Photo courtesy of Eddie Vedder

EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Listen to Eddie Vedder tell the story about that time he worked a shift at Easy Street Records selling Mariners tickets

The Pearl Jam frontman manned the register, sold a ton of music, and even got yelled at by a customer

April 5, 2017

Editor's note: Story corroborated by memory, by current and former Easy Street Records employees Kevin, Clarke, Matt, and EdTo listen to Eddie Vedder tell the story in his own words, scroll down to the bottom, but you should definitely read this story from Easy Street Records owner , Matt Vaughan. - Branden

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In late September 1995, Eddie Vedder was hanging out and buying some records at Easy Street Records. He was shopping along with no care in the world, just enjoying a day off when it was announced that the Seattle Mariners were headed to a one-game playoff against the California Angels.

The Mariners had enjoyed one of the most stellar runs to end an MLB season, winning 10 of their last 13 games and tying up the AL West Division. The winner of the one-game playoff would play the New York Yankees in the ALDS. At the time, Easy Street Records was the only Ticketmaster agent in West Seattle and within minutes, Easy Street was flooded with Mariner fans vying for tickets for the one-game playoff.

Keep in mind that at this point, the Mariners franchise had never made the playoffs. This would be a first.

On Sundays back then, Easy Street usually only had one person on staff. Sundays were a slow day. There were only a couple customers in the store before the ticket announcement was made, and one of those customers was Eddie Vedder. The excitement and support of the team was at an all-time high and for little Easy Street, this was a lot to handle all at once. Soon, the line for tickets wrapped around the block, with 1,000+ people out front and cars blocking the street. Owner Matt Vaughan was in Portland at the time and he immediately called the store…but it just rang and rang. He knew that his employee Clarke Canfield had a melee on his hand. This could be dangerous for the store.

Finally, the phone is picked up and in a rushed baritone voice…

Voice: "Um, hey. Yeah, Easy Street?” 

Matt: "Where’s Clarke? This is Matt, who is this?”

Voice: “Well, he’s kind of busy, I’m just helping you guys out.”

Matt: “...and you are?”

Voice: “This is Ed. Eddie. Ya know I come in all the time? Eddie from Pearl Jam. I got it covered. Clarke and I are working great together, but it is really busy. I have the day off, I’ll help out. This cash register you have is the same I had at a gas station I worked at a while back, gotta go.”

Matt stared at the phone, looked at his girlfriend and said, “Eddie Vedder is running the shop today.”

Keep in mind, at that time, Pearl Jam was in the middle of a heated high-profile battle vs. Ticketmaster. Pearl Jam had made the case that Ticketmaster was monopolizing the ticket industry, inflating service fees, and fixing the market. Effectively, overcharging concert goers, specifically Pearl Jam fans. Pearl Jam wouldn’t back down, the case made its way all the way to Washington DC, with both Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament testifying against Ticketmaster before Congress. Pearl Jam had boycotted Ticketmaster and was booking their own shows throughout 1995 and into 1996.

So, here we are now, with Eddie Vedder manning a Ticketmaster line and helping to sell tickets.

At one point during the day, Eddie had been made aware of a man in a wheelchair somewhere down the street in line. Eddie went up to him, stopped traffic along the street, scooted him into the store, and brought him to the front of the line to chat with people on the phone, then to buy tickets. A woman started yelling at Eddie about how he couldn’t let people cut in line.

She and Eddie got into it. She asked for his name so she could get him fired. He said, "Go right ahead."

Over the next several hours, Eddie and Clarke successfully got all the fans their tickets. By the end of the afternoon, the game was sold out and no more tickets were available. The store remained busy throughout the day and Eddie decided he could stay on for awhile longer. Over the next few hours, Eddie handled the counter and register while Clarke handled the sales floor and the Ticketmaster aftermath.

Eddie played the in-store play copy of Sonic Youth’s brand new record Washing Machine over and over. It became Easy Street’s #1 record of the month. Eddie was telling everyone to buy it. Other records from Eddie’s instore playlist included Fugazi Red Medicine and Cat Power Dear Sir, Karp Suplex, Sleater-Kinney’s debut, and some Billy Childish. He sold a lot of Pearl Jam records, of course, and sold a bunch of his pal Mike McCready’s new project Mad Season.   

From this moment on, Easy Street and West Seattle fell in love with Eddie more than it already had. We already loved Pearl Jam and Eddie, of course, but to help out like that… Easy Street couldn’t have gotten through the day without Eddie clocking in and taking the shift. Eddie continued to help out around the store and got to know the rest of the staff really well, often inviting the staff over to his place play basketball and play music. He was always gracious, dropping off a row of tickets to Pearl Jam shows. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that remains to this day.

Ten years later, on April 25, 2005, Pearl Jam would play a surprise show for Easy Street staff, friends of the store, and a bunch of indie record store guys that happened to be in town. It is considered one of the most legendary Pearl Jam shows ever, a blistering set with only 150 people in attendance at the shop in West Seattle. It would later be released as an EP “Pearl Jam –Live at Easy Street. To this day, still Easy Street’s biggest selling CD of all-time.

At this performance (and on the recording), Los Angeles punk rock icon John Doe guested on PJ’s version of the X classic “New World.” A week later on May 1, 2005, Vedder would return the favor and make a surprise appearance and join John Doe on Easy Street’s stage for guest vocals on the X song “Poor Girl.”

The Mariners would go on to beat the New York Yankees for the ALDS crown and the grab their first ever playoff series win. Randy Johnson would go on to win the Cy Young Award that year, Edgar Martinez would end up having a street named after him, and Ken Griffey Jr. would go on to be the highest vote-getter in MLB Hall of Fame history.

Now Pearl Jam is getting a Hall of Fame induction of their own, just over 20 years after Eddie Vedder helped sell a few tickets in a West Seattle record shop.

Refuse to Lose.

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