HUNGRY before PEARL JAM

Back in the spring of 1991 after some success directing the ALICE IN CHAINS “Man in the Box” video I got a chance to direct a music video that was a collaboration between some members of SOUNDGARDEN and some of the former members of MOTHER LOVE BONE who had started a new band temporarily called MOOKIE BLAYLOCK.  The chosen single for the music video was a song called “Hunger Strike”, the name of the album and project was called TEMPLE OF THE DOG.  The song was penned by Chris Cornell and sung by him and newcomer Eddie Vedder.  Coming up for a concept for the video was a bit of a challenge at first as the members of Soungarden were not that interested in personally appearing in the video but rather wanted a more conceptual video.  The members of Mookie Blaylock – Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Michael McCready and Eddie Vedder – were more eager to personally be in the video at the time as they were launching a new band and wanted the exposure.  I went up to Seattle for about 10 days before the video shoot, still without a concept, to hash out some ideas with the bands.  I had a great time doing this.  I met with the two bands together and separately and came up with the idea of doing something very organic, very local and very simple.  Mainly outdoors and in a Northwest environment.  The guys brought me around on scouts and I settled on Discovery Park which seemed to offer a wide variety of environments and terrains in a small area easy to get around in.  The morning of the shoot I woke up to 4 inches of snow on the ground ans still snowing.  By the time we got out to the location it had cleared with a gorgeous light and clouds.  The rest of the day brought sun, rain, wind and then hail ( I kid you not HAIL),  right before we shot the finale at night in the woods.  I remember filming Eddie Vedder’s close up in the reeds.  He was very quiet, polite and humble.  He was very uncomfortable Lip Synching and didn’t like it because it felt so fake.  I remember seeing a certain intensity in some of the close up shots and they were truthful I think to a certain fristration with the moment. As the takes went on he relaxed more.  Much later on, a year or so later, I realized that these were maybe his first filmed performances as a singer.  His close ups are beautiful, intense, vibrant and truthful all at once, a complete visceral singer, from the beginning.  At our wrap dinner the next night, which was customary after music video shoots courtesy of the record label, I remember the Mookie Blaylock guys telling everyone that they had chosen an official name for their new band.  PEARL JAM.

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