I first got in touch with Eddie Vedder back in 2007 when he wrote the foreword to my Pete Townshend book. We’ve kept in touch since then.
In late 2009, I sent Eddie a rough timeline of Pearl Jam activities, explaining that this was how I’d started my PT book, and that I’d love to do a book about him if he was interested.
A few months later, Eddie sent me a cryptic text message advising me to expect a call from his manager, and to pack my sunblock. Later that day, the call indeed came and I was asked to participate in the writing of an official Pearl Jam book. Eddie liked the timeline format and wanted to use it for a book commemorating Pearl Jam’s upcoming 20th anniversary.
Within a week or two I was in Los Angeles, meeting with the book team. After the meeting I hung out with Eddie’s brother, who I soon learned is as big a PT fan as his famous sibling. At a friend’s house, he sat at the piano and said, ‘Check this out.’ He played a few notes, which I failed to recognize. ‘ ‘Unused Piano’, from ‘Scoop’,’ he said. Wow.
A month or so later, I visited Pearl Jam’s headquarters in Seattle and dove into their press archive. The timeline grew and grew. Over the next several months, Jonathan Cohen and I batted it back and forth, Jonathan wrote several long pieces, and Regan Hagar assembled the graphics. The book began to take shape.
Other than planting the seed for the previously mentioned timeline format, my role in the PJ20 book was that of researcher. Jonathan did the writing, and Regan did the graphics. I was honored to take part.
Not long after the book came out, I received a copy in the mail, from Seattle. It was autographed by the entire band. I later caught up with Tim Bierman, who explained that he’d left six copies of the newly printed book in Pearl Jam’s rehearsal space, one for each of the band members. The guys in the band assumed that the small stack of books were to be signed for some giveaway, so they dutifully signed them and left them behind! Tim said they figured they’d send them to the book team.
“Essential… Pearl Jam’s autobiographical account is one of few that focus on music rather than substance abuse… Attests to their unwavering connection to their music and their ability to prevent fame from overshadowing art.” – Library Journal
“A remarkable account of a career… This book will satisfy casual listeners as well as obsessives.” – Publishers Weekly
“A fun, photo-filled day-in-the-life chronicle of one of America’s hardest-working rock bands… Whether or not readers are fans of the band, the book’s coverage of the Seattle grunge explosion during the early ‘90s is impressive.” – Kirkus Reviews