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Pearl Jam emerged in 1990 in Seattle, staking their claim in the world of rock. They’ve continued to produce hit after hit since then – but that’s where the knowledge of most music fans stops.
If you’re curious about Pearl Jam and want to learn more about the iconic band, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive into 21 of the best Pearl Jam interesting facts you probably didn’t know about.
1. They Loathe Ticketmaster
First on our list of Pearl Jam facts is they have a grudge against Ticketmaster. In the 1990s, they had a famous boycott against the brand thanks to their monopoly on the ticket distribution network and high service fees.
2. They Have A Mini-Opera
Three songs on the Ten album – including one that was left off – come together to make a mini-opera. “Alive,” “Once,” and “Footsteps” tell the story of a troubled young man who grows up to become a serial killer and is eventually executed for his crimes.
3. They Have A Fan Club
Like many bands, Pearl Jam has a group that adores them, known as the “Ten Club” after their first album. If you’re a member, you get access to early merchandise and other benefits from the loyal band.
4. They Played ‘Themselves’ In A Movie
Band members Ament, Gossard, and Vedder played backup band members in Cameron Crowe’s 1992 film Singles. They were in a band in the movie called Citizen Dick, whose music was strangely that of the real-life band Pearl Jam.
5. They Released Trading Cards
Next on our list of Pearl Jam facts is that they released trading cards with the production of their album No Code. Each card in the pack represented a song on the album.
6. They Backed Neil Young and Got No Credit
In Neil Young’s 1995 album Mirror Ball, Pearl Jam was the backing band. However, due to legal reasons, they could not be officially named and instead received individual credits on the album’s sleeve.
7. Eddie Vedder Loved to Climb
Eddie Vedder had an infamous habit of climbing high onto objects like speaker stacks, lighting rigs, and more during concerts and then jumping on his crowd.
8. The Band is Full of Activists
Few bands have such a strong stance in the world of activism as Pearl Jam. Over the years, they’ve advocated and brought to life topics such as social justice, environmentalism, homelessness, and even the fight against Ticketmaster’s control of the music market.
9. Kurt Cobain Didn’t Like Them
Unfortunately, iconic singer Kurt Cobain of Nirvana revealed he wasn’t much of a fan of Pearl Jam. He was convinced that the band was doing exactly the same thing that Nirvana was rebelling against in their actions.
Related: How Did Kurt Cobain Die?
10. Eddie Vedder Had Tons of Jobs Before the Band
Eddie Vedder took on a multitude of jobs before he landed his gig in Pearl Jam. A few of his positions included being a waiter, a security guard for the La Valencia Hotel (where he was fired for playing guitar instead of doing security), and a station attendant.
11. They Recorded “Even Flow” More Than 70 Times
The song “Even Flow” was recorded more than 70 times, which wore on the band. Still, they report that the final product is far from perfect, so who knows if they will end up recording it again!
12. Their Lyrics are Open to Interpretation
Lyrical analysis is a big deal to Pearl Jam, and they like to leave things open to interpretation. In fact, some song lyrics are left intentionally with gaps to allow listeners to make their assumptions about the tunes.
13. “Alive” is Partially Autobiographical
One of Pearl Jam’s most well-known songs, “Alive,” is partially autobiographical. Eddie Vedder created the song after he found out his father was actually his stepfather and his biological dad had passed away without having met him.
14. Mike McCready Has Crohn’s Disease
Next on our list of Pearl Jam facts is about the health status of founder and guitarist Mike McCready. The legend lives with the debilitating auto-immune condition Crohn’s Disease.
15. They Love the Old School Format
Pearl Jam has always been a fan of the old-school format of producing music. For instance, Pearl Jam chose to release their albums of the 90s on vinyl even though most bands of the time had their music being sold on cassette and CD.
16. The Band was Originally Named After a Basketball Player
The original first name of Pearl Jam wasn’t what it is today – it was named after a basketball player. They were first called Mookie Blaylock after the player of the same name, though it eventually changed when they officially signed with Epic Records.
17. They Once Refused to Film Music Videos
Next on our list of Pearl Jam interesting facts is that the band refused to create music videos for a brief period in the 1990s. They were taking a stand against the commercialization of their music and thus decided they wanted fans to focus on the music, not the imagery which music videos are known for.
18. They Wrote an Album Just so They Could Tour
At the beginning of their career, Pearl Jam knew they needed to get on the road to provide exposure for their band. They partially created the album Ten just for the purpose of playing it live, which ended up working out for them.
19. They Experienced Tragedy in Europe
Next on our list of Pearl Jam facts is the tragedy of June 30, 2000, when nine fans were crushed to death during a fan surge at a Denmark concert. Pearl Jam stopped the show as a result and resolved not to return to Europe for a while.
20. They’ve Had Five Drummers
Pearl Jam has gone through several drummers. They started with Dave Krusen, moved to Matt Chamberlain, and finally landed on Dave Abbruzzese – only to swap drummers two more later in the band’s career. Guess you could say they aren’t known for their drummer!
21. They Wrote a Song in 30 Minutes
Last on our list of Pearl Jam interesting facts is that they wrote the song “Elderly Woman” in 30 minutes. It’s a hidden gem and came to life quickly. Many artists can only aspire to this level of speed!
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