30 years of Pearl Jam: fame, fortune and the fight for themselves

When Eddie Vedder watches a music documentary, it’s never the early years or height of…

When Eddie Vedder watches a music documentary, it’s never the early years or height of success that he’s interested in; he doesn’t want to see The Beatles at the Cavern Club, or The Who at the Marquee. The Pearl Jam frontman is curious about the period way, way after all that; he wants to know what his favourite bands were doing 20 years down the line – when there’s some scar tissue, when they’ve made it big and worked out where to go next, the risky left turns, the break-ups, the reunions. That’s what Vedder wants to dig into. 

His own band turn 30 this year. Pearl Jam’s debut single Alive, an astonishing first release by any stretch of the imagination, came out in July 1991. Their first album, Ten, followed a month later. Who could have known what would happen back then? Not Vedder, nor guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready, bassist Jeff Ament and then-drummer Dave Krusen.