‘New’ Pre-Pearl Jam Eddie Vedder Demos Discovered – Download CD Free

Young Eddie Vedder

Young Eddie Vedder

THANKS for the gift Eddie!

“What do you want, something profound in every verse?” asks Eddie Vedder in this newly surfaced, 1989 demo from before the days of Pearl Jam.

The song in question is “I’m Alive,” which is an altogether different beast than the mega-hit the band would surface with in 1991.

“I like to drink beer, I like to make love, I like to jam!, I like to read Bukowski buck naked,” goes one memorable line.

The tape also contains Vedder originals like “Homeless” and “Crossroads” penned for his old band, Bad Radio, and a brief cover of Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World.”

And is it just us, or is Vedder’s attempt at singing Kenny Rogers’ “Something Inside So Strong” to a karaoke machine really freakin’ beautiful?

The whole demo is fascinating. And… know what’s cooler than streaming? Having the songs for yourself. Download the Vedder demos.  Antiquiet loves you.

From 1988 to 1989, future Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder recorded a few four-song demo tapes that are fairly well-known among the hardcore fans. The earliest tapes were solo recordings, and the latter ones came out of recording sessions with his pre-PJ San Diego band Bad Radio. These recordings have made their way online over the years, as some of the old cheap tapes that Vedder would buy in bulk made it into the hands of collectors with the tools to digitize them.

In addition to a group of originals (which included a very early version of Betterman), the tapes in circulation also included a somber cover of Bruce Springsteen’s One Step Up, an early indicator of Vedder’s fondness for The Boss.

It’s been a long time since anything “new” has surfaced, but Antiquiet recently came into possession of a direct copy of a tape that Eddie dubbed for a co-worker at his old job at San Diego Petroleum, somewhere in range of late 1989 or early 1990. On it we found thirteen tracks, including a couple entirely “new” recordings (to the PJ fanbase at least), a few familiar ones, and most substantially, far more listenable dubs of both 1989 Bad Radio demos.

In addition to cleaner-sounding recordings than anything we’ve heard before, other gems on the tape worth mentioning are a falsetto-laden karaoke-machine cover of Something Inside So Strong, a track made famous by Kenny Rogers, as well as a brief, lighthearted cover of Sam Cooke’s Wonderful World. Fans seeing I’m Alive on the tracklist shouldn’t confuse the boisterous and rather comical track with Pearl Jam’s signature single Alive, as this particular song takes issue with rap music and profound lyrical expectations rather than an Oedipal tale of a fatherless child.

Tracklist

1. Homeless (acoustic)
2. Crossroad
3. Something Inside So Strong
4. What A Wonderful World
5. Chris’ Message
6. Homeless
7. What The Funk
8. Believe You Me
9. I’m Alive

A Conversation with Pearl Jam’s Warriors

Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam

 

In the heart of Pearl Jam’s Seattle HQ, Eddie Vedder contemplated what it felt like to be one of the two people who were, to the wider public, the faces of grunge. The other was Kurt Cobain, whose band Nirvana have been written into the rock canon, selling 10m copies in the US of their second album, Nevermind, released in September 1991. A month or so earlier, Pearl Jam had released their debut, Ten. It’s sold over 13m in the United States. Such success would exact its price from both men.

When Pearl Jam became successful, Vedder’s first response was to open himself up. He’d write back when fans sent letters about his lyrics, questioning him about depression and alienation. But the letters turned into an avalanche. Then fans started coming to his house. A girl who believed Vedder was Jesus and had fathered her two sons by raping her almost killed herself by ramming her car into the wall of his house.

“One of the reasons you’re protecting yourself is because you’ve been forthcoming with your emotions,” he says. “So you have to build a wall. But people are driving into the wall. That’s what fucks with your head. I felt like my brain was a whore and I was getting mindfucked.”

Like Cobain, Vedder was being torn into two directions. He was grateful for Pearl Jam’s success, for the way it had changed his life. But he didn’t want all his life to change. Vedder was not one of the “industry kids who they groom on the fucking Disney channel and who do what they are told”. He wasn’t prepared to be America’s in-demand rock star – it was like “being strapped to a rocket ship. But some of us weren’t built for speed.” He hated that he had lost control of his own identity, his face cropping up on billboards and magazines, crowding him. At the 1992 Roskilde festival in Denmark, he found himself attacking bouncers (who were attacking a fan); he’d forgotten he wasn’t in the crowd any more. Cobain, similarly alienated, retreated into heroin and killed himself. Vedder retreated into himself. He says Gus van Sant’s 2005 film Last Days – a fictionalised account of Cobain’s end – nails “that weird malaise, that feeling of almost looking at your life from outside. ‘Is this us? Is this me?’

