Grunge monsters Pearl Jam compile 20 years’ worth of firsthand remembrances, photos and tour-related ephemera in this oversized career-encapsulating scrapbook.
With a gushy foreword by Pearl Jam acolyte Cameron Crowe, this coffee-table book provides a comprehensive day-by-day compendium of touring and recording highlights. It also sheds light on the band’s pre–Pearl Jam history: namely, almost-famous Seattle groups like Green River and Mother Love Bone, who were hampered by bad luck and bad drugs. Add San Diego surfer/beach bum Eddie Vedder to the mix, and from the ashes of the aforementioned bands rose Pearl Jam, whose official popular history begins around 1991. The narration is minimal, and there’s a lot of oral history from band members and commentary from old-guard rockers who became peers, pals and occasional collaborators—Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend and Mike Watt, just to name a few. Whether or not readers are fans of the band, the book’s coverage of the Seattle grunge explosion during the early ’90s is impressive. Of course, not all the details of the band’s early years were glorious. For a time, Vedder and his mates had to deal with being the second-most-popular band from Seattle, as Kurt Cobain and Nirvana rocketed past Pearl Jam in record sales and recognition; to make matters worse, Cobain snubbed the band every chance he got. However, it wasn't until the post-Cobain, post-grunge years that Pearl Jam really came into their own, musically and philosophically. The band became known as much for their chart-topping albums as for their principled stances, first against the hegemonic evil of Ticketmaster and then against George W. Bush’s illegitimate presidency.
A fun, photo-filled day-in-the-life chronicle of one of America’s hardest-working rock bands.