Pearl Jam’s secret to 30 years of success? Follow the Grateful Dead’s footsteps

While following in the footsteps of the successful doesn’t guarantee success, it provides a pretty good outline when forming your own strategies. Ask Jeff Ament.

Foto: Joyce Davidse

I’m almost certain people have come to our shows, and the crowd has gone nuts, and they look to the super-fan to their left to ask what’s going on, and they’ll say, they’ve only played that song six times ever — that’s just amazing to me,” Jeff tells Variety. Ament experienced that magic himself when he saw the Grateful Dead for the first time in Las Vegas in May 1993, just days after Pearl Jam wrapped sessions for its second album, Vs.

As Ament recalls: “I went to those shows with a guy who worked with our trucking company. I wasn’t that familiar with the Dead at all, and a few times each night, the audience just erupted. He’d turn to me and say, oh, they haven’t played this song since 1971. It was incredible. It felt like the whole stadium knew they hadn’t played it since 1971. I thought, that’s what you want. That’s the crowd that any real, living, breathing band wants, because they’re going to push you into some places that keep you alive. Maybe it wasn’t the best version of that song, but it was the highlight of the day for a good chunk of that crowd.

Read the full interview to Jeff Ament on Variety.