“I was almost overwhelmed by it all,” he says. “I had this house – not a giant house, but three or four nice rooms, and a jukebox. And it had this laundry room, and I would sit in there with an ashtray that I trusted. It was like the world couldn’t get me in the laundry room.”

More than two decades later – and more than 20 years since “grunge” was coined to describe the metal-punk hybrid of the Pacific northwest – Vedder was in Pearl Jam’s vast HQ, home to everything from their rehearsal space to fan club to guitarist Stone Gossard’s rescue dog. There, hidden away on an industrial estate, they clocked in and out of their shifts, a return to normality which enabled them to survive.

“Every third person was shooting heroin,” says Gossard, remembering Seattle when Pearl Jam first started. “It was the thing to do.” But Pearl Jam’s drug use was “done early”. Guitarist Mike McCready says they were more likely to be killed by drink driving. “Or you’d hook up with a group of people you’ve never met before at a club. Then all of a sudden, you’re with a bunch of guys that want to stab you.”

But most of the career pitfalls were faced by Vedder, whose fondness for “tomb-stoning” off cliffs into the sea led the Red Hot Chili Peppers to call him “Crazy Eddie.” Later, he took that death-or-glory approach into his band. “We’d be playing gigs and he’d climb up girders,” says McCready. “He’d be gone a long time. And we’d be like, ‘If he falls, he’s gonna die.'”

Vedder is complex. He is often perceived as a rock version of the worthy do-gooder – not a Bono, but certainly at the earnest end of things. But bassist Jeff Ament insists he’s “fucking hysterical”. And he has a prickly quality to him, although it’s hard to know how much is interview performance. Within seconds of our meeting, he explains that he relaxes by throwing axes. “I’ve never been a calm, midrange type person,” he says.

So what enabled him to survive when Cobain didn’t? Vedder thinks his “inbuilt survival instinct” might have been the difference.”We had different things driving us, but we were parallel trains,” he says. “You look at it objectively and you think, ‘What could be so fucking hard about being in a band?’ But if you’re coming from a place that’s real, it’s much harder.”

Although Nirvana took grunge mainstream, Pearl Jam’s Gossard and Ament had been among its pioneers. They were founder members of arguably the first grunge band, Green River, which came together in 1984. When Green River broke up, the pair furthered an unfashionable interest in classic rock with their new band, Mother Love Bone, honing the rock-meets-punk formula that propelled Pearl Jam. When MLB singer Andrew Woods died after a heroin overdose in March 1990, a few weeks before their debut album was scheduled for release, that band’s career was ended. Gossard was devastated, and started writing material that fitted his mood. After a few months, he called his old schoolmate McCready – a struggling local guitarist who had given up on music – to come and play. Ament joined them, and a new group was born: Mookie Blaylock, named after a basketball player. Mookie Blaylock signed to Epic, but worries that they might be infringing the sportsman’s copyright led to a name change to Pearl Jam.

“I was on acid,” remembers McCready of the day he heard about Woods’s demise. “It was a fucking weird day! If that hadn’t have happened I wouldn’t be sitting here.” In fact, the early days of the band owed everything to chance. One was sending a tape to ex-Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons in the hope he might join them. Instead Irons passed the tape to Vedder, a basketball buddy who sometimes sung in a San Diego band. Vedder mailed the tape back to Seattle, lyrics added which told stories about a man who discovers his father isn’t his real father and embarks on an Oedipal murderous rampage.

The band thought they were funny. They didn’t realise they were partly true. When he was 12, Vedder found out the man he thought of as his dad was actually his stepfather. His real father was someone who Vedder had known as a family friend, but who had died of multiple sclerosis. Still, Vedder says, he felt a sense of “adolescent disturbance”, but compares his lyrics to the writing of Virginia Woolf or Edward Albee, saying that laughing at things that are “absolutely brutal” is part of coping. He turned his anger into, he says, into “positive energy” – the opposite of Nirvana’s nihilism.

