Pearl Jam Bares All
Ali, Lorraine, Newsweek
Byline: Lorraine Ali
Twenty years after their breakout album, the band stars in a great rock doc.
In a new documentary by filmmaker Cameron Crowe, we're taken back to the creative, albeit destructive, era that gave rise to Pearl Jam. "Here's a story about a band where the singer ODs, and it's at the beginning," says Crowe, referring to the death of Mother Love Bone's frontman, Andy Wood. It was after his death that remaining band members Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament found Eddie Vedder through a newspaper ad. "Every great rock story supposedly ends with the tragedy, but theirs begins with it. It's a story about joy as opposed to joy that gets trashed by a lifestyle."
As their debut album, Ten, turns 20, the band is celebrating the milestone with Crowe's Pearl Jam Twenty. The film (accompanied by a soundtrack and book) documents the band's trajectory from Seattle's vehemently independent postpunk scene to the uncomfortable heights of fame. "I wouldn't say we got through it all with finesse, but we got through it," says Vedder, reflecting on their success.
After the band stopped making videos and giving interviews in the mid-'90s, Vedder was viewed by many as a modern-day Don Quixote, armored to fight an enemy that didn't really exist. …