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Jeff Ament

Along with guitarist Stone Gossard, bassist Jeff Ament was a member of three of Seattle's most celebrated and admired bands of recent times -- Green River, Mother Love Bone, and Pearl Jam. Born on March 10, 1963, in Big Sandy, MT, Ament took up bass as a teenager, playing along to Clash and Police records, as well as learning a thing or two from classic rockers (Rush, Aerosmith, etc.). After relocating to Seattle hoping to fulfill his dreams of rock stardom, Ament hooked up with influential garage rockers Green River (which included singer Mark Arm, guitarist Steve Turner, drummer Alex Vincent, and Gossard). Three EPs followed -- 1985's Come on Down, 1986's Dry as a Bone, and 1988's Rehab Doll, which saw the quintet provide the blueprint for other subsequent Seattle bands that would follow in their wake -- garage rock à la the Stooges clashing with Sabbath riff rock. Even with greater success on the horizon, Green River called it a day the same year as their final release -- Arm and Turner would form Mudhoney, while Ament and Gossard began jamming with local flamboyant glam rocker Andrew Wood.

The resulting band, Mother Love Bone (which also included drummer Greg Gilmore and second guitarist Bruce Fairweather), combined Green River's raw punk with Wood's bombastic arena rock, resulting in a can't-miss combo that seemed destined for the top of the charts. Shortly after the quintet signed on with Polygram in 1989, MLB issued their first recording, the six-track EP Shine, with a full-length debut written and recorded by the time the holiday season rolled around, titled Apple. But tragedy struck a cruel blow to the band, when Wood died from a heroin overdose in March of 1990. Apple would eventually be issued later in the year, but the band couldn't continue without their charismatic singer, and Mother Love Bone folded. Yet again, it was back to the drawing board for Ament and Gossard, who decided to put together a new band almost immediately afterward.

Recruiting San Diego native Eddie Vedder on vocals and lead guitarist Mike McCready (several different drummers would man the kit), Ament and Gossard's latest creation was more musically and visually straight-ahead than their previous band, and was dubbed Pearl Jam. But before Pearl Jam entered the studio, Ament, Gossard, and McCready recorded a tribute album for Wood with Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell and drummer Matt Cameron, entitled Temple of the Dog. The side project's self-titled debut was issued in 1991, just a short while before Pearl Jam's debut record was issued. By the summer of 1992, Pearl Jam had achieved enormous commercial success, eventually becoming one of the biggest rock bands of the '90s on the strength of such releases as 1993's Vs., 1994's Vitalogy, 1996's No Code, and 1998's Yield, plus their first release of the new millennium, 2000's Binaural. In addition to Pearl Jam, Ament found time for the side project Three Fish, issuing 1996's self-titled debut and 1999's The Quiet Table, as well as creating a graphic design company with his brother. ~ Greg Prato
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