From 1988 to 1989, future Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder recorded a few four-song demo tapes that are fairly well-known among the hardcore fans. The earliest tapes were solo recordings, and the latter ones came out of recording sessions with his pre-PJ San Diego band Bad Radio. These recordings have made their way online over the years, as some of the old cheap tapes that Vedder would buy in bulk made it into the hands of collectors with the tools to digitize them.
In addition to a group of originals (which included a very early version of Betterman), the tapes in circulation also included a somber cover of Bruce Springsteen’s One Step Up, an early indicator of Vedder’s fondness for The Boss.
It’s been a long time since anything “new” has surfaced, but Antiquiet recently came into possession of a direct copy of a tape that Eddie dubbed for a co-worker at his old job at San Diego Petroleum, somewhere in range of late 1989 or early 1990. On it we found thirteen tracks, including a couple entirely “new” recordings (to the PJ fanbase at least), a few familiar ones, and most substantially, far more listenable dubs of both 1989 Bad Radio demos.
In addition to cleaner-sounding recordings than anything we’ve heard before, other gems on the tape worth mentioning are a falsetto-laden karaoke-machine cover of Something Inside So Strong, a track made famous by Kenny Rogers, as well as a brief, lighthearted cover of Sam Cooke’s Wonderful World. Fans seeing I’m Alive on the tracklist shouldn’t confuse the boisterous and rather comical track with Pearl Jam’s signature single Alive, as this particular song takes issue with rap music and profound lyrical expectations rather than an Oedipal tale of a fatherless child.
Know what’s cooler than streaming? Having the songs for yourself. Download the Vedder demos.
Antiquiet loves you.
UPDATE: Lawyers, not so much. We’ve removed these tracks at the kind request of Vedder & PJ’s representatives.