Its twenty years ago. I'm thirteen years old. I've just started listening to rock the year prior. A friend of mine gives me a CD and tells me to "listen to this, it will change your life." That CD was Ten by Pearl Jam.
She was more right than she'll ever know. From the first listen, I was hooked. Every time a video came on, I was glued to the screen, memorizing the words and sounds of every song. Then came the import singles. They actually had songs that weren't on the album. So I of course had to have all of them. Since they were imports, they cost just as much as the regular whole album. The first was Jeremy, which had the single Yellow Ledbetter. I had no clue what he was saying, but the tone and the song was just pure awesome. (I did later figure it out).
For their next album VS, I was there day one, to get it. Same as Vitalogy and No Code and Yield.
No Code really spoke to me. I always felt I could write a screen play around that album and make it the sound track.
When Yield came out, I knew that this band would always be my favorite band. Its my single favorite album to this day. When ever I listen to it, I still want to drop what I'm doing, and scream "I LOVE THIS FUCKING BAND!" It probably helps that this was the tour that I first saw them.
It was Birmingham in 1998. My friend Peace and I drove down to see Mudhoney open for Pearl Jam. I had been to other concerts. Big hard rock concerts, where there were fireworks, blow up voodoo characters and what not. I had no idea what to expect from Pearl Jam. What they had for the stage were oriental rugs, speakers and the band. And it was perfect. For the final song and encore, they played Baba O'Riley. I left with a screen printed poster (that's apparently super rare) that hangs on my office wall to this day.
I've seen them twice since then, and while both were awesome shows, they don't compare to the first time.
When it comes time to figure out my internet handle for chatrooms, video games and what not, I choose what I know. pearl jam. But reverse and add "of" jamofpearls
More albums came out, Binaural, Riot Act, Peal Jam, and Backspacer. I bought and loved all of them.
Cut to wedding planning, and I need to figure out what song I want to walk down the isle to. Kell and I decided that we wanted custom music, and not the typical stuff played. I go back and forth, and she finally tells me to go with Man of the Hour. I fought it for a while, as that song came out right after a friend of mine had died. I had listened to it over and over again after his death. I finally agreed that it could be used for a wedding song. And I'm glad I did. It worked perfectly. The first time that the musicians played it for me, I got a little teary eyed. Kell's grooms gift to me was the Pearl Jam 20 hardcover book. Our wedding date (by pure coincidence) was 10/22/11, Pearl Jam's anniversary.
This all brings me to asking do you know what it feels like to actually love a band? Where you will follow their music for twenty plus years and into the future. Where you feel proud of their accomplishments like they are a family member? Where you hear a random playing of their song on a television show, and your heart swells?
That's been my twenty plus year relationship with Pearl Jam.
I've even considered naming my first born son Stone.