Pearl Jam’s other members have their own theories as to why their band survived. Luck is mentioned often. Drummer Matt Cameron (who played on the first Pearl Jam demo, but only became a band member in 1998) says he was amazed to find, after joining from Soundgarden, that the band held meetings – talking problems through was anathema to his former band, who were “eaten up by the business”.

But all agree that Vedder’s decision to pull back from megastardom was crucial. His wasn’t just a panicked reaction to incidents like the girl in the car, but also the result of pragmatic thinking. As other bands toppled around them, Vedder realised that carrying on as they had been doing would kill the group. Scaling down, and setting their sights a bit lower could mean survival even if it meant what even the band thought were “unpopular decisions.”

“We’d gone from opening up for a hundred people at the Central Tavern to fielding phone calls saying, ‘Keith Richards wants to play with you,'” says Ament. “The kid in you thinks, ‘How can we say no?'” But after Vedder’s persistence, they did say no – to videos, to heavy promotion, to constant touring – before their second album was released. After making increasingly wilful records, they even dispensed with record companies, too. (Their single The Fixer is released on their own label in the US, as will be their new album, though both are licensed to Island in the UK).

It must be said that what Rolling Stone magazine described as Pearl Jam “destroying every aspect of their success” has hardly left them penniless. Though they have had mis-steps as well as triumphs , they’re still filling arenas and headlining festivals. With The Fixer getting more attention from radio than anything they’ve done for years, they’re even on the fringes of fashionability.

They feel “empowered” to operate outside the system – like the hardcore punk bands and indie labels they followed as kids – though it’s not so punishing to do that when you’ve already sold 60m albums. As Vedder says: “Bands like [DIY punk stalwarts] Fugazi make us look like Mariah Carey.”

Nevertheless, it’s just part of a long tradition the band have of kicking against the music industry. Ament describes their most confrontational decision – to take on the powerful ticket agent Ticketmaster in 1994 over concert prices – as “career suicide”. They cancelled their summer 1994 tour rather than allow Ticketmaster to set prices they did not approve. Because of Ticketmaster’s close links with the US arenas, Pearl Jam were persona non grata at many major venues, and put on their own shows.

“We’d be ­ playing parks and racetracks,” Ament says. “And somebody would be yelling, ‘The fence is down a mile in the east corner!’ and we’d have one guy trying to fix it. It was absolutely stupid.” The band gave evidence to a congressional hearing on ticket prices, and when nothing came of it, they launched their own lawsuit against Ticketmaster. Ament says it felt like they’d taken on “the whole of corporate America”. They lost, were working with Ticketmaster again within four years, and Vedder admits things are even more corporate now. But he thinks Pearl Jam’s willingness to take stands that damage themselves means “people trust us. They get the feeling this means something”.

Pearl Jam do not take their role lightly. When nine people died in a stage crush during their set at Roskilde in 2000, they retired from festivals for six years. The incident makes for difficult conversation. “When we stopped the show, there were people down,” says Cameron. “Within a minute, bodies were being passed over the barricades.” Ament can’t comprehend how a rock concert became a “disaster”. Vedder can’t talk about it at all. “I’d never make it,” he says, softly.

These days, Eddie pours his anger into political campaigning. He insists that unlike the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam didn’t lose fans after criticising the Bush administration, though they “didn’t win any either”. He’s still furious about the last presidency. “Those fucking bastards, they put us in this situation and screw up the whole fucking planet and goodwill with every other nation, and they are not going to be held criminally responsible.”

Above him in the HQ there’s a portrait of Obama. Vedder concedes that things are changing, but there’s so much that hasn’t: “People on death row, the treatment of animals, women’s right to choose. So much in America is based on religious fundamentalist Christianity. Grow up! This is the modern world!”

He sounds more like an angry kid than a middle-aged man. The new album, Backspacer, is a return to Ten’s worldbeating rock sound – but maybe Pearl Jam will follow it with an album of Crass covers. The band are only “halfway through” their career, Vedder says, and perhaps these grunge warriors wouldn’t know what to do if there was no more fighting. When I ask Vedder what he’d do if Pearl Jam ended tomorrow his reply is dramatic, pragmatic and defiant.

“I’d take my guitar with me.”

