The Reason Eddie Vedder And Pearl Jam Were Considered As Sellouts
Pearl Jam has become one of the most popular and commercially successful rock bands in the world since they released their debut studio album entitled ‘Ten’ on August 27, 1991. The band was described as one of the most influential rock bands and also one of the most famous American rock & roll bands of the ’90s. Pearl Jam members, especially its frontman Eddie Vedder, gained great fame and wealth thanks to their breakthrough in their first album.
As a band that hit the Seattle rock scene with ‘Ten,’ Pearl Jam wrote and composed the works that were seen as the most popular grunge songs which is an alternative rock music genre. However, Pearl Jam’s musical journey was very different than the other bands’ careers like Nirvana, who became famous after releasing some records which were listened to by a few people that discovered them in one of their shows in Seattle.
The Seattle Grunge Scene
Grunge is an alternative rock music genre that emerged during the mid-1980s, especially in Seattle. The bands combined the elements and styles of punk rock and heavy metal in their records. The songs’ main themes consisted of harsh and challenging subjects such as social and emotional isolation, psychological trauma, self-doubt, abuse, neglect, and betrayal that affected both the songwriters and their fans.
Even though there were other early works that belonged to the grunge genre, it can be said that the Seatle grunge scene became popular thanks to Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind,’ Pearl Jam’s ‘Ten,’ Soundgarden’s ‘Superunknown,’ Alice in Chains’ ‘Dirt,’ and Stone Temple Pilots’ ‘Core.’ Pearl Jam drew the greater attention than the other bands in a very short time and this led to a backlash from the other bands from Seattle.
Pearl Jam And Eddie Vedder Were Defined As ‘Sellouts’
After ‘Ten’s great commercial success and popularity, Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder started to be seen as sellouts who were betraying the grunge genre to gain more money and fame. Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain stated that he doesn’t want to be put in the same category as Pearl Jam by describing the band as ‘pioneering a corporate alternative and cock-rock fusion’ in one of the interviews that he joined.
Although later Kurt Cobain clarified his statement by adding that he aimed to target the record companies, not Pearl Jam itself, the other musicians kept criticizing the band. According to the journalist Charles R. Cross, who is the author of Kurt Cobain’s autograph entitled ‘Heavier Than Heaven,’ the reason behind this harsh criticism against them was because they were not following the rules which were releasing ‘crappy’ singles and performing shows that no one watched.
In Cross’ words, he said:
“They were criticized by Kurt Cobain and others as careerists, but every band in town wanted success. For some reason, the populism of Pearl Jam — writing anthematic rock, striving to be a band that gets on the radio — these were things that, in Seattle, were not the way people acted.
You were supposed to play a bunch of shows nobody saw, release three or four crappy singles on alternative labels and not be a success, and then breakthrough. Pearl Jam didn’t follow those rules.“
“Any conversations we hear about ‘So who is Pearl Jam marketing to?’ are despicable. People offered us money to sell out but do I look like a whore?
It’s always about being honest and the positive side of the huge success for whatever negatives there were, was that it gave us the power to say no and be able to commit to making decisions on our own and stick by them.”
Thus, Eddie Vedder answered these claims about Pearl Jam’s immediate breakthrough and songs that could be heard on every radio during the 90s saying that he’s not a whore and people shouldn’t label Pearl Jam as a sellout. Vedder emphasized that their huge success helped them be free to create whatever and whenever they want. The frontman thinks that they broke the grunge’s main rules for the sake of freedom and independence.