One of my favorite travel essays begins, “Beware thoughts that come in the night.” I imagine a similar moment of clarity when Jason Leung conjured up his ambitious plan to follow his favorite band across his homeland during Pearl Jam’s 2005 Canadian tour. I’m sure any good fan has had this fantasy but Jason and a revolving cast of like-minded misfits actually had the audacity to go out and do it.
Lucky for the rest of us, Jason documented the whole trip in his self-published book This All Encompassing Trip so we might come along for the ride and live vicariously through him. As it turned out, that initial experience was the catalyst for a series of events that literally changed the trajectory of his life. Extending to multiple tours and places abroad, Jason’s book really captures the fan experience. But more than just recounting the specifics of each show, it’s about life on the road and the people you meet along the way – and the inward journey of self-discovery.
Another fan whose passion and artistic expression manifested itself in book-form is longtime Pearl Jam graphic designer and poster artist Brad Klausen. His From A Basement In Seattle is a stunner and a virtual steal at $25. Even if you’re not a poster collector, you’d be proud to own this and have it on your coffee table. Brad beautifully dissects how many of these fan-favorite artistic expressions came to life. More than just discussing the mechanics from sketch to finished product, it’s a fascinating look into the thought process and inspiration behind the art for each poster.
One thing that struck me in the collection was the varied styles of artwork represented – with pieces ranging from rustic and abstract to ones that are polished and fluid. Brad has a signature style, but clearly he finds inspiration to push himself into new visual territory and not allow himself to become complacent pursuing a specific genre.
So what do these two men have in common? Both were at Easy Street Records in West Seattle last night signing their books and talking to fans. It was a steady Friday night turn-out but not such a crush that you couldn’t have the opportunity to actually have a conversation with each guy if you were so inclined.
I, for one, appreciated that and took advantage of the opportunity to spend a few minutes with each talking about some of their experiences that lead them to their respective publications. Like many Pearl Jam related events, I saw many familiar faces and it ended up being another opportunity to hang out and reconnect.
I had intended to just pop in and ended up staying for almost the entire event. In fact I ran my yapper so much, I forgot to take more pictures so the ones attached should give you a good idea of the atmosphere. I guess it’s a testament of sorts to how many cool folks are in the fan base and how communal each gathering becomes.
Donny Anderson is the creator of the fantastic All That’s Sacred podcast. Originally from Atlanta, Donny now lives outside of Seattle and is taking full advantage of all the Pearl Jam-related activity in the area. This is his first article for Two Feet Thick.