"Eddie Vedder is running the shop today": the time the Pearl Jam frontman reported for duty at his local record store

Eddie Vedder
(Image credit: Lester Cohen/Getty Images)

When Pearl Jam cancel shows, you know that something must be up. The Seattle legends have never been afraid to put in a shift when required, as demonstrated the time that frontman Eddie Vedder hopped behind the counter at his local record store because they were short-staffed.

It was 1995 and Pearl Jam were at the height of their fame. Vedder had been having a torrid time of it, struggling with the glare of the limelight, but it hadn’t put him off going crate-digging in his favourite record store, West Seattle’s Easy Street Records. It was a slow Sunday and Vedder was in the shop scrolling through records when it was announced that the city’s baseball team the Seattle Mariners would be involved in a pivotal play-off game against the California Angels, a first play-off appearance for the Seattle team.

Easy Street, West Seattle’s sole Ticketmaster agent at the time, was the only place in the neighbourhood to get tickets and its staff was one was struggling to handle the influx of customers. Enter Vedder.

Store owner Matt Vaughan was away at the time and, when he saw the news, sensed the staff might be in trouble. He tried to call, the phone ringing and ringing until eventually someone picked up. “This is Matt, who is this?” said Vaughan. “This is Ed. Eddie, I come in here all the time, Eddie from Pearl Jam. I got it covered… it’s really busy, I have the day off, I’ll help out. The cash register you have is the same I had at a gas station I worked at a while back, gotta go!”

The call ended, and a stunned Vaughan said to his girlfriend, “Eddie Vedder is running the shop today.” The day, Easy Street’s employee said afterwards, was a resounding success, with the queuing fans getting their tickets until the event sold out in the afternoon. Vedder reportedly took control of the shop stereo, playing Sonic Youth, Fugazi, Cat Power, Sleater-Kinney, Billy Childish and more.

Vedder has kept his relationship with the store going over the years – Pearl Jam played an in-store there in 2006 and he also made appearances there earlier this year around the release of Dark Matter. Pearl Jam are due to pick up their Dark Matter tour in Barcelona today after cancelling shows in London and Berlin due to illness.

Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.