How Pearl Jam + Red Hot Chili Peppers Were Connected From the Beginning
Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers undoubtedly have shared history. But how much do their tales converge?
For rock fans unfamiliar with the story, it might be surprising to learn that the two groups have been somewhat dependent on each other over the years. Even though Pearl Jam hail from rainy Seattle, at one time seen as the world's grunge capital, and the Chili Peppers come from sunny Los Angeles. RHCP also formed almost a whole decade earlier than Pearl Jam. So just how are they connected?
Going back to Pearl Jam's 1990 inception, one learns that early Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons played a pivotal role in bringing then-SoCal dweller Eddie Vedder to the attention of Seattle rockers Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. The two musicians' demos paired with Vedder's vocals formed the basis of Pearl Jam and their debut, Ten. After Irons left Chili Peppers, he became Pearl Jam's drummer for a period in the late '90s.
Now, 30 years after the Seattle group was established, onetime Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer is a touring member of Pearl Jam. He recently discussed the link between the two big rock bands.
"The Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam have a long, intertwined history," Klinghoffer explained to Guitar World. "The Chili Peppers took Pearl Jam out on one of their first tours back in 1991. Jack Irons — the original drummer of the Chili Peppers — connected Eddie with Stone and Jeff in Seattle. And then Jack Irons went on to become the drummer in Pearl Jam for a little bit."
He added, "Basically, the Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam have just been close."
Klinghoffer continued, "At some point, [Pearl Jam and I] connected. It was 2016 that I really saw them more — we did the same festival in New Orleans. We became a little closer over time, did some gigs with [Pearl Jam guitarist] Mike McCready for various charities, and Eddie came down and played the benefit fundraiser for [Chili Peppers bassist] Flea's music school."
Klinghoffer currently records solo as Pluralone. The former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist, who contributed to the RHCP albums I'm With You (2011) and The Getaway (2016), still keeps in touch with the Chili Peppers' members. He frequently performs with Peppers drummer Chad Smith in various capacities.
"I hadn't seen [RHCP singer] Anthony [Kiedis] until the other day," Klinghoffer said. "I ran into him at Chad Smith's birthday. But we text. I play fantasy basketball with Flea — he and I are in contact often. And then I've had the good fortune of just continuing to work with Chad a lot in the last two years doing some records."
The Chili Peppers are currently working on a new album with returning guitarist John Frusciante and will tour in 2022. Pearl Jam's latest, Gigaton, came out last year.
Want to learn more about early grunge and alternative rock? Watch the latest installment of Loudwire's 30 Years of Grunge series, "How Grunge Changed Rock 'n' Roll," below.