I love Pearl Jam. Really, I do. There was a brief period in junior or senior year of high school when I used to rag on my best friend for worshipping the ground they walked on, but then he lent me his tape of Ten and my teenage mind was blown. Although they’ve had their moments that have left me befuddled (hello, No Code), I am a fan to this day, not least because I feel like Eddie Vedder has one of the most soulful voices in current popular music. Backspacer was a work of genius, and I can’t wait to hear the next thing they have up their sleeve.
Back in 1996, Pearl Jam was the biggest rock band in America. OK, Hootie & the Blowfish was the biggest rock band in America, but Pearl Jam was the biggest “credible” rock band in America. Bigger than U2. Bigger than R.E.M. So, it wasn’t surprising that they won the Best Hard Rock Performance Grammy for “Spin the Black Circle”. It also wasn’t surprising that during their acceptance speech, Eddie Vedder basically shit on the institution of the Grammys. While a lot of people gave him props at the time for saying what a ton of other people felt, it begged the question: Eddie, if the Grammy Awards don’t mean anything to you, why go to the presentation in the first place? It’s like people who watch the entire 3 hours of the show and complain the whole way about how crap it is. Hey idiot! JUST DON’T WATCH THE GODDAMN SHOW!!
(BTW, it’s also interesting to note drummer Dave Abruzzezze being thanked. After all, wasn’t he kicked out of the band the year before?)
Look, I’m not here to defend the Grammy Awards. I have no reason to. For me, it’s an interesting show to watch and nothing else. However, I’m sure a lot of musicians appreciate the respect from their peers (after all, only other music industry types vote for these awards), and despite Eddie’s sourpuss antics 15 years ago, I wouldn’t be surprised if the older, more mature Eddie Vedder has that award sitting on a mantelpiece somewhere now.