Eddie Vedder said Pearl Jam’s sudden rise to fame “wasn’t graceful” and that it felt like the band was struggling for survival.

The singer added that their decision to limit their exposure in the aftermath of debut album Ten’s success – by refusing promotional opportunities and not releasing more singles – was the reason they survived the early ‘90s.

“I felt that with more popularity we were going to be crushed, our heads were going to pop like grapes,” Vedder told Classic Rock in a recent interview. “I knew it wasn’t graceful, the way we were handling it. At the same time, it’s like being graceful in an alley fight. You’re just trying to get out of there alive. We held tight to each other and held tight to music.”

Guitarist Mike McCready recalled that "the decision to pull back and to not do videos and to slow down interviews, it was all about [bassist] Jeff [Ament] and [guitarist] Stone [Gossard] and Ed thinking it was necessary. Ed was getting way more scrutiny than anybody. It was probably overwhelming for him. It was for all of us at the time.”

He said he didn't want to “pull back” at the time, telling his bandmates, “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 own way. We made a lot of decisions that were counter to what the record label wanted us to do.”

 

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