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Once a week, goof and I get emails regarding Ed’s solo shows. Whether it’s a fan offering us a copy of “Hurt” from the 2008 East Coast leg, or someone looking for it, the influx of do-gooders and free-loaders is consistent. So why don’t we host this material if everyone’s looking for it? Well it’s a good question. Here comes the science:
First and foremost, the Ten Club has prohibited fan sites such as gremmie.net from hosting Ed solo shows. Much like the storied Birdman Sessions were, Ed solo shows are forbidden by Ten Club’s management. If they catch a site hosting the material, it’s immediately squashed. Two years ago gremmie.net [foolishly] tested the Ten Club’s resolve and hosted the 4/5/08 Santa Cruz show from Ed’s inaugural West Coast tour. Literally within minutes, we got an e-mail from Ten Clubber Rob Skinner (see also: Santos L. Halper) asking we take it down. He was polite, but appropriately firm. But there’s more to it than that.
The difference between Ed solo shows and the Birdman Sessions is that the former is a series of public recordings, whereas the latter are private. Despite best efforts, the Ten Club knew recordings of Ed’s solo shows would eventually find their way into the hands of Pearl Jam fans. It was as inevitable as the Bills not making the playoffs this year. With the Birdman Sessions however, it’s reasonable to assume they would have been kept private given the circumstances. Why not? Ed’s ukulele album has been kept from the public despite a small circulation amongst friends.
It’s been said by Tim Bierman that trying to contain an outbreak of verboten material is like a game of whack-a-mole. The moment you bop one down, two more pop up elsewhere. Before you know it you’re exhausted and no better off than where you started. Like Sisyphus and his rock it’s a frustrating, yet compulsory task. The lesson learned from the Birdman Sessions is that time has a way of taking the shine off the apple. The more time that’s elapsed from the date of a “release”, the more relaxed the attitude towards it. With Birdman it was five years. gremmie.net hosts it in plain view and we aren’t the only site to do so. Birdman threads on Synergy are no longer deleted by Kat and Sea. The once touchy subject now draws a yawn by fans. The mystery is gone.
Now, goof and I know that gremmies aren’t dummies. It isn’t difficult to find Ed’s solo material on the world wide web. For example, you could:
So if it’s easy to find Ed solo shows on the www and that the Ten Club will eventually acquiesce to their trading, why can’t gremmie.net just host the shows and cut out the bullshit? Well, goof and I view Ed’s solo shows as the line in the sand. Make no mistake, we’re aware of the irony of that statement given the sheer amount of “line-crossing” material we host (the b-sides, the live shows, the unreleased songs, etc.)
gremmie.net operates in the DMZ. In layman’s terms, a DMZ (demilitarized zone) is the space between two opposing forces. See also: No Man’s Land. See also: New Jersey. The two opposing forces are gremmie.net (but really Pearl Jam fans who, in this example, want to hear Ed solo) and the Ten Club (but really the will of the band). It’s a war of attrition, but instead of a grudge match it’s a looping, amicable game of pat-a-cake where one side always gets too tired or bored and gives up. The only drawback is that we have to play. Because gremmie.net functions as a Pearl Jam fan site, what we host is at the mercy of the Ten Club’s wishes. What’s the old adage? You can’t fight City Hall. More than that, the Ten Club has been kind in letting us know when we’re hosting something they’re unhappy with. It’s a relationship that’s slowly been built on trust. It’s in our best interest, and subsequently yours, to abide by their requests.
During the 2/9/11 All Encompassing Trip, (which you can find on gremmie radio) a fan explicitly asked what material is prohibited. Rob Skinner responded with a short list including the Ed solo shows, the Roskilde show, etc., but he went on to say that they have the legal right to take down much more material from fan sites. For example, this and this. What that tells me is that a) they could shut down 75% of gremmie.net’s audio tomorrow and b) they haven’t done so in the 4 years since we launched. The conclusion is pretty clear: the Ten Club is the Fonz – they’re cool and supportive, but they also have to be Mr. Cunningham and let you know when you’re out of line.
So, don’t expect us to start hosting Ed’s solo shows in the near future. We believe however, in time the fervent response of the Ten Club will diminish. Meanwhile, we recommend you try one of the three suggestions above. But then if you’re reading this, you probably already know that.