Monday, December 12, 2011

Rock News Artist Of The Year #10: PEARL JAM

As part of the 2011 hennemusic Rock News Awards – recognizing the biggest rock news stories and artists of the year - hennemusic is counting down the Top 10 rock news artists of the year.

The Top 10 are determined by music fans: numbers are based on the combined total page views of the top 50 hennemusic rock news stories of the past twelve months.

The 2011 hennemusic Rock News Award winners will be announced on Tuesday, December 20 at

Rock News Artist of The Year #10 – PEARL JAM

2011 was quite a year for Pearl Jam.

The Seattle rockers celebrated their 20th Anniversary throughout the calendar, releasing plenty of product, playing live shows and even hosting their own weekend festival.

Things began in January with the release of “Live On Ten Legs,” a compilation of material captured over the band’s tours from 2003-2010.

Then there was 20th Anniversary edition reissues of “Vs.” and “Vitalogy,” complete with bonus tracks, unreleased songs and a complete 1994 show from Boston.

One of the biggest projects the band undertook was the PJ20 Destination Weekend at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin. The 2-day event featured live performances by The Strokes, Queens Of The Stone Age, Mudhoney and almost 10 other acts.

hennemusic carried the PJ sets LIVE both nights, courtesy of a fan who was streaming the show online via his phone. Not the best quality, for sure, but a cool idea given today’s technology, which will only improve over time.

You can watch videos of PJ’s day 1 set here and their day 2 set here.

The weekend event was followed by a Canadian tour in September, and then the band hit the road to play South and Central America in November.

PJ hit the big, and small, screen with “Pearl Jam Twenty,” a documentary directed by Cameron Crowe, premiered at the Toronto International Film festival in September, just as the band was launching the Canadian tour. The film was also accompanied by a soundtrack and book release.

The footage traced the band’s history from the ground up, and featured some of the most compelling video of the year. Just watch the moment that’s been identified as Eddie Vedder’s “awakening” from shy guy to intense frontman: at a show early in their career, a fan is getting pushed around by security and Vedder’s fuming turns into outright rage at the injustice he’s witnessing, prompting the singer to stare down a meatheaded security guy while screaming his lyrics into the microphone, just inches from the guy’s head. Fortunately, someone rolled video on that night and captured the moment for all time.

As for TV, PJ played Letterman in June, and then a couple of nights on Jimmy Fallon in September, as well, to promo the film and its soundtrack. An encore performance on Fallon saw the band play the Pink Floyd classic “Mother,” during Floyd week on the show.

While the band was taking some time to look back in 2011, they were also moving forward, spending time in the studio working on music for a new album release expected in 2012.

And, beyond all the PJ group activity, there were plenty of solo projects by the guys, as well.

Vedder released an album (“Longing To Belong”) and live DVD (“Water On The Road”), and toured Australia and North America; he also played Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit show in October.

Stone Gossard worked with his band, Brad, on new music, releasing a single on Record Store Day.

Bassist Jeff Ament launched Tres Mts. with Kings X’s Doug Pinnick, releasing their debut, “Three Mountains,” and doing a spring tour.

In addition to playing at various charity shows, Mike McCready performed the national anthem at a Seattle Mariners game in June.

And let’s not forget that drummer Matt Cameron hit the road with a reunited Soundgarden for their first full tour in 14 years, while also recording new music for an album planned for release next year.

Pearl Jam Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam – Ole
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon – September 8, 2011