'Pearl Jam Twenty' Book Excerpt: '1994'
'Pearl Jam Twenty' Book Excerpt: '1994'

Early September

Rumors begin circulating on Usenet and the Pearl Jam forum on America Online that Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl has agreed to replace Dave Abbruzzese in Pearl Jam.

Dave Grohl: I never talked to anybody in the band about playing drums for them. They never asked, and it was never even a question or an issue. Just after Dave was kicked out, I was in New York, and I was walking down the street with my girl. Some guy walks up and goes, "Hey, Dave. Will you sign my drumhead?" So I signed it, and it had Dave Abbruzzese's signature on it. I said, "Oh, you've got Dave from Pearl Jam." And he goes, "Yeah, he's right up the street doing an in-store." So I said to my girl, "Let's go say hi." I didn't know that there were
rumors going around that I'd joined Pearl Jam. So I walk into this drum shop, and he's there signing shit. There's a line of people, and I walk past, and not really anybody recognizes me, and I'm like, "Hey, Dave. What's up?" And he looks at me like he'd seen a fucking ghost. He said, "Hey, is it true that the guys asked you to play drums for them?" And I'm like, "No! Why? Fuck no!" It was the weirdest timing.

October 1-2
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, California

Although no formal announcement is made that he's officially joined the band, former Red Hot Chili Peppers/Eleven drummer Jack Irons makes his first public appearance with Pearl Jam, playing during the band's second performance at Neil Young's annual Bridge School Benefit. On night one, the band plays "Let Me Sleep (It's Christmas Time)" from the 1991 fan club single for the only time to date. "Bee Girl," a song that Eddie Vedder and Jeff Ament had performed live on the air during their 1993 Rockline interview, is played for the first time the next night. Pearl Jam also offers stripped-down renditions of "Corduroy," "Not for You,"
and "Immortality" from the soon-to-be released Vitalogy album, and joins Young both nights to cover the song "Piece of Crap" from his then new album Sleeps with Angels.

Neil Young: We were making up verses on the spot. Eddie had some that were really great. That version of that song, there was something going on that I really enjoyed. It showed me what the possibilities were.

November 22
Pearl Jam's third studio album, Vitalogy, is issued on vinyl by Epic two weeks ahead of its CD release. The following week, the album debuts at no. 55 on the Billboard 200 after shifting thirty-five thousand copies, making it the first vinyl album to chart on sales in that format alone in more than a decade.

Michele Anthony: At that point in time, CD was all the rage, and most companies were not putting out vinyl on any releases. But it was very important to the band that the albums came out on vinyl. Pearl Jam was one of the first bands we made vinyl for in the nineties.

December
Jack Irons is officially hired as Pearl Jam's new drummer.

Jack Irons: Pearl Jam had many phases of drummers. Each of those times, I was in the mix with the conversation and had conversations with them. It was definitely an opportunity they made available to me on a few occasions. But they were taking off so fast and they were so big that I was scared of committing my life to it. I didn't fare too well in the Red Hot Chili Peppers after really intense touring. In '94, I had moved out of L.A. My longtime band Eleven had just finished a tour with Soundgarden. My son was three or four, and my wife and I had made a pact to get out of L.A. by the time he was of school age. I saved just enough money to get this cabin in Northern California. My wife moved us up there while Eleven was on tour with Soundgarden. I was there in June, July, and August. Then I heard Pearl Jam fired Dave, and I told my wife that maybe the time was right, and maybe those guys won't be touring like they did two years ago. So I reached out to Eddie and told him I'd like to get in the mix and give it a try. The difference in '94 was that I wasn't the only choice anymore. They were definitely going to have auditions, and each guy had a guy in mind they wanted to work with. But it helped me that I was Eddie's guy. When it got to the point where it looked like I was the most likely guy to get the gig, I spent a bunch of time with Stone. We rehearsed in his basement studio. We never really confirmed that I was totally in the band. I went and did the Bridge School shows, but I didn't really feel confirmed until we started touring a few months later.

Mike McCready: We tried out Richard Stuverud, Jack Irons, and Josh Freese. I wish we could've tried out Chris Friel, but we just didn't do it. We had great jams with them. With Richard, I remember having a fantastic jam in Stone's basement. I think Ed felt like Jack was the guy that kind of made it all happen, you know? Jack gave the tape that he got from Stone to Ed, so Ed wanted to repay that favor. Ed wanted that to happen, so it did, and we all liked him. He's a killer drummer.

December 6
Vitalogy is released on CD. The following week, it leaps to number one on the Billboard 200 after selling more than 877,000 copies in the United States, the second-largest opening-week sum only behind Vs., which sold a then record of more than 950,000. Vitalogy spends five consecutive weeks atop the chart.

From "Pearl Jam Twenty" by Pearl Jam. Copyright ©2011 by Monkeywrench, Inc., and Pearl Jam LLC. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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