to take his pace, so he called me to ask what I thought about it. We had known each other from the Dallas music scene. There was this engineer who'd call me to do a job if Matt couldn't, and we used to go out and see each other play now and then. From what Matt talk me about this band, it seemed totally different from where I came from musically. I'd never heard Soundgarden or Mother Love Bone -- or even knew anything about Seattle music. Where I came from was older music like Zeppelin and Sly & The Family Stone -- stuff like that -- all the way up to the Peppers. I was in more of a funky place, but my days were spent pretty much just hanging out with my buddies and playing music, not spending much time listening to new music. Anyway, it was a Friday that he called, and on Sunday night, I went to the little radio station where I worked and there they were -- Mother Love Bone and Pearl Jam's little sampler, with "Wash" and "Alive" and that Beatles song on it. I played some of it on the air and thought it was pretty cool. But Matt didn't call me back for a while, so I just figured it wasn't happening. But a week later, he hooked me up with the band's manager. Jeff and Eddie were at their manager's office in Seattle, and I talked to them on the phone about the music and everything. So I flew up there on a Saturday and they did a show in Seattle where they filmed the "Alive" video, and that was my first experience with them. I met the guys an hour or two before the gig and saw them play the show and thought it was cool. Then on a Monday, we got together and jammed, and that was actually the first time I ever played a Drum Workshop kit, which was Matt's. We jammed jammed for a few and it just worked out from there. They asked me how quick I could go back, get my gear, and come back up. So I flew back to Texas, packed my stuff, patted my cat on the head, kissed my girlfriend goodbye, hopped in the truck, and drove to Seattle. We went on tour right after that", Dave Abruzzesse.

                    "All I ever thought about was playing music, so it didn't really catch me off guard. I just said screw it and went for it. The hard parts were being indefinite with my band back in Texas, with I was still really happy with at the time. I told them I was going to just leave and do this thing and I didn't know when we'd jam together, but hopefully it would happen again. I still say that every time we talk. I miss jamming with them, for sure, because they're just great friends. But I didn't even really thing about what I was getting into", Dave Abruzzesse.

                    "Pearl Jam had a record contract, but all that means is guaranteed debt. And they had a record I thought was cool, but that didn't guarantee and kind of success, either. I joined the band because I was into it, I enjoyed the music, and I was into the thought of where it could end up", Dave Abruzzesse.

                    "Dave has added a whole new dimension to the group, and we've gotten a hell of a lot better and tighter. We were green when we make Ten; aside from Jeff and Stone, nobody else had really done a record before", Mike McCready.

 

08/03/91 - RKCNDY: Seattle, WA

Opening: Sweetwater

 

                    Taft's video for "Alive" captured the energy Pearl Jam had wanted it to, and while the live version of the song might have been as Jeff put it "inferior" at least it was honest. The version of Alive is also included on the TEN Japanese import.

                    "Initially, it was a problem in terms of talking the record company into taking it seriously, that people didn't think we could pull it off made us want to do it even more We felt we could do a better version of it. Sonically, it's an inferior version of the song. But it's live", Jeff Ament.

                    "It's not the greatest video in the world, but it's live, and I can sleep at night because I feel like it's totally representative", Eddie Vedder.  

                    "When I worked for a recording studio I did quite a bit of audio for video, anything from music video to Boeing presentations. I was involved in the Alive video shoot, having recorded and mixed the audio for that video. I also worked on a couple of the live music sequences in the movie Singles, and many other audio for video projects. These experiences made the planning of the audio and video sync pretty simple. There are rules to follow, and as long as you know the rules and stick to them it is not a difficult process", Brett Eliason (Pearl Jam Sound engineer).

                    "The first thing I remember of Pearl Jam was hearing "Alive" on the radio while I was living in Seattle. I pictured Mountain or some serious '70s throwback. The music just seemed like classic rock to me, so I pictured the singer being some husky, fuckin' bearded, leather-jacketed Tad type, big and fat and tortured and scary", Dave Grohl (Nirvana).

                     "We'd just played this amazing show, and it was real. Then to go into this, like, disco with Pearl Jam posters everywhere and people shaking your hand -- 'Hey, this is Barney; every time you see your record, Barney put it there.' That lasted for hours. I had friends who were laughing at me from the corner, and I was like 'Dude, fuck you, this isn't funny.' To me, it wasn't funny. It wasn't what the music was about. That was unlike anything I've ever experienced in my life, and I never want to experience it again", Eddie Vedder nearly lost it at the band's record-release party on August 19th at the RKCNDY in Seattle.

 

 

Pearl Jam's CD Release party - Jeff and Mike with Kathy Faulkner from KISW Radio 08/19/91 - RKCNDY: Seattle, WA

 

                    On August 21th, Pearl Jam did an acoustic version of Porch (only Eddie and Stone) at the KISW Radio Station in Seattle, WA.

