Pearl Jam Twenty
Where will we go if we don't know where we came from?
I watched Pearl Jam Twenty over the weekend. Pearl Jam is a band that was the inception of my teenage years and introduced me to some of the most amazing people I have the pleasure of knowing. These people, whether they knew it or not, lifted me up in a time (high school) when I was so lost. They introduced me to a whole new world. A world where I could have an opinion. A world where I could find friendship, love, life and everything in between.
This girl walked up to me one day - as I was somberly sitting in front of my locker at 15. All my 'friends' had ostracized me. I had no one. She walked up to me and said 'Omg, Eddie Vedder is so hot.' My reply 'Where is he? Is he a jock? Show me!' Thinking that he was a student who went to our high school. She laughed and said 'Come on, let's go have a smoke.....' She was wearing this t-shirt....
The first album I got my paws on was Ten. Everything on this album was basically giving a voice to a generation. My generation. Speaking to youth that was not represented at that time in the media. All of a sudden the disaffected kids who weren't buying into the 'yellow brick road' route, had a group of musicians who articulated their feelings through music. It was a soundtrack to life. It was the soundtrack to my life. Which sounds hokey. But, literally, played in my headphones on the daily. Soothed the disconnected feelings I felt and in turn made me feel a little less disconnected. Songs like: Deep, Black, Jeremy, Release - these songs cannot be replicated. Cannot be duplicated. It's pretty much a Blade Runner type situation for me. As I have followed their career over twenty years, at times, they were the water that filled the space between the pebbles of my mind. Flowing in between, sometimes taking up more space than before and sometimes less. A relationship.
Later, songs of deep importance and weight in my heart (in no particular order): State of Love and Trust, Daughter, Elderly Woman...., Rearviewmirror, Can't Keep, Yellow Ledbetter, Let Me Sleep, Given To Fly, I Got ID, Hail, Hail, In My Tree, Dirty Frank, Wash, Hard To Imagine, Masters of War, Crazy Mary, Of The Girl......they are all there as tattoos on the Rand McNally of my life.
The documentary (PJ20 directed by Cameron Crowe) chronicles their career. How they came together. How they became successful. Their influences. Their tragedies. How affected they all were from the monstrosity of fame that, at some points, crushed their vibe. And at some points forced reactions and tempted breaks - yet, somehow, they remain. True. Together. Which, I think, is the most beautiful thing of all. This band, among other things, helped shape me into the person that I am today. Their political outcries. The issues that they decided to take on, is really incendiary. Them as individuals, them as a band, them as human beings in the world; are inspirational. The melodies. The lyrics. The energy. The imprint they have left and will leave, in the world, is the most graceful tear that hangs inside my soul forever. That was a Jeff Buckley lyric.
If I could, I would tell them it mattered. All of it. Every lyric. Every guitar riff. Every bass line. Every drum beat. Every period of time they decided to take space. Every moment they stopped singing and lifted a crowd so high that we sang it for you. They held up a mirror of emotions and experiences and we answered with a 'me too.'
I would say thank you. For being the catalyst in meeting my friends. For just being a band to love. For articulating nostalgia in a way that could have never been predicted. Over a span of time that they could have never anticipated.
I dream in color
I dream in red