Marking their comeback to recording industry smoothly with single “World Wide Suicide” peaking on the top spot of Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks, Pearl Jam seems very ready to continue showing their dominance in the mainstream rock music judging from their hectic schedule of live performance for the rest of 2006. In support of their eponymous album, the band has already arranged a worldwide tour covering European and Australia which is slated to kick off on November 7 at Acer Arena in Sydney while preparing to commence the second leg of their U.S. tour by June 23 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As for that in Europe, the group set to start on August 23 in Dublin, Ireland to wrap on September 30 in Athens, Greece after going around countries like Belgium, Spain, and Germany among others. Apart from this, there are also appearances at Summerfest on June 29-30 in Milwaukee alongside Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers plus those at two U.K. festivals namely Leeds and Reading festivals by late August, all certainly would bring great excitement to their dear fans.
Regarded as one of the Big Four of grunge music alongside Alice in Chains, Nirvana, and Soundgarden, Pearl Jam in fact has a long history concerning its origin which can be traced back to the mid-eighties upon the arrival of a punk band called Green River in Seattle music scene. A synthesis of several local acts, Green River sadly did not exist long in the circuit yet it had brought together two talented guys, Jeff Ament (born on March 10, 1963 in Havre, Montana) and Stone Carpenter Gossard (born on July 20, 1966 in Seattle, Washington), to stick to each other when they decided to take separated way with the troupe's 3 other members. Joining Malfunkshun vocalist Andrew Wood to form Mother Love Bone, they afterwards worked hand in hand to finally gain a recording deal from PolyGram Records, but a tragic incident struck before their first effort was even released as Wood was found dead from a heroin overdose in March 1990.
Wood's death consequently led to the disintegration of Mother Love Bone in the same year and so forced Ament plus Gossard to look for another way in continuing their existence as musicians. Gossard then included his high school friend who is also a former member of band named Shadow, Michael “Mike” McCready (born on April 5, 1966 in Pensacola, Florida), in the line-up to make a trio thus began playing recreationally while taking time to record a demo helped by Soundgarden drummer Matthew Cameron (born on November 28, 1962 in San Diego, California). Since none of them could provide the desirable vocal for the tape, they only created instrumental songs on the work which later was passed by Jack Irons (born on July 18, 1962 in L.A) of Red Hot Chili Peppers to his basketball buddy and local San Diego singer Eddie Vedder (born Edward Louis Seversen III on December 23, 1964 in Evanston, Illinois).
Deeply drawn by the tunes, Vedder promptly put some lyrics he had invented to the music also dubbed his vocals onto the tape before mailed it back to Seattle under the title of “Mamasan.” Upon hearing the young man's voice, Ament, Gossard, and McCready were so impressed that they immediately invited him to the rainy city to try out for the band, later even took him along when Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell asked for their participation in his tribute-to-Wood side project, “Temple of the Dog” (1991). The band's formation ultimately was fixed as Dave Krusen (born on March 10, 1966 in Tacoma, Washington) came in to fill the drummer seat by October 1990, making it a quintet with both Gossard and McCready on guitars, Ament on bass, and Vedder on lead vocal. Initially calling themselves Mookie Blaylock for some time, they eventually settled on the name of Pearl Jam after being signed to Epic Records in early 1991.
Sadly, Krusen did not stay long in Pearl Jam as he surprisingly concluded to leave the band when the troupe had just finished their recording process, prompting the rest of the members to hurriedly hire Matt Chamberlain (born on April 17, 1967 in San Pedro, California) who had previously played with Edie Brickell and New Bohemians. Only joined for a few months before crossing to “Saturday Night Live” band, Chamberlain in turn recommended Dave Abbruzzese (born May 17, 1968 in Stamford, Connecticut) as his replacement and it was this guy who was then featured in the line-up by the time the band released their debut, “Ten”, on August 27, 1991. An album introducing Pearl Jam's unusual fuse of the riff-heavy stadium rock of the '70s with the grit and anger of '80s post-punk, “Ten” at first just encountered a moderate sale, but satisfyingly climbed up increasingly in 1992 on the strength of its hit songs namely “Jeremy”, “Evenflow”, “Black”, and ”Alive.”
