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Pearl Jam fans are the best, but also they’re the worst. For every fan chipping in at a Wishlist Foundation fundraiser, there are ten complaining about the new ticketing system. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, guess which camp you fall into? When we first started writing this article, there were 5 types we wanted to tell you about. But we asked our fans on Facebook and got more than 100 responses, so we added a couple more. So thanks gremmies. Here’s the top five seven worst Pearl Jam fans you know.
Story Toppers: everyone knows what a story topper is right. No? Well let’s say I’m telling a story to a friend – let’s call him goof – about the time his Mom gave me a blow job while he was distracted watching a Hartford Whalers retrospective on ESPN. And how it was so good, no teeth, and that she cupped the balls just right until I exploded all over her ironic “Mr. Mom” apron. If goof followed my story with his own about the time my sister gave him a blow job, no teeth, ball cupping, etc. but ALSO said that it happened while he was eating a cheeseburger and taking a two-sey (classic blumpkin) – goof would be a story topper.
Pearl Jam story toppers are worse (especially if you know what my sister looks like). Remember that time you waited in line at Tower Records for two days in 2006 to get tickets to secret Irving Plaza show? The great Pearl Jam fans you met and became lifelong friends with? Meeting Clive Davis as he handed out doughnuts to everyone in line? Seeing Pearl Jam in their prime at a 1,000 seat venue? The twinkle in your eye as you tell the story is a juicy bone to the hungry Story Topper; you don’t know it yet but he’s about to one up you. Your once-in-a-lifetime Pearl Jam story just a spring board to his delusional, wayward fantasy because he saw Pearl Jam play a private birthday party in 1990 Seattle between shows at the Off Ramp. Oh yeah and they played “Girl” and “Brother” during the encore. And not only did he get drunk with Eddie and Mike afterward, but he built a makeshift basketball hoop in the driveway and went two-on-one against Jeff Ament and party guest Shawn Kemp. Guess who won? If you said Jeff and Shawn, just close the browser, this article is lost on you.
B-Sides Enthusiasts: B-Side enthusiasts are terrible insofar as their love of B-Sides discounts the inherent value of A-Sides. You’ve seen these guys at shows (goof and gremmie), Pearl Jam could perform a high energy, 40-song setlist, but if it doesn’t include Black, Red, Yellow, Sweet Lew, or Hitchhiker, then the show sucks. SUCKS. Mike could light his guitar on fire (literally) while playing the Evenflow solo behind his head and juggling kittens like hackey sacks, but the B-Side enthusiast will remain unimpressed. He would have rather the band play Strangest Tribe with Boom on the organ. Boom. On. Organ. Microsoft Word should prevent users from typing that sentence or force it to display, “Boom killed Riot Act.” instead. Now that would be something.
The B-Sides Enthusiast is a Pearl Jam fan’s version of rooting for the underdog, the one that didn’t make the cut, the unloved and barely obliged. Make no mistake, there’s nothing wrong with rooting for the underdog. Underdog stories have a built-in “awww” factor, like prostitutes. And who doesn’t like a good prostitute? But B-Sides are b-sides for a reason: the majority aren’t great. And even if you disagree with that statement, you can’t argue that Bee Girl is better than Alive.
Audiophiles: most Pearl Jam fans can tell the difference between a lossless audio file like FLAC and a compressed one like MP3. This is especially true if the MP3 quality is low. But the thing is most people don’t give a shit. Audiophiles might ask: is the MP3 128kbs or 320kbs? Um, how about this: does it fit on my iPhone with the other 10,000 songs I have? Check. Good enough for me and the other 99% of humanity.
The worst of the audiophiles are the Tapers. Wait. Let’s back up a moment. Tapers are great in that they take the time and effort to capture a band’s performance with intent of distributing it amongst other fans. Back in the day, they called these guys losers because hey just enjoy the show, but the times are a changin’ and where would we be without them? What I can’t wrap my head around are the rules Tapers arbitrarily impose on fans who obtain their work. A common rule amongst Tapers (who of course ONLY use lossless) is “Don’t Covert to MP3”. Don’t convert to MP3? OMG FUCK YOU. That’d be giving a loaf of bread that you didn’t bake to a starving man and telling him that he can only eat it if he’s toasts it and then spreads it with butter and strawberry jam. It’s my bread now mother fucker, I’ll eat it as I please.
Once you let it go, it’s no longer yours. Think about it: if Pearl Jam fans strictly abided by the Tapers’ rules not covert to mp3, there would literally be no accessible, live Pearl Jam available prior to 2000. Would you rather that Mr. Taper? Now no one can listen to early Pearl Jam. Are you really that selfish? Was it worth blowing the sound guy so you and your 4 friends could listen to the soundboard for MSG II 1998? It was? Fine, but you got something on your lip.
On a side note, if you happen to be an untethered audiophile and need a place to lay your gnarled, pedantic maw, then head over to the Red Mosquito Forum, you’ll fit right in.
