In an interview with Louder Sound, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready talked about the band’s struggles with fame after releasing the album ‘Ten’ and explained what Eddie Vedder did to get through it.
When Pearl Jam’s album ‘Ten’ was released in 1991, it wasn’t successful right away, but it was heard and appreciated a year later. Its influence suddenly grew and took its place as No. 2 on Billboard 200. The album featured numerous songs that later became Pearl Jam’s signature tracks, like ‘Jeremy.’
By 2013, the album was still very successful and received 13x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. However, in the ’90s, this success turned into a curse due to the amount of sudden attention they had received.
The entire album’s lyricist and vocalist, Eddie Vedder, was the receiver of all the positive and negative comments from their fans. The music, increasing number of interviews, and video shootings seemed to affect Vedder’s psychology negatively, so the band eventually decided to take a break.
McCready stated the solution for the band’s overwhelming experience, saying:
“The decision to pull back and to not do videos and to slow down interviews, it was all about Jeff and Stone and Ed thinking it was necessary. And Ed was getting way more scrutiny than anybody. It was probably overwhelming for him. It was for all of us at the time. But I remember not wanting to pull back, saying: ‘This is what we’ve wanted since we were kids. Let’s keep doing this. Let’s do videos, let’s keep going, let’s embrace this.’ But they weren’t into it. They said: ‘No, we’ve got to because this is all gonna fall apart if we don’t.‘
And I think they were right. I feel like we’re still around today maybe because of that first major decision to try to do it our way. We made a lot of decisions that were counter to what the record label wanted us to do: ‘You’ve got to do a video for Black or you’ll never sell any more records.’ Which I remember was a thing with them. But it’s like, yeah, that didn’t happen. So we were lucky, but it was our decision: pull back, five against one; let’s huddle in our stagecoaches and try to figure out what all this is.”
McCready said that all members were dealing with increased attention but stressed Vedder’s situation because it was more intense. The guitarist didn’t think that pulling out from videos and interviews was a good decision initially. However, the rest of the band thought they would fall apart if they didn’t take a break. Eventually, McCready realized that it was a good decision and why they’re still around to this day.