The 'Evolution' Will Be Televised

Pearl Jam return to MTV for the first time in six years

Pearl Jam perform at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards.
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Pearl Jam performing at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards.
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Welcome back to the machine. To promote their current single, "Do the Evolution," from their latest album, Yield, Pearl Jam have made their first video since 1992's "Jeremy." Described by the band as a "cool stoner video," the animated clip – which recounts the entire history of man in a frantic four minutes – was conceived by Vedder and Todd McFarlane, creator of the Spawn comic book and TV show. Pearl Jam have also just released a home video called Single Video Theory, which was shot by "Jeremy" director Mark Pellington and contains performance footage and interviews conducted by director Cameron Crowe.

According to McFarlane, Vedder came to him with a rough concept, which the two fine-tuned. "We just banged our heads together," McFarlane says. "Eddie tends to go to the darker side of things. That's why I liked him so much."

Yield has been out for seven months and has sold 1.2 million copies, more than 1996's No Code but far less than the band's earlier albums (Vs., for example, sold more than 6 million copies domestically). "I think Epic was bugging them to do a video," McFarlane surmises. "A video every six years is a bit of a compromise, and everybody's ecstatic that it exists. But one of the rules was, Pearl Jam didn't want to be in it. An animated clip absolved them of that."

This story is from the October 1st, 1998 issue of Rolling Stone.

From The Archives Issue 796: October 1, 1998