Poster Pornographer: there are two types of poster pornographers. The first is the guy who owns 50 framed posters, all of which are hung on the walls in his 600 square foot apartment because the baby doesn’t need diapers it needs a Munk One nightmare machine. He can explain why the MSG 2008 night one blue version is better than the night two red version, even though they’re just palette swaps. If he’s an artist you can expect a dribble of “art theory” to back up his explanation, as if personal preference weren’t as important as “Post Modern Color Wheels”. You can fault this guy for being passionate about something so tertiary, like a baseball fan being passionate about the food stands at the stadium. But they’re not as bad as the second type.
The second is the guy who doesn’t like Pearl Jam as much as he likes bathing his greasy, naked husk in a tub full of Benjamins. He comes to shows with a wad of illicit cash to buy as many posters as each merch table will permit. Their strategy is simple, buy as many posters from one merch table, move on to the next one. I’ve seen it happen. Shady twats buying 5 at a clip at one side of the table then moving to other side where a different jockey is hawking merch. The new jockey doesn’t recognize the poster pornographer and sells him another 5. Once he’s got 10 posters, he’s off to the next merch table no more than 20 yards away. These people are literally the worst human beings in the world because they flip their ill-gotten gains on eBay for 10 times the base price.
Fanboys: discretion is not a word in the fanboy’s dictionary. Every show, every side project, every decision the band has ever made – all of it should be lauded or otherwise rationalized to where Pearl Jam is rendered blameless. Jeff Ament’s “Tone”? Incredibly deep and nuanced. 1995 anti-Ticketmaster US tour? Pioneers! Constant Facebook updates? The band is in touch with their fanbase! Adding “Sleeping By Myself” to “Lightning Bolt”? Remakes are always better! Recording albums digitally instead of analog? This is the future and Brendan O’ Brien is a trendsetter! Ukulele Songs? Well there’s no defending Ukulele Songs. You may have noticed a trend.
In a Pearl Jam fan’s brain, there’s a modicum of objective reasoning. That space in a Fanboy’s brain is occupied by a logic loop that looks like this:
- Problem: Criticism or potential Pearl Jam fault.
- Qualification: Is it reasonable? It is unreasonable.
- Answer: Pearl Jam is perfect.
It’s a mystery why the fanboy goes left where everyone else goes right. Maybe it’s a mutation? Not like the X-Men though, more like an asshole mutation. I mean it’s not like Fanboys can bend metal with their minds, just bullshit.
There’s a line from Tommy Boy that cuts to the chase, “Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time.” Point being if you can’t recognize a dump in a box for what it is (a dump in a box), maybe it’s time to get your nose checked because pretty soon you’re gonna smell like shit and everyone will know but you.
Bros.: they throw the most ridiculous parties during college, but also throw their beer in your face at Pearl Jam shows. Why? Because you kept correcting the lyrics they were singing (this makes you a Lyric Nazi, but that’s for another article). “Her legs spread out before me?” Come on. Perhaps in the context of their lives, that version of the lyric from Black just made more sense to the Bros. Of course when you correct them, you mutter under your breath because you’re familiar with the irrational ire of dumb-dumbs. But unbeknownst to you the Bros. are drinking O’Douls because they’re now in AA after blacking out every weekend in college next to their bro Lance, or Dylan, or Tyler and waking up with a sore bunghole. So drunk they are not, just retarded.
The upside is that through their stupidity shines “the bro-ness”; a latent homosexual camaraderie. If they like you (which is decided arbitrarily), they’ll put their arm around you and fist pump during the “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” part of Alive. They may buy you a beer (remember, O’Douls) during the piss-break song “Small Town”. You may even enjoy yourself as your guard comes down and the bro-ness permeates your natural cynicism. Just remember to say “No thanks.” when they ask you back to their hotel room after the show, because if there’s one thing a bro knows it’s how to slip a roofie into a drink unnoticed.
Senior Ten Clubber: what is it about having an incredibly low Ten Club number, say lower than 50,000, that makes their owners so entitled, and vocal in their complaints about Pearl Jam’s idiosyncrasies? It’s as if they think the money they’ve spent over the years on Ten Club membership somehow entitles them to a seat at the table. This type is the reason Pearl Jam started doing a “row lottery” for rows 1 and 2, and 9 and 10. Basically, the band grew tired of seeing the same bored faces in the front rows night after night. Must be difficult to be 3 feet away from the best band in the world, drinking Ed’s wine, catching Mike’s pics, being sweated on by Matt Cameron (it travels). It wouldn’t surprise me if the uproar over the row lottery was met at the Ten Club HQ with a performance on the world’s tiniest violin, key of F.
The deplorable qualities of this type are exacerbated when the member let their low number lapse, and then signed up again only to see it quadruple. Lapsers (is a word according to MS Office) have all the qualities of the above, but also a keen bitterness for whatever woebegone reason their membership lapsed in the first place. Maybe their cat got hit by a runaway dog, or they went to college and were too drunk to remember (see Bros. above); whatever the reason they forgot and now have to sit with the rest of us (full disclosure: my number is, and always has been 198,000).
Don’t fret gremmies, we’re not always cynical. The next High 5 we write will be about the Best Pearl Jam fans.