How Did Pearl Jam Start Out?

The massive pioneering career of Pearl Jam began in Seattle out of tragedy and the ashes of another band. The band Mother Love Bone formed in 1988 with Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament along with the lead singer of Malfunkshun, Andrew Wood. The band began to tour and even got a record deal with Polygram in 1989, but Woods’ untimely death from a heroine overdose in 1990 put an abrupt end to the band. Woods’ death devastated Gossard and Ament, who ceased touring. Gossard spent his time writing music, while Ament took time out.

With new material written, Stone Gossard began practicing with Seattle guitarist Mike McCready who in turn urged him to reconnect with Jeff Ament. As a trio, the three men practiced and worked on a demo using Gossard’s new material in order to attract a drummer and a lead vocalist. The demo was given to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer, Jack Irons, along with an invitation to join the band. Irons declined the invitation but did pass the demo to his friend Eddie Vedder who was the singer for the San Diego band Bad Radio. Vedder recorded some lyrics for an instrumental demo that he sent back to the band. He was given an audition, which proved successful.

The band finally found a drummer by the name of Dave Krusen to complete the line up and began touring under the name Mookie Blaylock. The name was an homage to an all-star basketball player of the time, but would soon be changed for legal reasons when they were signed by Epic Records in late 1990. The band ultimately became known as Pearl Jam, with Ament coming up with the name Pearl and the Jam being added soon after, based on the band attending a Neil Young concert. Young was improvising a lot on stage during the concert, which is a style known as jamming. Pearl Jam recorded their first album “Ten” at Seattle’s London Bridge Studios in March of 1991. A few months later it was released and sold slowly at first before becoming a breakout hit by mid-1992.

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