pearl jam ten

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Pearl Jam’s Ten was the record that changed everything for me.  Up until 3rd grade, I was on a strict diet of New Kids on the Block, Madonna, Amy Grant, and Mariah Carey.  But 1991 was a big year!  My brother, Mike, was having his bar mitzvah and he found it imperative that I learn to dance.  He had just discovered Pearl Jam.  Yes, I learned to do the running man to “Even Flow”.  Don’t ask me how that works!  But that’s how everything changed.  I was hooked and ready for rock n’ roll!

I self-enforced a strict dress code of flannel shirts and Doc Martens every day.  At over night camp, I had so many flannel shirts with me that I was able to dress all 9 of my bunk mates in flannel for the talent show where we performed–you guessed it!–“Even Flow”.  Cause at 9 years old, I knew all the words.  Most adults have no idea what Eddie Vedder is saying!

In fifth grade I had a dream I was in a band and told my mom I had to learn to play guitar.  Some of the first songs I learned to play were “Alive”, “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”, and “Nothing Man”.  By the time I was really rockin’ these jams, Pearl Jam was not cool with my peers.  It was all about Nirvana and Green Day.  But I stayed the course!  I was a super fan.  I was in the Ten Club.  I had a crush on Eddie Vedder.  I knew all the trivia (Ten  is named for the jersey number of the band’s favorite basketball player, Mookie Blaylock!).

For my punk and emo years, I squelched and hid my adoration for the band that helped push me in the direction I’m still living today–singer, songwriter, recording engineer.  But if I’m truly honest, part of why I moved to Seattle after college was because of Pearl Jam.  How could I not want to be in the city that so shaped the band members’ lives and careers?  I got to Seattle and worked in a recording studio and at Easy Street records.  Imagine my amazement to find myself working on records with Kurt Bloch (of the Fastbacks), who I knew from the documentary Hype!  Rumor was that the guys from PJ would shop at Easy Street all the time, but I never saw any of them!  Until my last week on the job… I had less than a week before I was moving to LA, and still no sightings!  And there he was… Jeff Ament.  I rang him up.  I actually checked his ID!  I didn’t even realize it was him!  Time stood still.  It felt like I was staring at his name for eons, but it was probably only a handful of seconds.  A little piece of me felt like every decision I made was worth it and the universe was letting me know it would take care of my dreams.

I haven’t listened to Ten  in a long time.  “Black” is still one of my favorite songs.  “Porch” is probably still one of Mike’s favorite songs.  “Jeremy” is still a classic, and I promise to sing it at karaoke this week.  But, I think it’s finally time to say…

Goodbye, Ten.

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One thought on “Ten

  1. […] of my biggest sellers were Lucero ($95), Mogwai ($50), and Pearl Jam ($50).  But My Bloody Valentine took the cake at a whopping […]

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