As popular, Seattle-based institutions, the Seahawks and Pearl Jam have much in common. They’ve both been around for a while (the Hawks since 1976 and Pearl Jam since 1990) and both reside at the top in their respective professions.
Both groups make their livings in huge stadiums laying hits on people. Both have done incredible work in the community and generously shared with others that which they have acquired.
Both groups have members willing to voice their opinions on a variety of topics, some mundane, some controversial. It’s unlikely you’d agree with them about everything they say and stand for. However most people would agree their opinions are usually well thought out and sincere.
Both groups have been to the White House, the Seahawks in 2014 to celebrate their Super Bowl win, Pearl Jam in 1994 to discuss playing benefit shows. The Hawks brought the president his own jersey. Pearl Jam brought Seattle band Mudhoney with them.
In an effort to further this cross pollination of Seattle cultural icons, we asked Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready and bassist Jeff Ament to compare members of the band to members of the Seahawks. My thoughts and analysis are included as well.
Ed Vedder, singer
Mike: “Ed, for all intents and purposes, leads our band. Our team. So I would say Russell Wilson. But with twinges of Richard Sherman in terms of the attitude. He calls it like he sees it. You may not want to hear that, but he’s going to tell you what’s on his mind.”
Jeff: “Ed is Russell Wilson, a thoughtful and well-prepared leader, a poet and collaborator who connects with his audience better than anyone.”
Gas: “It’s difficult to imagine him doing insurance or airline commercials, but the leader comparison is apt. Put a 3 jersey on him.”
Stone Gossard, guitarist
Mike: “Stone is Pete Carroll in my mind. In terms of how he thinks and his overall vision of things. He has a great overall sense. He has a calmer positive overall vision of where we could be going. He’s the biggest Seahawks fan of all of us. Easily. Stone is insane about it.”
Jeff: “Stone is Earl Thomas, the steady warrior and tireless worker who picks up the slack when we need a big play.”
Gas: “There’s something about Stone as Pete Carroll that feels perfect to me. I have an image of him yelling, ‘Win forever!’ right before the band hits the stage. Carroll it is.”
Matt Cameron, drummer (who also plays for Soundgarden)
Mike: “Marshawn Lynch. Matt is the best drummer out there. Two legitimate hard bands
to play in. With Soundgarden, their stuff is really hard to play. He’s pounding like a maniac all the time. He’s got a lot to do with us but with them . . . it’s more of a workout. The beat never wavers with him. He’s like a train going straight down the tracks.”
Jeff: “Matt is Marshawn, quietly picking up momentum until he wears you out and runs you over with his beats.”
Gas: “Attention PJ and Soundgarden fans: Bring Skittles to the next show.”
Jeff Ament, bassist
Mike: “Jeff is Kam Chancellor with a little Sherman and Lynch.”
Jeff: “I like that I’m Kam in Mike’s eyes. He’s my favorite Seahawk (along with Earl Thomas). I was an all-state free safety in high school.”
Gas: “Picture a young Ament relentlessly patrolling the back line for the Big Sandy High School Pioneers. The bass player in a band is considered part of what’s called the back line, so a fearsome hybrid of Kam and Earl fits the bill here.”
Mike McCready, guitarist
Mike: “Maybe Doug Baldwin. I can be pretty angry. I do have a temper and I wish didn’t. When he said he wished he had handled things differently after the Packer game . . . I have said the exact same quote. I hate to be compared to him for that reason but it is kind of
Jeff: “I think Mike is Sherman, an explosive, heat seeking free-lancer who plays better under the big lights.”
Gas: “In 2003 Rolling Stone magazine listed the top 100 guitarists of all time. McCready (and Gossard) were both left off the list. Three years later editor David Fricke admitted he screwed up by omitting the pair. In 2007 the magazine named McCready the sixth most underrated guitarist of all time, just behind Ace Frehley of Kiss (who is one of McCready’s idols). Overlooked? Underrated? Delivers in the clutch? Has a temper? That sounds like Baldwin to me.”
Boom Gaspar, keyboardist
Mike: “I would say Lynch. Because Boom is a pretty tough big guy. I could see Boom running through people. I would not want to be on his bad side, because man, is he a big dude.”
Jeff: “The Seahawks have their Legion of Boom and we have our Legion of “Boom.”
Gas: He’s big. He’s tough. He is the entire Legion of “Boom”.
Wih that settled, here’s a bigger question. What would happen if Pearl Jam had to mix it up competitively with Boston’s equally iconic Aerosmith? Both McCready and Ament profess love for the legendary “Bad Boys from Boston” but Ament delivers an unequivocal endorsement for his guys.
“Aerosmith is one of my all-time favorite American bands, so playing them would be an honor, but we are tougher, steadier, and the better live band. Joe Perry and Brad Whitford are one of the best guitar duos in rock history, but who writes and plays together better than Stone and Mike? Joey Kramer is a funk machine, but Matt Cameron’s a multitasking locomotive. Ed would never be a dude that looks like a lady. We’ve only ever had one manager, Kelly Curtis, and everyone knows what Aerosmith has been through.”
There you have it: Pearl Jam wins — by at least a touchdown.