Pearl Jam on Tour – 2013

PEARL JAM – SOUTH AMERICA 2013

03.31.2013
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Jockey Club de Sao Paulo
Lollapalooza Brazil

04.03.2013
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Constanera Sur
El Festival Mas Grande

04.06.2013
Santiago, Chile Parque O’higgins
Lollapalooza Chile

The Untold Story Of A Great American Band: Pearl Jam Twenty (12 videos)

pearl-jam

“A testimonial to the power of music and uncompromising artists, the film celebrates the freedom that allows Pearl Jam to make music without losing themselves, their fans, or the music lovers they’ve always been.’

 

Pearl Jam Twenty – By PBS American Masters

Told in big themes and bold colors with blistering sound, Pearl Jam Twenty chronicles the years leading up to the band’s formation, the chaos that ensued soon-after being catapulted into superstardom, their step back from the spotlight with the instinct of self-preservation, and the creation of a trusted circle that would surround them — giving way to a work culture that would sustain them. Part concert film, part insider hang, part testimonial to the power of music and uncompromising artists, the film celebrates the freedom that allows Pearl Jam to make music without losing themselves, their fans, or the music lovers they’ve always been. Pearl Jam Twenty features new interviews with original band members Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, and Eddie Vedder, drummer Matt Cameron, and friend and Soundgarden singer/guitarist Chris Cornell, as well as archival performance and interview footage of Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog, Kurt Cobain, and Neil Young.

Complex and relevant after two decades, Pearl Jam remains a giant musical force and one of the biggest and most magnetic touring acts in the world. With over 60 million albums sold worldwide, they continue to create and perform all on their own terms. Known for their passionate expression, intense and philosophical lyrics, and amazing relationship with fans, Pearl Jam is not known for their media or personal exposure, making the revelations in Pearl Jam Twenty all the more special.

“When I set out to make this film, my mission was to assemble the best-of-the-best from Pearl Jam’s past and present and give audiences a visceral feeling of what it is to love music and to feel it deeply — to be inside the journey of a band that has carved their own path,” says Cameron Crowe. “There is only one band of their generation for which a film like this could even be made, and I’m honored to be the one given the opportunity to make it.”

Crowe was among the band’s inner circle when they formed and has maintained a close friendship with the band since his days as a reporter for Rolling Stone in Seattle. Almost 20 years after the band’s inception, Eddie, Jeff, Stone, and Mike gave their longtime friend the okay to raid the vault and assemble the story no one but those closest to them ever knew. Audiences will become intimate with the Seattle musicians whose sound and social consciousness were revolutionary — Pearl Jam stood up to both the prevailing social politic and the oppressive music industry.

“We are delighted to be presenting Pearl Jam’s 20th on American Masters’ 25th — a truly perfect anniversary celebration. We continue the tradition of matching world-class filmmakers with subjects like this band, who revolutionized our culture with their music and their exemplary social consciousness,” says Susan Lacy, series creator and executive producer of American Masters, a seven-time winner of the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Primetime Non-Fiction Series. The series is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET New York Public Media. WNET is the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York’s public television stations. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local documentary and other programs to the New York community.

As part of their year-long “PJ20” celebration, Pearl Jam will release the Pearl Jam Twenty soundtrack and book in September. The soundtrack from Columbia Records/Sony Music is comprised of tracks selected by Cameron Crowe, making the album a true companion piece to the film. Published by Simon & Schuster in the U.S. and Atlantic Books in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, the book is an aesthetically stunning chronicle of Pearl Jam’s past two decades, compiled and written by veteran music writer Jonathan Cohen with Mark Wilkerson, and featuring a foreword by Cameron Crowe and material from all his own band interviews. Also this September: Pearl Jam’s Alpine Valley Labor Day anniversary weekend concert and 10-date Canadian tour, followed by the film’s theatrical release. The DVD will be available in October after the PBS broadcast premiere.

Pearl Jam Twenty is produced by Vinyl Films in association with Tremolo Productions for Monkeywrench Films and in association with THIRTEEN’s American Masters for WNET. Susan Lacy is the series creator and executive producer of American Masters.

American Masters is made possible by the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding for American Masters is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Jack Rudin, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, and public television viewers. This PBS Arts Fall Festival presentation is in collaboration with PBS member station KCTS. Funding for the launch of PBS Arts has been provided by Anne Ray Charitable Trust, public television viewers and PBS.

