With the 2008 election hot on our tails, we thought it would be the perfect time to dig into our archives and "take a look back to take a look forward." In 2004, Pearl Jam was one of seventeen musicians who took part in the Vote for Change tour - caravanning through battle ground states to Get Out The Vote. An indie film crew made up of Jeff Ament's filmmaker/ skater friends (see sixstair.com) documented the experience. They captured portions of each of concerts, the crowds, on-the-street interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage leading up to Election Day 2004 - all in 8mm film.
Pearl Jam: Vote for Change? 2004 by Rick Charnoski and Coan Nichols will be released digitally and free of charge on the Pearl Jam website in the days leading up to the November 4th election. Keep checking back here for the latest.
A film synopsis by directors Rick Charnoski and Coan Nichols
In April of 2004 we were deep in the San Bernadino, CA skating a few of the dozens of pools left empty by the fires that swept through the area a few months earlier. Jeff Ament, bass player for Pearl Jam, had come along to take advantage of this opportunity. Jeff has been a fan of our skate films (Fruit of the Vine, Northwest, Tent City, etc.) for a few years and asked if we would be interested in doing something with Pearl Jam. He mentioned that they were planning a "Vote For Change" tour right before the election and maybe we could come along and make a film.
We worked it out and ended up in Seattle in the beginning of October 2004 in time to shoot some rehearsals and meet the other band members. We didn't really have much of a plan and we hadn't shot much live music before, but we figured we'd just wing it and see what we got. We brought a few Super 8 movie cameras, a video camera and loads of film and just started shooting.
We flew from Seattle to New York, then followed the tour in a van to Reading PA, Toledo OH, Grand Rapids MI, St Louis MO, Asheville NC and ended up in Kissimee FL. Along the way we met with and spoke to hundreds of fans and just ordinary people about voting, democracy and politics in general. We cut the interviews into the live performances from each city, along with a few exclusive interviews with each band member. It is the first rock and roll tour film that WE know of shot entirely in super 8mm film with an amazing sound track recorded live and mixed by Brett Eliason.
We got home and cut the film, but never showed it to anyone. The enthusiasm for the project dwindled due to the outcome of the election. Ironically, we feel like Bush's reelection may have made the film even more important/ valid and we think now is a great time to dig it out and remind people why it is so important to vote. We love this film, it's like nothing we have ever done before and we are stoked to finally have the chance to show it.
Coan Nichols/ Rick Charnoski- Six Stair