Pearl Jam Twenty documentary


By: Derrick Deane on July 27, 2011 at 4:56PM

Directed by Cameron Crowe, Pearl Jam Twenty (shortened to PJ20) features never-before-seen footage of Eddie Vedder and his bandmates, along with commentary from Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Alice in Chains’ now-deceased Layne Staley, as they adjust to their rise to superstardom. Crowe has brought us previous music documentaries featuring Tom Petty and Alice in Chains, so you could say this is familiar territory for the former Rolling Stone magazine freelancer. The footage and soundtrack look great and this is sure to be a must-see for Pearl fans when it hits theaters sometime in September.

Pearl Jam Twenty from Pearl Jam on Vimeo.

The above article has to do with one of my art pieces: “A Vedder Jam.”

Becoming a man with Pearl Jam

By Tim Benjamin (11-17-09)

Pearl Jam's 1991 debut album Ten

Pearl Jam's 1991 debut album Ten

Growing up in the nineties as a teenager with no real moral compass to direct me I did have 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 and what I had thought to be normal.  The following Christmas of 1992, my brother gave me the cassette of Pearl Jam’s debut album 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 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.

"Kurt Cobain's Primal Scream"

"Kurt Cobain's Primal Scream"

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. The collaboration of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament and Soundgarden’s singer Chris Cornell and drummer Matt Cameron in the formation of Temple of the Dog in 1990 would of proved that since Chris Cornell, a mentor to Cobain of Vedder’s promise and worth.  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.

"Not For You" CD single art

"Not For You" CD single art

As my personal heartbreak in my freshmen year around Christmas of 1993 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.

1996's No Code

1996's No Code

As my senior year rolled around, I had my brother leaving to join the Coast Guard.  As friends went, I had a good friend in my older brother.  Always busy and had great friends that took me in as one of their own, and in the end I had another male leave me.  The same year Pearl Jam released my personal favorite album of theirs, No Code.  Poignantly was the track “Off He Goes” in which Vedder wrote about himself “being a shit friend. I’ll show up and everything’s great and then all of the sudden I’m outta there…”

"Off He Goes" CD-Single art

"Off He Goes" CD-Single art

This fleeting relationship more than a shit friend is how I felt about my brother and many other men in my life that I feel I scare away or they have better things to do than hang out with me.  The double side is those that I wish to be better acquainted with some but I can only muster enough courage to talk briefly talk with them than I have to run away.

A Vedder Jam

eddie_vedder_vedder_jam-IMG_2437-thumbA Vedder Jam

Color Pencil on Strathmore 11” x 14”

November 11, 2009 – 12 hours

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 wrote a couple new songs 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 Vader’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) – Tim Benjam

(1) ^ a b Neely, Kim. “Right Here, Right Now”. Rolling Stone. October 31, 1991.

"Eddie Vedder" 1996

“Eddie Vedder” 1996

It should be noted that the color version of this portrait of Eddie Vedder was done 0n November 11 – 17, 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.

After stubbornness and the love of color in my art 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 Red and maroon.  Somehow Eddie Vedder will for ever be in a marron 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.”

Pearl Jam is back with Backspacer

Eddie Vedder

Eddie Vedder

Pearl Jam’s new CD in a hard bound book/Pizzoli style package. 2009 release from Eddie Vedder and the boys, their ninth album overall. For Backspacer, the lasting Grunge rockers decided to do it big. They left label J Records and decided to release to album themselves, since the certainly have enough money to do that. They also hooked up with ’90s Alternative Rock producer du jour Brendan O’Brien (Korn, Bruce Springsteen), the first time that the band has worked with O’Brien since 1998’s Yield. The music on the record features a sound influenced by pop and New Wave.


2009's Backspacer

On a personal note, Pearl Jam’s Backspacer came at a time of great need in my life and “Just Breath” was a wonderful tune to listen to as I had to deal with two deaths in my family.  Having the same producer as Yield makes all the sense in the world in that Yield has the same musical dynamic as Backspacer.

Johnny Cash covers my favorite Sting tune

Checking out Johnny Cash’s American IV: The Man Comes Around at the local library I took a listen and found two tracks down from Nine Inch Nail’s Hurt was Hung My Head.  When I would play Sting’s Hung My Head from his album Mercury Falling at a friend’s home, I would play over and over again.  My friend was patient with me however she did ask why I liked such a depressing song?  It was not the lyrics really, but the tune.  Sting’s original version had an electric guitar riff that resinated something in my brain that I just really enjoyed.

Cash’s version is of a country and acoustic based composition that thunders its way to a climatic end.  It has the same goose bump affect as his version of Hurt.

The whole album by Cash is of covers however Cash in his brilliance and tortured voice brings the songs to a whole new level.  Personal Jesus, for instance was done as an acoustic version of Martin Gore‘s song, which featured a simple acoustic riff that stripped down the song to a blues style.  This was an improvement in my opinion of Marylyn Manson’s version of Personal Jesus.

(from Wikapedia)

I Hung My Head” is a murder ballad written by the singer-songwriter Sting and released on the album Mercury Falling. In 2002, Johnny Cash covered the song in the album American IV: The Man Comes Around along with several other contemporary songs.


The song begins describing a young man who takes his brother’s rifle out onto the hill early one morning, with time to kill (an idiomatic phrase originating from The Bible foreshadowing the event of the rider’s death)[1] to practice his aim. As a lone rider rides across the plain, he takes aim at the rider as he moves to practice his aim (“I drew a bead on him; to practice my aim”) and accidentally pulls the trigger, killing the rider.

Without fully realizing the implications of his accident (“To wake from the dream”), he sets off running into the southlands of Ireland, throwing the rifle into the Sheen, a river that flows into Kenmare Bay. [Citation needed] Eventually he is discovered by a sheriff and in a moment of realization understands the implications of his actions even though he does not fully understand their meaning (“And all for no reason, just one piece of lead”).

He is brought before a Judge and jury and in front of his entire town to account for his actions and feels the power of death over life as the jury reaches their verdict; realizing that he had orphaned the rider’s children and widowed his wife, he wishes he were dead.

The preceding section of the song describes how, in the morning he is to be hanged for his transgressions; another morning with time to kill (referring to the actions of the hangmen, the courts and the appointment of the hanging). Before the period of his hanging, he imagines in a “trick of the brain” that he sees the rider he had killed return to save him from his fate and that he will ride alongside him “till kingdom come“. However, once the daydream is over, the man realizes that he will soon be dead and prays for mercy from God.

The device of escapism features at both the introduction and denouement of the song. In trying to escape the reality of the situation that faces him, he envisages that the events are merely dreams, both positive and negative. The former is illustrated more subtly than the latter; switching from the conditional tense to that of the present continuous when describing the events of his imagined rescue, and the swift progression to the personal realization before his ultimate demise (“I pray for god’s mercy, for soon I’ll be dead”).

The bridge that is repeated throughout the material is “I hung my head”, which, in its first invocations represents the grief and shame the man feels in reflection of his actions. The latter usage, which repeats the phrase until the end of the song suggests that the final act of the man hanging his head is not in shame or grief, but the act of him hanging in the gallows after being sentenced to death.