Electric Hollywood: Matt Cameron’s New Pearl Jam Drum Logo

by Jessica Letkemann on November 8, 2013

The new lightning logo on Cameron’s drum is reminiscent of the logo of vintage Hollywood studio RKO.Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron live in Brooklyn NY, Oct. 19, 2013.

Not shockingly, Pearl Jam has carried the “Lightning Bolt” motif well into many of it’s graphics this fall — from the black-with-a-bolt wristbands of the tour merch to the run-out groove of the “Lightning  Bolt” vinyl (side a reads, “for the league of crafty fulminologists,” a word that means “those who study lightning.”) Fans that attended 2013 Leg 1 shows may have also noticed Matt Cameron has a new image on his drum, but did you know that design is very reminiscent of vintage Hollywood studio RKO’s  once-iconic logo?

The vintage RKO logo the drum of Pearl Jam's Matt Cameron, October 19, 2013         Cameron’s new PJ drum logo

Back in the heyday of “silver screen”-era Hollywood, RKO Pictures were a symbol of quality: RKO was the studio behind “King Kong,” “Citizen Kane” and other historic movies. One of the company’s most familiar features was its very “electrified” logo cards during the credit or title sequences of its films: though the logo evolved a little over the years, it always involved an inverted triangle with a jagged lightning bolt struck right through it, a slight shadow, and the words “RKO Radio Pictures” in a simple, angular san-serif font close to Futura Condensed sitting atop it all.

Fast-forward several decades to 2013 and you’ve got Pearl Jam rocking its way around North America with Matt Cameron behind a drum kit that features the words “Pearl Jam” in a similar Futura Condensed-like font atop an inverted triangle with a jagged lightning bolt struck through it and a slight shadow. Like the vintage RKO design, the new PJ drum logo also sticks to black and silver. Matt Cameron giving a sly nod to halcyon Hollywood? Classic.

The Matt Cameron photo above was taken by Su May Ong at Pearl Jam’s Brooklyn, NY show at Barclays Center on October 19, 2013. Thanks, Su May.

Jessica Letkemann ( Twitter: @Letkemann )
TFT co-editor Jessica Letkemann is a New York based digital music journalist & editor. She's currently VP & Editor-In-Chief of Digital at Fuse Media (Fuse.tv) and was previously managing editor of Billboard.com. She has also been on staff at Spin and Premiere magazines. Her first Pearl Jam show was at Lollapalooza on August 2, 1992.

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