Pearl Jam are planning a live radio show in late January, according to singer Eddie Vedder. "We're ... planning on doing something on the radio, which is we signed up a satellite feed and it's open for anyone who wants to get it," Vedder said, indicating that any radio station would be able to pick up the latest edition of "Self-Pollution Radio" and air it for their listeners. The show is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 31.
During an interview conducted for SonicNet by the Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch on Dec. 5, which was put online last week,
Vedder said that the broadcast, the band's legal version of a pirate radio show, will be commercial-free and feature a few, still-unnamed bands playing live. Vedder also said the show will find him in the role of DJ, as he'll be "playing a track or two and talking about [Pearl Jam's] concerts and what's been happening and what's gonna happen. It's really an excellent opportunity, so the radio stations just pick it up, whoever wants it, they can pick it up on their own, so there's no formal limitations or parameters."
The group's new album, Yield, will be released Feb. 3; the first single, "Given To Fly," officially hits the airwaves on Dec. 22, but is already being played by modern rock stations like Live 105 in San Francisco where it is currently one of their most requested songs.
The phone conversation between Vedder and Yauch also featured an exchange where Yauch asked, "So you're, like, playing a gig and you're out of your house and then they just broadcast it?"
Vedder responded, "Yeah, you just send it out and I think they even pick it up in, like, Russia on short-wave."
Yauch then wondered out loud if the broadcast might be available in Tibet. Vedder replied that he'd look into it and "write [it] down on my list."
Pearl Jam first launched "Monkey Wrench" radio, as the gigs were then called, during their 1995 tour with a four-hour January broadcast from Seattle. During that free, non-exclusive show, Pearl Jam played live, Vedder announced that former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons would be joining the group, Vedder aired a few then-new, unreleased tracks by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl (who had yet to launch the Foo Fighters) and treated fans to songs by pals Soundgarden, Mudhoney and Mad Season. The Monkey Wrench crew also followed the group around on tour that year, broadcasting original shows from a van outside certain venues.
On Thursday, Metallica will offer their own version of self-produced radio with "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You," during which the heavy metal group will play live, call fans, play records and have special guests. That show will be aired on radio stations all over the U.S.
Some PJ fans have been so anxious to hear the 13 tracks on Yield before the official February release date that they've posted versions of the songs on various websites -- both live recordings and studio takes. Alexandra Walsh, V.P. of media relations for the Recording Industry Association of America, said on Monday that the organization had contacted a few sites over the weekend and requested that they take down near-CD-quality MP3 files of as-yet-unreleased PJ songs. "Our surfers began looking for Pearl Jam sites on Friday and quickly located a couple that still had songs from the Pearl Jam album up," Walsh said.
Walsh said all the webmasters who were contacted quickly complied with requests to take down the songs. Josh Wardell, a Syracuse University student, was contacted by PJ's record company, Epic Records, last Wednesday evening after executives got word that portions of three studio versions of new songs were available on his site. "It's important that people understand that record companies take this seriously and that there's a difference between fan sites, and the unsanctioned downloading of [entire] songs that are CD-quality, unreleased versions," Walsh said. "As echoed by management, this is robbing the artist of the ability to present their material in the fashion they want to at the appropriate time."
RIAA surfers will continue to monitor Pearl Jam sites, Walsh said. "These fan sites have a way of popping up, so we'll keep a watchful eye out for any new ones." [Mon., Dec. 15, 1997, 6:00 p.m. PDT]