Pearl Jam took a break from recording their new album on April 29th to play for one of their smallest audiences in years: Around 200 people gathered for the band's performance at Easy Street Records in West Seattle.
"Mike [McCready] and I used to buy a lot of rock records from Easy Street back in the mid-Eighties," says Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard of the show, which was part of a Coalition of Independent Music Stores convention. "We wanted to tip our hat to independent retailers: We're all aware of how important they are to the spirit of rock."
The show included the punky new song "Crapshoot," Pearl Jam oldies such as "Even Flow" and frontman Eddie Vedder dueting with X singer John Doe on his band's "The New World."
"It's the biggest honor that my store has ever had," says Easy Street owner Matt Vaughan. "As ridiculous as it seems that Pearl Jam would do an in-store, given that we're their neighborhood store it's a natural fit."
Pearl Jam are roughly three-quarters done with their eighth studio album, which the band hopes to release in the fall on a new label, J Records. "There's a sense that we've done something special," Gossard says. "Everyone's been writing and participating in it." He says that after almost fifteen years together, the band is closer than ever: "You realize how important your relationship is with your band, and how much you've learned from each other. You just become humbled and thankful that you were able to work it out."
This story is from the June 2nd, 2005 issue of Rolling Stone.