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Los Angeles Times Calendar
Thursday, July 25, 1996

Pearl Jam to Tour on Own Terms Again
By Chuck Philips, Times Staff Writer

Pop music: The band will sell tickets to its 11-show, primarily East Coast fall trek through a computerized telephone system instead of Ticketmaster.

Pearl Jam announced plans on Wednesday for an 11-show North American fall tour that will bypass Los Angeles -- as well as Ticketmaster, the giant ticket company with which the Seattle band locked horns last year.

For now, the only West Coast date on the tour will be Sept. 16 in the band's hometown. The other 10 shows will be staged in venues primarily on the East Coast.

Pearl Jam's fourth album, "No Code," will be released Aug. 27 and is expected to be one of the year's biggest sellers. The band's first three albums have sold an estimated 20 million copies in the United States alone. The first single from the new collection -- "Who Are You?" -- was to be shipped to radio stations Wednesday.

Tickets to the upcoming concerts will be sold through a computerized telephone system developed by Philadelphia-based FT&T, a division of Fillmore Mercantile, which financed Pearl Jam's tour and ticketing venture last summer. Under FT&T's operator-free system, fans will order tickets by dialing an 800 number that will be announced in local radio and print ads weeks before each show. Patrons will be allowed to purchase four tickets per show by credit card or by sending a check or money order.

The ticket price for the U.S. shows will run between $15 and $22.50, plus a $2 service charge-- significantly less than the service fee charged by Ticketmaster for most major rock shows. FT&T will also charge an additional 50-cent handling fee per order. In addition, band manager Kelly Curtis says that FT&T's system helps curb ticket scalping by allowing only one order to be processed to any one phone number. Each ticket can be printed with its own bar code, which also helps combat counterfeiting and scalping.

A year has passed since the U.S. Justice Department dropped its antitrust probe of Los Angeles-based Ticketmaster, failing to pursue claims by Pearl Jam and other members of the music industry that a monopoly existed in the nation's ticket market.

Pearl Jam refused to play at venues associated with Ticketmaster last year and ended up conducting its tour at a hodgepodge of small amphitheaters, mid-sized arenas and large fields. After police pressured the band to cancel two dates last summer at the Del Mar race track, Pearl Jam rescheduled the shows at a Ticketmaster venue in San Diego.

There was much speculation at the time that Pearl Jam had given up its crusade for low ticket prices and service fees. But on Wednesday Curtis said that the band's focus on keeping prices down had not changed. That means the group is likely, once again, to play alternative venues not affiliated with Ticketmaster. "I really don't want to discuss anything about the Ticketmaster situation," Curtis said. "We've got a great ticket system in place."

A spokesman for Ticketmaster said the company had no comment.

There is a possibility that the rock quartet, which will also do 19 shows in Europe after the U.S. dates, will perform in Los Angeles in the spring, but no date has been scheduled.

"The band is very excited to get back out in front of the fans and play some shows," Curtis says. "We've got some new music. It's going to be a blast."