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25 Years Ago Today, Pearl Jam Played Their First Gig. Watch It Now.

On October 22, 1990, a new band called Mookie Blaylock took to the stage at a tiny Seattle club called the Off Ramp. It was a fairly unremarkable Monday evening except for the fact that those in attendance witnessed the birth of one of the biggest American bands of the last quarter-century.

A couple of the guys, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, were known by locals for their work with Mother Love Bone, the major label stardom-bound band that melted when singer Andrew Wood died of a heroin overdose. Also on stage was Mike McCready, a guy who had been kicking around town with various bands for a while. The drummer was Dave Krusen, another Seattle regular, who was brought in by Stone and Jeff.

Out front was someone unknown to pretty much everyone. Eddie Vedder was a cargo shorts-wearin’ San Diego surfer dude who had flown up just a few weeks earlier after Jack Irons–then a drummer with the Red Hot Chili Peppers–gave him a tape of some of the music Stone, Jeff and Mike were working on. Eddie dubbed his vocals and lyrics onto the tape sent it back up to Seattle. This was the the famous Mamma San cassette, the thing that got Eddie the gig.

When they took the stage that night, the band was still known as Mookie Blaylock, taking their name from the point guard of the New Jersey Nets (he wore number 10, by the way). A number of weeks would pass before the group changed their name to Pearl Jam as a result of some, er, sober second thoughts from a legal point of view.

October 22 is considered by fans to be Pearl Jam’s birthday. The following summer, many of the songs played that Monday ended up on their debut record. Let’s take a look.

Learn more at Fuse.TV. And thanks to Moe for the link!

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37884 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “25 Years Ago Today, Pearl Jam Played Their First Gig. Watch It Now.

  • Thanks Alan, but (and I probably speak for Millions of people here), we would much rather hear you do another in depth-25 year-history of Pearl Jam… I miss those SO much.
    Thank you in advance, if you can ever find the time.

    • It may be time to do such a thing leading up to the 25th anniversary release of 10. That’ll come next spring.


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