3hree Things: On Pearl Jam Twenty
Pearl Jam were one of a tiny handful of bands that made me want to start playing in a rock band. I used to try to play along to Ten, Vs. and Vitalogy when I first started playing the drums. My first band tried (and failed) to cover "State of Love & Trust." I've been onboard the fanwagon (if such a thing exists) for 19 of their 20 years as a band, through the peak of their popularity in the mid-'90s and the middling output of most of the '00s (save: Backspacer). The band has always held a special place in my heart and has provided a soundtrack to some of the highest and lowest points of my life. Life doesn't afford you too many bands like that.
I realize they're a pretty polarizing band. It seems like people either love Pearl Jam or think they're awful. I can recall having a fairly heated argument during dinner with an Island Records exec who insisted they were the latter (mostly because he saw Eddie Vedder as an insufferable egomaniac). He was seemed intent on convincing me that my fandom was nonsensical and in poor taste, while I argued that musical taste is subjective and nothing he could say could possibly take away the impact their music had made on my life. Neither of us acquiesced, and we agreed to disagree. If you're in his camp, I'd suggest you skip this week's 3hree Things.
Last week, I finally got around to watching Pearl Jam Twenty, Cameron Crowe's documentary on the band's career, and I found myself incredibly moved and inspired (especially while grinding out the latter third of a six-week U.S. tour). There were three moments in particular that stood out, ones that not only reminded me how important and influential Pearl Jam were during my formative years as a musician, but how much their experiences and philosophies as a band can continue to inspire me going forward.
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