Pearl Jam 20 – Part 1/12

Pearl Jam 20 – Part 2/12

Pearl Jam 20 – Part 3/12

Pearl Jam 20 – Part 4/12

Pearl Jam 20 – Part 5/12

Pearl Jam 20 – Part 6/12

Pearl Jam 20 – Part 7/12

Pearl Jam 20 – Part 8/12

Pearl Jam 20 – Part 9/12

Pearl Jam 20 – Part 10/12

Pearl Jam 20 – Part 11/12

Pearl Jam 20 – Part 12/12

Related posts:

PBS American Masters: Pearl Jam 20 – Documentary Film

Pearl Jam’s Concert @ Madison Square Garden, NYC

Pearl Jam: The Band in Pictures

PBS’ American Masters: Pearl Jam 20 – Documentary Film

Stage Diving - The band discusses Eddie Wedder's penchant for stage diving.

Stage Diving – The band discusses Eddie Wedder’s penchant for stage diving.

Pearl Jam Twenty
About the Documentary Film

American Masters continued its 25th anniversary season with Pearl Jam Twenty, which premiered nationally Friday, October 21 at 9 p.m. on PBS. Academy Award®-winning director and music journalist Cameron Crowe creates a definitive portrait of the seminal band carved from over 1,200 hours of rarely and never-before-seen footage, plus over 24 hours of recent band interviews and concert footage. The captivating, two-hour documentary gives viewers and fans an intimate first glimpse into Pearl Jam’s journey in honor of the band’s 20th anniversary. American Masters Pearl Jam Twenty is part of the first PBS Arts Fall Festival, a multi-platform event anchored by nine films that highlight artists and performances from around the country.

Inside This Episode

About the Documentary Film

Cameron Crowe: A Love Letter to Pearl Jam

Preview Clip: Eddie Vedder’s Epic Stage Dives

Preview Clip: Chris Cornell on Temple of the Dog

Preview Clip: Writing “Release”

Preview Clip: Come Together

Interview with Pearl Jam and Director Cameron Crowe

Music Video: “Do The Evolution”

Pearl Jam Fandom: A Statistical Analysis

Clip: Guitarist Mike McCready

Clip: Eddie Vedder Smashes the Stage

Clip: Pearl Jam’s Name Change

Clip: Writing “Daughter” on Tour

Related posts:

The Untold Story of A Great American Band: Pearl Jam Twenty

Pearl Jam’s Concert @ Madison Square Garden, NYC

Pearl Jam: The Band in Pictures

Pearl Jam’s Concert @ Madison Square Garden, NYC

Pearl Jam's concert @ Madison Square Garden - 2010

Pearl Jam’s concert @ Madison Square Garden

New York City –

Eddie Vedder may be a good decade and a half older than when he used to stage dive at Lollapalooza – but Eddie and the rest of the Pearl Jam’s members can still pull a crowd!

A crowd reminiscing about the new-fashion retro decade 1990’s put on their best ripped up flannel and tattered Converse All Stars and headed to The Madison Square Garden a year and a half ago to hear the great American band rock out with over 30 songs, including two encores. Pretty impressive for self-confessed alt-rockers.

Jeremy, Alive, State of Love and Trust, Do The Evolution, Even Flow – all the angsty hits were there as the crowd had a massive sing along, with cigarette lighters having been replaced with the ever present lit up cell phones.

Eddie himself seems to have subdued in his more middle-aged years singing to his wife in the crowd. Back in the old grunge days a sign of a romantic union was more likely to be matching heroin addictions, oh, how times have changed.

Spotted attempting to mosh in the crowd: actor Matt Damon and film director Michael Moore.

It was a great concert, one that proved that Pearl Jam and its outspoken luminous frontman have been and still are one of the most popular American rock & roll bands of all times, in spite of “the chaos that ensued soon-after being catapulted into superstardom,” forcing them “to step back from the spotlight with the instinct of self-preservation, and the creation of a trusted circle that would surround them — giving way to a work culture that would sustain them.” Pearl Jam have outlasted many of their contemporaries from the alternative rock breakthrough of the early 1990s, and are considered one of the most influential bands of the last decade.

Here are some pictures taken at the Garden concert:

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Photos: Lauren Farmer

Related posts:

The Untold Story of A Great American Band: Pearl Jam Twenty

PBS American Masters: Pearl Jam 20 – Documentary Film

Pearl Jam: The Band in Pictures