Pearl Jam formed in Seattle in 1990 and quickly became one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Their sound is unique, which is important for any band. The younger bands of today should know by now that it’s important to have their own unique sound, which seems to be lacking in the music industry today. The band broke the mold and has outlasted many of the other bands of the ‘90s. Pearl Jam’s sound is one of a kind, and their catalog of songs has something for everyone. Their music has stood the test of time, and in honor of the 20th anniversary of their debut album, Ten (Epic), which was released in the U.S. in August 1991. The album included hits such as “Alive”, “Even Flow”, and “Jeremy”. The album has been certified diamond by the RIAA, and is one of the most successful selling rock albums of all time. To date, it has sold over 13 million copies.
In honor of Pearl Jam’s twentieth anniversary and in conjunction with Cameron Crowe’s definitive documentary of the same name, Pearl Jam Twenty (Simon & Schuster) is a verbal and visual archive of the band. “We set out to make music to satisfy ourselves,” says Eddie Vedder, as he looks back over twenty years. “I think that was originally the plan. Something we would have never imagined is that people have made friendships, shared ideas, and shared their humanity with each other through the music…That’s all outside of us. All we did was play music, you know? The fact that it’s happened is semioverwhemling and humbling, but it’s great to know it’s there. It’s a big thing.”
The book was compiled by music writer Jonathan Cohen with Mark Wilkerson. It also includes the words of band members Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Matt Cameron, and Mike McCready, as well as Chris Cornell, Dave Grohl, Ben Harper, Ian MacKaye, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townsend, and Neil Young.
I had an opportunity to interview writer Jonathan Cohen about his start as a writer and how he was penned to write this exceptional book.
Jonathan told me that he was always interested in both music and writing. He worked as a writer for Billboard, and this is where he met the band for the first time. Pearl Jam has never done a lot of press, so Jonathan got to know their publicist. “Trial interviews were set up and we had a long and productive relationship for nine years,” Jonathan told me. He became one of the few writers Pearl Jam would work with. They eventually became friends, and he was asked to help write Pearl Jam Twenty.
Jonathan, a long-time Pearl Jam fan, told me that his favorite album is No Code (released August 1996 through Epic), and favorite songs include “Hail, Hail” (from No Code) and “Immortality” (from Vitalogy released November 1994 through Epic).
Jonathan books musical acts for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and has been working with Fallon since the show began in 2009. When asked if he has plans to write more music books in the future, he told me “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. It was really rewarding. I would love to write another one in the future.”
Pearl Jam is: Eddie Vedder (vocals), Stone Gossard (guitar), Jeff Ament (bass), Mike McCready (guitar), and Matt Cameron (drums)
For more information: http://www.pearljam.com/
Source: Press Release from Simon & Schuster