On this 10th anniversary of Ten, and fifth anniversary of 5h, Song X is featuring something a little different. To promote the release of Ten, Epic Records put together what's known in the record industry as an "EPK," or electronic press kit. These are short video features that usually include music, video and interviews, and are sent out to the media as a way of introducing a new act (or promote a new release). PJ, of course, at the time were no different than any other new act, and Epic threw their weight behind them by producing this EPK, hiring Josh Taft (who directed Mother Love Bone's "Stardog Champion" video, and would shoot PJ's "Alive," "Evenflow" and "Oceans" videos as well) to direct this effort.
The video begins with images we're now familiar with from the "Alive" video, and Stone narrates an off-camera introduction to the history of the band that's accompanied by visuals of the Green River and Mother Love Bone album covers. "Then Andy went off to do his solo album... today: new music, new friends. Pearl Jam."
"Wash" is the background music for most of the interview footage, which leads off with Stone and Jeff, presented as the founders and leaders of the band. They were the veterans, having survived two somewhat well-known (or at least infamous) other bands. They're sitting in the original Pearl Jam rehearsal space, Galleria Potatohead, with the backdrop for the Ten album cover behind them. They introduce Mike, who then gets the spotlight to rant about people like Mozart and Picasso (he was probably asked about his influences, and got a little off track.)
The next member introduced by Stone and Jeff is original drummer Dave Krusen. There are some good shots of Dave and a brief interview. Then, finally, we meet the new singer:Jeff: Just to have somebody who's really solid and is like really grounded...
Stone: ...And on top of that, to have a totally amazing voice, which is another thing, and on top of that, to have a spiritual vision, and to have passion, and to have charisma, and all of these things that he has... the fact that he's in the band, is amazing.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the new kid from San Diego, Eddie Vedder. A very smiley, long-haired Ed is interviewed next to a campfire, and who starts the chain of misinformation with the original telling of the "Grandma Pearl" myth. The smile on his face as he tells the story seems to indicate he's doing all he can to not crack up while spinning this piece of fiction.
The video ends with Stone and Jeff laughing about how they long for the day when they can call their manager and complain they've been touring too much, some more live footage from the "Alive" video, and ends with that spinning Pearl Jam promotional basketball issued for Ten (which is actually about 1/4 the size of a real basketball...but still coveted madly by many collectors.)
The video is short, and while there's no information on here we don't already know by heart, as a historical document it's priceless. To see how different the focus was on the various band members compared to what it would become. To see the hairstyles and the clothes (how many bracelets can Jeff possibly wear? Although we dug his Neil Young shirt.) Mike in his Stevie Ray mode, Stone with the hair that launched the dreams of a thousand woo girls. All of them looking incredibly young, happy, and optimistic. Stone and Jeff feeling confident. Mike just happy to be there. Ed kind of in awe of everything that's happening to him.
Ten years later, and Stone's opening remarks are still ring true: "New music, new friends. Pearl Jam."
(The video file is no longer available here.)
Copyright © 2004 Five Horizons