 

08/21/91 - KISW: Seattle, WA

 

 

                    Chamberlain was at a crossroads; he'd also had an offer to join Saturday Night Live's studio band. After just a few weeks with Pearl Jam, he decided to go with G.E. Smith. In his stead, he offered Dave Abbruzzese, an old friend from Dallas whose last band had been the immortally-titled Dr. Tongue. Abbruzzese arrived again in Seattle four days before Pearl Jam played Seattle's Mural Amphitheatre on August 23th. This free, outdoor show was also Dave Abbruzzese's first concert drumming with PJ, and the last show of the summer '91 Sounds of Seattle concert series. Not many in the Northwest had heard of Pearl Jam. But there was a local buzz on the band, which featured two former members of Seattle bands Green River and Mother Love Bone and a singing surfer from San Diego. It was enough to swell the crowd to more than 4,000 for the band's first outdoor show. Dave was the perfect final addition to Pearl Jam. With no further changes, Pearl Jam headed out on tour to promote the release of "Ten".  

                    "Well, right from the start the other guys said I was free to put my own personality into thing, because that was one of the first questions I had. But from what I understand, without ever knowing Dave myself, I gathered that he wasn't a very motivating factor in the band. And I'd like to think I put the music in a different place. The thing is, the other guys are such great players and songwriters, there wasn't a lot of pressure on me to be anything but myself. I trusted these guys a lot. I wanted Stone to tell me what groove he had in his head when he wrote a song. I want to know that because then I can take his ideas and his feel and embellish on that. That just puts me closer to where he was coming from with the song, instead of just going with my own ideas, which might be a totally different direction then what Stone had in mind", Dave Abruzzesse.

                    "We had a list of rules we gave all the bands. One of the rules was, 'Please don't climb on the p.a. system.' Because we didn't have any way to shore them up. And those things could have come crashing down. I just remember when he started climbing up there, our crew ran over and formed a human safety net. There were five crew guys waiting for him to fall off one side, because the speakers were wobbling left to right. He was just surfing on them. And there were four or five guys waiting to catch the speaker cabinets, which weigh a ton. But magically nothing happened.", Jeff Gilbert, who booked the outdoor show as part of an annual concert series dubbed "A Pain in the Grass".

                    "In that single performance at Seattle Center [Mural Amphitheater], you saw everything that was going to make them great,it was probably as pure and honest a performance as I've seen from a Seattle band. There were no expectations. They didn't have to prove anything. They just came out and did it", Jeff Gilbert (current Guitar World Magazine Editor).

                    "It was terrible [laughs]. I remember suffering through that show thinking, 'God, that sucked. I wish we were better. I was pretty self-absorbed, so I probably didn't play that well. But maybe nobody cared. I was probably buried in the mix", Stone Gossard (about the Mural Amphitheater performance on August 23th).

 

 

08/23/91 - Mural Amphitheater: Seattle, WA

Attendance: 4,000

Setlist: Once, State of Love and Trust, Even Flow, (Outshined)/Garden, Alive, Black, Deep, Why Go, Porch, Breath


Pearl Jamīs debut album 'TEN'

                     On August 27th, Pearl Jam's debut album 'TEN' was released. No one could have predicted at the time that "Ten," recorded at Seattle's London Bridge Studios with producer Rick Parashar, would become one of the top-selling albums a few months later, turning Pearl Jam into an international phenomenon. By the late '90s, "Ten" had sold more than 11 million copies. Seattle local Lance Mercer, who would become Pearl Jam's primary photographer, was the lensman Jeff chose to shoot the band in the all-for-one, one-for-all (E pluribus Unum) pose that was used on the 'TEN' cover. Two days later Pearl Jam played a show at the RKCNDY in Seattle with Eddie climbing the scaffolding and then falling into the crowd. On 'Alive' Mike played the end atop Eddie's shoulders.

                    "I think we all felt pretty good about the record. But we didn't feel like it was the end-all recording, by any means. And I think we kind of felt like, wow, we set the (record) deal up the way we wanted, people seem to be into hearing us play, and at that point Mother Love Bone was helping us get some attention. So we were feeling positive", Stone Gossard.

                    "We used to be loud. I mean, we're still loud, we're just not as noisy. We're still a Seattle band making the music we've always made, even though we don't sound like we used to. I'd like to think that this is the next phase", Stone Gossard.

                    "I think Ten was a good record. People got a lot out of it, and I enjoyed playing the songs live with the band. But to me, being on stage and playing those songs didn't have anything to do with the record. I had no idea about the emotions that went into it or where that music came from. I had to find where the music fit into my heart before I could put everything I had into it", Dave Abruzzesse.

                    "I went in and said, This is the album cover, and this is how much money I need to do it. And they all just sat there with their mouths open. They didnīt know how to respond. Theyīre sitting there with all these photographer's books showing me photographers that could shoot the album cover, and I was like, I already have somebody", Jeff Ament.

                    "'Ten' didn't explode overnight like Nirvana's 'Nevermind'. It was a slow, steady, solid wave, if you will. And it shows when people are passionate about music, they tell their friends and those friends tell two more friends. And watching it grow was contagious", Kathy Faulkner (Former KISW music director).

 

     

08/29/91 - RKCNDY: Seattle, WA

Opening: Molasses (with drummer Regan Hagar), Bathtub Gin, The Odds, Hungry Crocodiles, Ramadillo, and Best Kissers in the World

Setlist: Once, Even Flow, State of Love and Trust, Alive, Jeremy, Why Go, Porch

 

 


photo