Pearl Jam Member’s Pathetic Paycheck Revealed


In a recent Talkhouse article, Mudhoney singer Mark Arm indicated that Green River were paid around $100 for shows. Green River featured future Pearl Jam members Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard.

“We didn’t rake in the money on that first tour—or even the second. I remember on that first tour, the second half was with Sonic Youth. Their booking agent asked us how much we wanted a night for show, and thinking back to the Green River days, I said that $100 a night would be fucking great. He kindly upped it to $200.

Then we went to Europe in the spring of ’89, and enough money was made and our records were selling, so we were getting actually paid from Sub Pop. When we signed to Reprise, we didn’t go for a big deal. We didn’t want to get into a bidding war. We wanted to get a more favorable contract, so we were just looking for the highest numbers. We had this part of the contract where, for the first two records, at least, whatever we didn’t use of the recording budget, we got to keep.

We got to keep the back end, so we recorded Piece Of Cake and My Brother The Cow really cheaply. We went to the same studio for Piece Of Cake where we recorded Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, in the basement of Conrad Uno’s house. I think that maybe cost us $30,000 after we spent a month there. We had, I think, probably $120,000 to split up after that. It seemed like an incredible amount of money.”