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Cassette aircheck from pirate radio station inside Pearl Jam box set

The long-surviving Seattle band Pearl Jam has just announced a new box set re-release of their second and third albums, Vs. and Vitalogy. In addition to five LPs and four CDs, the box set will include a cassette recording of a January 8th, 1995 broadcast from Pearl Jam’s Monkeywrench/Self-Pollution radio series.

During the 1995 and 1998 tours Pearl Jam operated a small pirate radio station, called Monkeywrench Radio, from a van in the parking lot of concert venues. The station aired DJ sets as well as entire live shows. Transcripts and recordings of some of these broadcasts are archived at the Monkeywrench Radio website--like from this Nov. 7, 1995 show in San Diego, CA. The Jan. 8 show that’s on the box set cassette is not listed on the site.

I remember hearing about Monkeywrench Radio at the time and was excited about the concept, even if I never heard the station. Even though I’m not much of a Pearl Jam fan (though, as a Gen Xer, both Ten and Vs. are in my CD collection), I always respected the band for attempting to use its popularity and major label stature to push the boundaries a bit. Whether it was operating a pirate station or trying to book a national tour without using Ticketmaster, it seems the band’s heart is often in the right place.

I’m curious to hear the cassette, but I don’t think I’ll be springing for the massive box set.

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6 Responses to Cassette aircheck from pirate radio station inside Pearl Jam box set

  1. Paul Riismandel February 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    For what it’s worth, apparently a bootleg (of a bootleg?) soundcheck of the Jan. 8, 1995 performance is floating around the interwebs:

  2. Radioactive Gavin February 3, 2011 at 2:51 pm #


    As a kid growing up in Seattle, I was transfixed by the KNDD broadcast of Pearl Jam’s “Self-Pollution Radio” in 1995. Seattle’s alternative rock genre-founding station “107.7 The End” apparently aired Vitalogy before they were allowed, and as far as we knew as kids, the band and the label and the station worked out a deal. Pearl Jam would get to broadcast remotely from a house somewhere in Seattle (presumably Eddie’s). KNDD aired it, uninterrupted by commercials or other station imaging. We have the audio cassette recorded over FM somewhere at my Mom’s house. Anyway, that night featured what I believe were the first ever radio performances of Dave Grohl’s early Foo Fighters stuff, as well as the short-lived much-loved band Mad Season… It was so totally epic influencing at the creative possibilities of radio by people who love music. Just found a reference to it online.

  3. Jeff Pearson February 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    Monkeywrench Radio is also featured in our documentary ‘Pirate Radio USA’ ! It’s transmitter became the basis of FUCC radio and other pirate stations in Seattle for years after the tour.

  4. John Anderson February 4, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    Ah, Seattle’s pirate radio scene: “Hooray for the Black Ball Line!”

  5. the old man February 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Pirate radio still lives here. DX that dial.

  6. Dalgru April 21, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    Viva pirate radio!

    I heard the Mahavishnu Orchestra on the car radio at 101.9 driving northbound on I-5 tonight just south of downtown Seattle. Figured it had to be pirate radio – too cool to be anything else. The signal faded as I hit downtown, though. Reading the boards, looks like it wasn’t The Whore off Capitol Hill, but there’s somebody on Beacon Hill too.

    I’d like to see more of this happening. Pump Up The Volume!

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