Tonight, Pearl Jam are being inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony at Barclays Center in New York, and we couldn’t be prouder. (Other inductees include Joan Baez, Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, Tupac Shakur, and Yes.) HBO will air the event later this month on April 29th, but you can follow KEXP on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as our own DJ Troy Nelson will be live on the scene! We asked our on-air hosts to share their memories of Pearl Jam on this momentous occasion — check out their stories below.
KEXP celebrates Pearl Jam‘s induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame on the air, Friday, April 7th, from 6 AM to 6 PM. Tune in for interview clips, rare tracks, covers, and all your favorites from these local legends.
John Richards, host of The Morning Show on KEXP:
I have quite a few Pearl Jam stories. Seeing the “Alive” video may have been the moment when it finally clicked in that I needed to get out of Spokane and move to Seattle. Attending their exclusive show for their “Ten Club” fans a few years after that famous video at the Moore Theater, and thinking at the time it might have been the best live band I’d seen to date. But my ultimate live show experience — and it could have been near-death experience — was seeing them at The Gorge right after I had moved to Seattle.Clearly, this was a dream come true. I was actually going EAST to The Gorge from my new home to see my favorite band, instead of heading WEST from Spokane. I remember wearing my “Parental Advisory” shirt (because it was awesome) and knowing it was going to be a pit day. I was going to ride the crowd and mosh all night long and leave there covered in sweat, dirt, and music. Turns out I ended up being carried out of there in a stretcher and then driven EAST to Moses Lake. I remember people turning around to see the fences, coming down behind us, and while I thought that wasn’t a good thing, I had no idea the crush of people would hit me like it did. It was actually the girl next to me who I was trying to help up when I got knocked down. That may have been the most scared I’ve been of losing my life, and to this day I’ve had issues with crowds and crowded spaces. I remember losing consciousness briefly, and then the teamwork and the love of my fellow Pearl Jam fans helping me (and others) up. I was carried to the stage and realized that I was feet from my rock n roll heroes and you could see their concern over the confusion that was totally out of their control. The band handled it great and later I learned just how good those guys are in general.
I ended up being okay. Sadly my “Parental Advisory” shirt was cut off of me and I ended up in the back of my own car being driven back to Seattle, defeated but ready to rise again. Seeing the band a few years later at The Moore (and yes, being up front again) was a nice retake of that show, and as I mentioned, getting to know some of those guys since then I have learned to respect them as musicians and people even more. I still think the band are one of THE best live acts touring today and if I had to do it over again, I’d still go to that Gorge show and make sure I got out… “Alive.”
I learned all the lyrics to Pearl Jam’s Ten on the school bus to-and-from track meets back in junior high. We’d sit in the back with some kid’s boom box and all shriek along to the lyrics in unison. (And I still know every word and listen when I’m in need of something to shout along to).
Or there’s the time me and my best friend rolled up paper and pretended it was cigarettes and sat in her parents bathroom smoking them and listening to “Daughter,” swooning about how dreamy Eddie Vedder was… I think this was 5th grade?
When Pearl Jam’s debut came out, I was just a month away from moving to Seattle. I was working at a record store, Appletree Tapes and Records in Springfield, IL, and the display for Ten was the second to last that I put up. (The last one? The display for Nirvana’s Nevermind. It came out three days before I boarded a Greyhound bus to the Pacific NW.)
I had only been working at Easy Street Records for a few months when Record Store Day rolled around. The day was crazy and ended with a performance from The Sonics featuring other local heroes like Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, and Emily Nokes, to name a few. The show ended and everybody was still hanging out at the store, Since I was under 21, I was tasked with the job of being Eddie’s designated driver for the night. Of course, I didn’t have my car with me, so I got to drive Eddie Vedder home in the Easy Street van. I thought to myself, “Well, this must be what working in the record shop is like, driving home rock stars after long days at the record store.”