Vs. is the sound of a band on fire. The same confluence of talent, passion, timing, and fate that made “grunge” the world's soundtrack also lit a short fuse beneath Pearl Jam. The band combusted between late 1992 and mid-1994, the span during which they planned, recorded, and supported their sophomore record. The spotlight, the pressure, the pace-it all nearly turned the thriving act to ash.
Eddie Vedder, the reluctant public face of the band, responded by lashing out lyrically. Jeff Ament, Mike McCready, and Stone Gossard, who beheld success with varying degrees of anxious satisfaction, attacked their instruments in solidarity. Dave Abbruzzese welcomed the rock-star lifestyle, and left his mark on the record with more than just potent percussion.
Vs. roils with fury-and at times, gently steams-over the trappings of fame, human faults, and societal injustice. The record is a thrashing testament to Pearl Jam's urgent creativity and greater-good interests, and the band's logistical calculations behind it drew a career-defining line in the sand. It promised the world that Pearl Jam would neither burn out nor fade away. This book weaves research, little-known details, and band members' memories into a definitive account of how Vs. set them on a path toward enduring integrity and relevance.