Saturday, September 30, 2023

Pearl Jam - Black, Red, Yellow (1998)

Pearl Jam formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1990, and were one of the key bands in the grunge movement of the early 1990's. Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament were members of grunge band Green River during the mid-1980's, and after they disbanded in 1987, Gossard and Ament began playing with Malfunkshun vocalist Andrew Wood, eventually organizing the band Mother Love Bone, who released their debut album 'Apple' in 1990 on the PolyGram record label. In March 1990 Wood died of a heroin overdose, which devastated Ament and Gossard, and caused Mother Love Bone to fall apart, with Gossard spending his time afterwards writing material that was harder-edged than what he had been doing previously. After a few months he started practicing with fellow Seattle guitarist Mike McCready, whose band, Shadow, had broken up, and McCready in turn encouraged Gossard to reconnect with Ament, and after practicing for a while, the trio sent out a five-song demo tape in order to find a singer and a drummer. They gave former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons the demo to see if he would be interested in joining the band, but he passed on the invitation and gave the demo to his friend Eddie Vedder. Vedder was the lead vocalist for the San Diego band Bad Radio, and after listening to the tape he recorded vocals to three of the songs and sent it back to the trio, who were impressed enough to fly Vedder up to Seattle for an audition, and within a week Vedder had joined the band. 
With the addition of Dave Krusen on drums, the band took the name Mookie Blaylock, and opened for Alice in Chains at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, before signing to Epic Records and renaming themselves Pearl Jam. The band entered Seattle's London Bridge Studios in March 1991 to record their debut album 'Ten', but Krusen left the band in May after checking himself into rehabilitation for alcoholism, and he was replaced by Matt Chamberlain, who had previously played with Edie Brickell & New Bohemians. After playing only a handful of shows, Chamberlain left, but suggested Dave Abbruzzese as his replacement, who joined and played the rest of the band's live shows supporting 'Ten'. The album was slow to sell, but by the second half of 1992 it became a breakthrough success, being certified gold and reaching number two on the Billboard charts. With the success of 'Ten', Pearl Jam became a key member of the Seattle grunge explosion, along with Alice in Chains, Nirvana, and Soundgarden, although Nirvana's Kurt Cobain considered them to be commercial sell-outs. The band headed into the studio in early 1993 facing the challenge of following up the commercial success of their debut, and on 19 October 1993 they released their second album 'Vs.', which sold 950,378 copies in its first week. 
The group wrote and recorded while touring behind 'Vs.', and the majority of the tracks for third album 'Vitalogy' were recorded during breaks on the tour. After they had finished the recording of 'Vitalogy', drummer Dave Abbruzzese was fired, and he was replaced by Jack Irons, who had recommended Vedder to the rest of the band some four years prior. Irons made his debut with the band at Neil Young's 1994 Bridge School Benefit, and 'Vitalogy' was released at the end of 1994, with the CD selling more than 877,000 units in its first week. In the same year, Pearl Jam backed Neil Young, whom the band had noted as an influence, on his album 'Mirror Ball', although contractual obligations prevented the use of the band's name anywhere on the record, and two songs from the sessions were left off 'Mirror Ball', with 'I Got Id' and 'Long Road' being released separately by Pearl Jam as the 1995 EP 'Merkinball'. Following the round of touring for 'Vitalogy', the band went into the studio to record 'No Code', which was released in 1996, and was seen as a deliberate break from their sound since recording 'Ten', favouring experimental ballads and noisy garage rockers. 
It seems that the recruitment of Jack Irons had given the band the impetus to experiment with their sound, and this is evident on the b-sides to the singles taken from 'No Code', and also on the Christmas singles that the band gave to their fans in 1996 and 1997. Three out-takes have since surfaced from the 'No Code' sessions, and there were also a couple of notable live recordings from that period, of songs which the band never recorded in the studio. 'Out Of My Mind' emerged from an encore of an Atlanta show in 1994, when the band decided to simply make up a song on the spot, and the result was the jammed-out 'Out Of My Mind', which they released as the b-side to 'Not For You' the following year, while 'Falling Down' was played only one time, in the summer of 1995 in Colorado. As the addition of Jack Irons to the line-up seems to have spurred on this new introspective and experimental sound, here is a collection of songs which feature him, including b-sides, out-takes, Christmas singles, the full 'Merkinball' EP and those two live recordings, all from his tenure with the band from 1994 to 1998.   

Track listing

01 All Night (out-take from 'No Code' 1996)
02 Leatherman (b-side of 'Given To Fly' 1997)
03 Falling Down (live at Red Rocks 1995) 
04 Black, Red, Yellow (b-side of 'Hail, Hail' 1996)
05 I Got Id (from 'Merkinball' EP 1995)
06 Olympic Platinum (1996 Christmas single)
07 U (b-side of 'Wishlist' 1998)
08 Long Road (from 'Merkinball' EP 1995)
09 Sunburn (out-take from 'No Code' 1996)
10 Dead Man (b-side of 'Off He Goes' 1996)
11 Happy When I'm Crying (1997 Christmas single)
12 Out Of My Mind (b-side of 'Not For You' 1995)
13 Don't Gimme No Lip (out-take from 'No Code' 1996)

Thanks to Ernesto for the suggestion.


  1. Thanks, but I can't seem to find this on Soulseek...

  2. This collection came out fantastic! Awesome job as always! Great communicating with you! - Ernesto