The band has shipped its annual Christmas gift to Ten Club members and this year’s 45 features a cover of Mother Love Bone’s “Crown of Thorns” and the Elvis Presley classic “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Two years ago PJ’s Christmas treat for fans became one of their biggest hits with a cover of J. Frank Wilson’s “Last Kiss.” The band eventually released the single on a benefit album for Kosovo refugees.
The Mother Love Bone cover marks an interesting look back for the band. As most fans know, Mother Love Bone was one of Pearl Jam’s precursors. Both Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard were founders of the early Seattle band, which was fronted by Andrew Wood. The group formed in 1988 and disbanded in 1990, just before the group’s debut album Apple was released, when Wood died of a heroin overdose. The original take on “Crown of Thorns” was featured on the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe’s Singles, as well as on Stardog Champion, a collection of MLB material released after Pearl Jam released their debut album.
This year’s fan club single features holiday-themed art work — two doves flying by in a star filled sky — by Jeff Ament; the accompanying newsletter reveals some of the band’s plans for the future. Guitarist Mike McCready will release another record by his side project, the Rockfords, next year. As for Pearl Jam, McCready said, “I don’t think we will be Pearl Jamming anytime soon, maybe in April?” In the meantime, fans will have to be content with the twenty-three bootlegs due out on Jan. 30 from the band’s North American tour.