Music — September 20, 2018 16:20 — 0 Comments

Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard on the “Home Shows”

It isn’t every day one of the world’s most famous and powerful rock ‘n’ roll bands takes a stand publically and loudly on an important social and political issue. But that’s exactly what Seattle’s Pearl Jam is doing. On Aug. 8th and 10th, the Hall of Fame grunge band will perform two sold out shows to benefit the Emerald City’s homeless community. Partnering with many prominent local businesses and celebrities – like Alaska Airlines and Seahawks QB, Russell Wilson, respectively – the band has raised over $10 million dollars along with a great deal of awareness for those living in and around the city without housing. I got a chance to talk with Pearl Jam co-founder, guitarist Stone Gossard, about the shows, why the band decided to get involved and what the group’s mission is with these two giant performances for a piece in Alaska Airlines Magazine. Below is the transcript of our conversation!

Why is it important to you personally to participate in these shows?

I think it’s the most obvious and pressing problem that the whole band sees all the time. It’s something that the city is clearly struggling with and if we can play a role in spotlighting the issue or bringing more resources to it, it’s something we all feel is very important. Plus, we haven’t played a show here at home in a few years, so our hope is we can all have some fun while we’re all doing some good.

How have you seen Seattle change over the years in regards to its homelessness problem?

It’s clearly gotten worse, there’s no question about it. Based on what we’ve learned so far, one of the biggest factors in why this crisis is growing is due to the cost of housing. Seattle is a very successful city right now. There are a lot of people who want to move here and there are a lot of businesses making a lot of money. The downside of that is that the cost of living is going way up. People who were just getting by on a certain amount a month for both food and rent, now aren’t able to keep up. With the cost of housing going up, it’s created a level where people cannot be successful anymore.

What do you believe are some of the contributing factors to the problem and how do you hope The Home Shows will help assuage them? 

I don’t think Pearl Jam has the answers to these problems. But what we hope to do is use this as a galvanizing force — as a spotlight and a megaphone to highlight groups that are already doing amazing work in this field, which we’ll be doing in the run up to the shows at PearlJam.com/TheHomeShows. We hope to put some pressure on our city, state and county officials to coordinate as much as they possibly can. And we want to raise money and have an impact at least in a small way. In the long run, I hope this effort is something that can continue even after these shows. Obviously, we are not going to solve this housing problem by August 11th. But hopefully some large decisions will be made and some strategies be outlined that will have a real impact over the next 5 years.

While these shows have the underlying charitable cause, they’re also something of a big celebration of music, the band and Seattle. What messages do you hope the audience absorbs during the performances?

The fact that we sold these shows out so quickly and so many people wanted to get tickets…we just can’t believe how lucky and how fortunate we are to have such loyal fans. And in your hometown. As my dad always says, “It’s hard to be a hero at home.” This is one of those situations where it’s working out.

 

Bio:

Jake Uitti is a founding editor of The Monarch Review.

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