The recording of Pearl Jam's No Code took place at a strange time in the bands career. After a tour for their 1994 release Vitalogy, Pearl Jam headed into the studio amongst other factors that all added to what was become the album No Code. At the time the band were going through difficulties due to the constant touring, arguments in the creative process and an on going battle with Ticketmaster. To further add to matters the albums recording sessions first began in the infamous 1995 Chicago heat wave, during a break in the bands touring schedule. Tensions would build amongst the band and as a result many of the songs began as jams according to Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready. The rest of the album would be recorded over the course of six weeks in 1996 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Seattle, Washington, and Atlanta, Georgia. No Code which would be Pearl Jam’s fourth full length album, was recorded with producer Brendan O’Brien
When No Code was finally released in 1996, it went to number one on the Billboard 200 album charts (it would be the last Pearl Jam album to go to number one until 2009's Backspacer), but despite this it alienated several Pearl Jam fans. While the record did not initially sell as well as their previous studio efforts No Code would be one of the first of many albums in which the band ventured on in a different direction separate from their early heavier “Grunge” associated sounds. The songs on the album incorporated elements of Garage Rock, Worldbeat and elements of experimentation that resulted in a truly unique album from Pearl Jam. The album contained hard hitting Rock songs such as “Hail, Hail”, “Habit”, “Lukin”, as well as other tracks such as “Sometimes”, “Who You Are?”, “Present Tense”, “I’m Open”, “Mankind” and “Around the Bend”, which initially started out as a lullaby written by Eddie Vedder for new Pearl Jam drummer Jack Irons’ son, all of which jumped into different territories musically. The album was panned by several critics, despite its good sales people reacted negatively to No Code.
Some people were perplexed by the different direction that Pearl Jam ventured into on this album, but was it really that different? The songs seem to be a reflection of the times and the bands ongoing tensions during the recording process and that point in their career, but it is still a Rock album. It is ironic that the album was titled No Code and packaged with photograph based artwork symbolizing its lack of adherence to the typical codes of music at the time. The truth is for Pearl Jam No Code had no rules or no “codes” for lack of a better term and while there was a lot of tension and turmoil that began during that first heat wave of July of 1995 in Chicago where the album began its life, the result was a strong original release from the band and the beginnings of Pearl Jam’s long career in music. As vocalist Eddie Vedder has stated “Making No Code was all about gaining perspective”, the trouble that initially surrounded the sessions in the long run produced out a stronger band. It was during the period follwing this albums release that Pearl Jam stepped out of the mainstream spotlight so to speak and the albums leading up to recent 2009 release Backspacer where Pearl Jam found a new voice for their music and a devout and die-hard fan base that remains strong to this day.
Recently Pearl Jam is the subject of a documentary titled Pearl Jam 20, which is about Pearl Jam, it also marks thier 20th anniversary. A soundtrack also accompanies the film and you can download a new Pearl Jam song called "Ole" via http://www.pearljam.com/
This Week's Play List:
1. Magnificent Bastards - Famous When I Die
2. Luke & The Apostles - Been Burnt
3. The Coasts - Handshakers
4. Deja Voodoo - Lonely Motel
5. Neon Boys - High Heeled Wheels
6. Boy With A Fish - I Wish I Had A Plan
7. Ry Cooder - Quick Sand
8. James OL & The Villains - Both To Blame
9. Orphan Choir - Untitled
10. The Polymorphines - Poor Sicko
11. Crocodiles - Summer of Hate
12. Fire Engines - Hungry Beat
13. Pointed Sticks - The Witch
14. Mudhoney - Into Yer Shtik
15. The Wipers - Is This Real?
16. Pearl Jam - Lukin
17. Limes - Into A Tree
18. Young Rival - Another Nobody
19. Talking Heads - Stay Hungry (1975 CBS Demo)
20. Subway Sect - Nobody's Scared
21. Undertones - Smarter Than You
22. Ramones - Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio (Live US Festival 1982)
23. Motorhead - No Class
24. Private School - Rock & Roll Radio
25. The D4 - North Shore Bitch
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for September 13. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.