The result afterwards was tremendous as “Ten” wonderfully soared to the second rank of The Billboard 200 and was certified 4 times Platinum in January 1993 while its track of “Jeremy” amazingly directed the band to receive two Grammy nominations in the categories of Best Rock Song plus Best Hard Rock Performance a month later. Unmistakably catapulted to widespread attention because of this superb attainment, Pearl Jam quickly followed it up with their sophomore effort, “Vs.”, launched on October 19 of the same year to score a much greater achievement for it brilliantly sold 950,000 copies during its first week of release, setting an all-time record for doing so before was beaten by Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. Topped The Billboard 200 for 5 weeks and eventually reached 7 times Platinum, the album also spawned their first #1 Modern and Mainstream Rock Charts song, “Daughter”, altogether created a truly golden year for the quintet.
Amidst the huge achievement, however, Pearl Jam had to face a grave problem concerning their conflict with Ticketmaster over the ticket prices for their tours upon entering the year 1994 and this fatally led to the cancellation of their summer tour of the year, much to the fans' disappointment. As if it was not gloom enough for those devoted supporters, the band shockingly fired Abbruzzese in August without any clear explanation despite their statement of citing artistic differences to later appoint Irons as the new drummer in the line-up. All the happenings fortunately did not affect the outcome of their third LP, “Vitalogy”, when it came up in December for the album still managed to bring another success for the band if looking on its 5 times Platinum status plus 5-consecutive-weeks reign on The Billboard 200. One of its tracks, “Spin the Black Circle”, even won the band a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance category in 1996.
Sadly, things began to change rather drastically over the next few years for Pearl Jam, presumably due to their no-music-videos policy also case against Ticketmaster which eventually was dropped by U.S. Justice Department in favor of the ticket agency. Both of their next works, “No Code” (1996) and “Yield” (1998), failed to repeat the glory of its predecessors as they only briefly stayed on the top 3 of The Billboard 200 and sold a mere million copies, far below what their 3 previous albums had attained, particularly “Ten” of which selling number kept flowing before in the end was certified 12 times Platinum by 2003. Trying to bounce back, the group, this time with Cameron on drum following Iron's departure earlier due to his health problems, then decided to make a cover of Wayne Cochran's 1950s ballad of “Last Kiss” and released it on Christmas 1998 as a fan club single.
Much to the band's relief, their effort was proven worth for “Last Kiss” fabulously received heavy airplay on radio stations nationwide, thanks to the increasing requests of the listeners, which thus led to the demand of commercial single release for the tune. Touched the market on June 8, 1999, it instantly soared to the second rank of The Billboard Hot 100 and so became Pearl Jam's highest charting single to date, giving enough optimism for the troupe to launch their sixth studio album, “Binaural”, on May 16, 2000 followed by a tour supporting this piece of work a week later. Though the record's sale was fair with modest hits of "Nothing as it Seems" and "Light Years", they delightfully could still carve a fine mark for the rest of 2000 and during the year 2001 through their 72 live albums, mostly were double CDs, that brought them to set a record for creating most albums to debut in the Billboard Top 200 at the same time.
Kept moving on to produce another effort entitled “Riot Act” (2002) also some other live albums from their 2003 tour, Pearl Jam later decided to put more concentration on their live performance for the next few years after suddenly announced the end of their relationship with Epic Records in middle 2003. Even so, another record of the band's greatest hits from 1991 to 2003 entitled “Rearviewmirror” was able to see its release under the company in November 2004 while the quintet busied themselves to perform in Vote for the Change Tour then “ReAct Now: Music & Relief” in 2005 besides going around Canada and South America to hold concerts. Nevertheless, they finally were back to the music scene upon entering the year 2006, at first attempt putting single “World Wide Suicide/Unemployable” on the digital stores in March 2006 before launching a self-titled album by May 2 under J Records.