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"A Vedder Jam"

Eddie Vedder
Color Pencil on Strathmore Paper cut 11" by 14"

November 11 2009, 2 days

            The name of the alternative rock group Pearl Jam came from the introduction of their new singer.   After the original singer of the Sub Pop band Mother Love Bone died of a drug overdose, the bassist and founder recruited a San Diego surfer named Eddie Vedder.   After Vedder had covered the final formulation of the band and all original planned tracks for Mother Love Bone, he introduced some of the songs he wrote early on as well.   This plus a few other factors gave Vedder the ability to add his input into a new name for the group.   The name was conceived as a band decision however it was fettered through Vedder's family.   Vedder said that the name "Pearl Jam" was a reference to his great-grandmother Pearl, who was married to a Native American and had a special recipe for peyote-laced jam. (1)
            It should be noted that the color version of this portrait of Eddie Vedder was done in November of 2009 which are important dates both in the country of America and in my life span.   The original sketch was done in 1996 and has spent close to to fifteen years in my portfolio.   The revision came as I had grown uncomfortable with the light sketching style that was the norm of my life in the late nineties.
            As a result of my stubbornness and love of color in my art, I felt urged me to do a really refined portrait of Mr. Vedder.   After smoothing out his hair and trying my best to recreate that slightly stained and faded coloring to his grunge style shirt, I started on the background of reds and maroon.   Somehow Eddie Vedder will forever be in a maroon coloring in my mind.   Blue and purple blotches began to arise and the idea of jam came to mind.   In all it was a stones throw away from Pearl Jam's name.   Also Vedder in the place of Better stated that I felt this Eddie portrait was "A Vedder Jam .” - Tim Benjamin
(1) ^ a b Neely, Kim. "Right Here, Right Now". Rolling Stone. October 31, 1991.
"Eddie Vedder" 1996
“Eddie Vedder”
Graphite on Strathmore paper 11”x14”
My Perspective on Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam
In the end, Pearl Jam will be remembered as a touring band. In fact, after the phenomenon that was Ten, the band stopped making music videos and just toured after each album release. In essence they strengthened their fan base by performing for and interacting with their fans.

With each new album came a new hit and a new style. Front man Eddie Vedder's vocal talents improved as well as his ever-present humanity. Although not the founder of the band, he has constantly gave credit to Jeff Ament (bass guitar), Stone Gossard (rhythm guitar) who did form the band after the death of their previous singer in Mother Love Bone.

Activists on many aspects including Ticketmaster, human rights and censorship, Vedder has written from a vast array of subject matter including: child abuse, greed, religious persecution, teenage suicide, alcoholism and spousal abuse.

A life long friendship has sprung up between Pearl Jam and Neil young, that whom some have called the founder of grunge. The Young album Mirror ball was a collaboration between the two rockers with Young on vocals and Pearl Jam as the band. The first of a venue of collaborations between Young, Vedder and actor and director Sean Penn was when Young and Vedder did two original songs for Penn's Dead Man Walking. Then Vedder did a Beatles cover for the all Beatle soundtrack for Penn's I Am Sam and in Penn's directorial debut Into the Wild Vedder put forth his first ever completely solo album for the soundtrack in which Vedder actually performed all the instruments himself. - Tim Benjamin
Becoming a man with Pearl Jam
by Tim Benjamin
Cover to the Compact Disc version of the album

Growing up in the nineties as a teenager with no real moral compass to direct me I had a few in the music world.   After my father left three days before Christmas of 1991, the following Christmas was a cold bitter after glow of the shattering of my family of what I had thought to be normal.   The following Christmas of 1992, my brother gave me the cassette of Pearl Jam's Ten .  This gritty and studio based beat rumble and rattle album shot through my ears as I drove the dark streets with my brother to and from my father's homes.   Forever, Ten will be the soundtrack album of my family's destruction.   The aftermath of my father leaving left my mother forever damaged and the track "Why Go" was in my mind the song of my mother battling the world. It was later revealed that Vedder's lyrics of Ten were inspired by his long-held hurt in discovering at age 17 that the man he thought was his father was not, and that his real father had already died.   I had another male leave me in 1993 and that left me with Kurt Cobain who died the following year.   The absence of a male role model and the vacuum of how to feel or how to deal were left to what was left of the grunge movement.

      The importance of the influence of Kurt Cobain's primal scream of anguish cannot be under or over stated as my loyalty to him.   Thus, the dilemma of the death of the last of the men of my early teenage years.   Cobain's and his widow's criticism of Pearl Jam did not help matters in what I should do with myself. Nirvana's Kurt Cobain angrily attacked Pearl Jam, claiming the band were commercial sellouts, and argued Ten was not a true alternative album because it had so many prominent guitar leads. Cobain later reconciled with Vedder, and they reportedly were on amicable terms before Cobain's death in 1994.   At a concert following Cobain's death, Vedder stated that he and his band would not be here if not for Kurt.  

"Kurt Cobain's Primal Scream"
"Not for You" Single by Pearl Jam

      As my personal heartbreak took affect, the Pearl Jam album Vitalogy (1994) was released and the track " Not for You " was a secret yell at the person that broke my heart.   The song with or with out its true meaning were both wrong with what I felt but I had something to scream with.    Many evening I spent running in the cold night air listening to the album as loud as possible as my breath was seen in the streetlights.

Further Viewing:

Pearl Jam's Single "Last Kiss"
Front man Eddie Vedder in Pistoia, Italy on September 20, 2006.
Last Kiss
Into the Wild star Emile Hirsch and soundtrack composer and performer Eddie Vedder.


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