Fan Club Single #4: Double Or Nothing (1995)

by John Reynolds on December 25, 2010

One day, you may miss a train. Some Christmas, you may be late sending cards out. You may also miss a friend’s birthday here and there. In these cases, life may be kicking your butt; so to make up for that, you return the favor by giving a little extra, with some elbow grease, in the hopes that all will be forgiven. Such is the case with Pearl Jam’s 1994 1995 Christmas Single.

Check out our Artifactors on preceding Fan Club Singles:

Climate Change

1994 posed many challenges other bands would not survive – a continuing popularity increase and media firestorm, parting ways with their drummer, and oh yeah, that Ticketmaster thing. Given these circumstances, the days and months ticked by and, sadly, there was no 1994 Christmas single like years past 1993, 1992, 1991.

As the time passed, the next Ten Club publication to arrive via mail was Newsletter #6. In that was provided a humorous note (can you find the vinyl pun?) about 1994′s omission.

Christmas Single

95christmas-single-headsup-600The 1994 Christmas single has become a very pressing issue. The band, in conjunction with the Republican Candidate hopeful and satanist Bob Dole, has met behind closed doors in long deliberations about what to do.

Bob suggests we do a double-single, which is in the works. The band has decided to release 1994 and 1995 singles together in a special double-issue. All members during Christmas of 1994, whether they renewed or not, will recieve (sic) this double-single, as well as current members during Christmas of 1995. (Only if you promise to vote against Dole in ’96)

This was comforting. Fans had to wait, but at least they knew it was being worked on. Honor prevailed as well, as the Ten Club honored lapsed-1994 and current memberships for what was a swelling fanbase after the mega-releases Vs. and Vitalogy.

Make It A Double

In late 1995 the single (Epic ZSS 7628) arrived, with contents as promised. A double-gatefold sleeve housed two 7″ singles. The artwork is a product of Eddie Vedder and Barry Ament (Jeff’s brother, Ames Bros. founder) and portrays Pearl Jam playing live as viewed from behind the stage to a crowd of characters – literally. The audience consists of an arrangement of dolls and action figures including Ace Frehley, Chewbacca, Cowardly Lion, Sonny Bono and a Stormtrooper thrown in for good measure. The front and back covers form a panoramic picture, although disjointed. The inside sleeve is a conjoined scene showing Pearl Jam (L-R Jeff, Ed, Mike, Jack, Stone) fleeing the dolls (including Evel Knievel, Captain America, Boy George, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and “Doctor J” Julius Irving) in a slick red getaway van complete with flames and logo “The Pearl Jams”, likely a nod to the van used during the 1995 tour featuring Monkeywrench Radio, which served triple-duty in 1995 as the touring van for Hovercraft and Mike Watt, too.

Front Outside CoverBack Outside Cover


As for the music, the four songs featured had common themes: none were Pearl Jam originals, all were live collaborations with other artists, and they were all astounding.

Record 1, Side A – “History Never Repeats”, from March 24, 1995, Mt. Smart Super Top, Auckland, New Zealand. At this show, Neil and Tim Finn from the Split Enz join Eddie Vedder during the encore for this song and Pearl Jam for another, “I Got You”. “History Never Repeats” peaked as high as #5 on the New Zealand singles chart in 1981. Later in 2001, Ed performed the “History Never Repeats” with Neil Finn oh his tour, as captured on the 2002 DVD “7 World Collide”.

Record 1, Side B – “Sonic Reducer”, from September 17, 1995, Tad Gormley Stadium, New Orleans, LA. Fans were certainly familiar with this song as Side A of the 1992 Christmas Single; the liner notes even list the track as “Christmas Single Reprise”. 1995′s patchwork tour featured a handful of shows with legends The Ramones opening. Closing this “leg”, Joey Ramone joined Pearl Jam for this Dead Boys cover, with the liner notes reiterating “Only fourth in New Orleans, 106°, 2-1/2 hr show, last song with Joey Ramone”

Record 2, Side A – “Swallow My Pride” from December 30, 1993, Aladdin Theater, Las Vegas, NV. To continue the “history” theme, this cut includes somewhat of a Green River reunion, performing this song off Green River’s 1988 record Rehab Doll with former Green River and current Mudhoney members “Little” Stevie Turner and “Magnificent” Mark Arm. Special guest on drums for this song is Chuck Treece, who was touring with opening act Urge Overkill.

Record 2, Side B – “My Way”, from November 30, 1993, Aladdin Theater, Las Vegas, NV. From the same show as “Swallow My Pride”, Ed closed the show by appearing with Elvis impersonator “Terry Presley” (noted as “Elvis’ cuz”) to sing the Paul Anka song that Frank Sinatra made famous, “My Way”. After Terry takes the first verse, Ed sings the second verse in a deep baritone that would have made The King smile.

The center label on each side of the vinyl records depicted nothing but the song title and one doll, which lead to …

It’s a Single! It’s a Contest!

In addition to the great music, this double-single (isn’t that just a “double”?) reappeared in Newsletter #7 as the subject of a Contest. 2

Who’s In The Crowd Contest

95christmas-single-contest-announcement-600You may already be a winner! You probably think you recognized most of the audience members on your new Christmas Single. Here’s your chance to prove it and win one of 2 custom Snowboards home grown at Seattle’s own Lib Tech Snowboards. Take a look at the center labels on each disk of your Christmas single and name all four characters. List them on a 3″x5″ card and send it to us at the address listed below. Don’t forget to include your name, address and day phone number. If you’re one of the first two contestants with the correct answers……

You’ll ride away on a snowboard complete with bindings, featuring a custom paint job, complete with Pearl Jam logo, brought to you by the boarders at Lib Tech. Runners up get some shit too!

Send To: <address here>

Deadline for entries is Feb 15, 1996. Winners will be announced in Newsletter #10. Only one entry per person. Must be a member to enter. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Subsequently, Newsletter #8 announced the three (not two) winners and four lucky runner-ups.


Last issues winners: These guys won Lib Tech snowboards: Sharon Callender, Ryan Arnold, and Jane Martin. Runners up were: James Northup, Susan Bloyer, Josh Ling and Tim Ott. They’ll be receiving prizes from the V.H.C. store. Thanks Lib Tech!

If you were a winner, or you know the winners, drop us a line! We’d love to know about your prizes and any pictures you might have.



Vinyl Goodness

Identify Those Dolls!

Amongst all our readers, we have to have a diverse cast of pop culture mavens. Click on the Gatefold Record Sleeves above and see if you can identify any of the dolls. If you can, write in as many as you can in using the comments form below. Let’s try and identify them all!

John Reynolds ( Twitter: @jjjrrr )
A New Jersey based programmer, John handles TFT’s programming and technical aspects. He also conceives and writes his share of TFT’s articles and sections. John’s first Pearl Jam show was at Lollapalooza on August 12, 1992.

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