Pearl Jam and their popularity went mainstream thanks to their landmark debut album Ten, but their sudden success wasn’t the easiest thing to deal with.

Eddie Vedder touches on that in a new interview with Classic Rock magazine in a piece highlighting the 30th anniversary of Ten. The frontman said, “I felt that with more popularity, we were going to be crushed, our heads were going to pop like grapes…I knew it wasn’t graceful, the way we were handling it. At the same time, it’s like being graceful in an alley fight. You’re just trying to get out of there alive. We held tight to each other and held tight to music.”

Guitarist Mike McCready added, “The decision to pull back and to not do videos and to slow down interviews, it was all about Jeff [Ament] and Stone [Gossard] and Ed thinking it was necessary. Ed was getting way more scrutiny than anybody. It was probably overwhelming for him. It was for all of us at the time.”

McCready continued, “But I remember not wanting to pull back, saying: ‘This is what we’ve wanted since we were kids. Let’s keep doing this. Let’s do videos, let’s keep going, let’s embrace this.‘ But they weren’t into it. They said: ‘No, we’ve got to, because this is all gonna fall apart if we don’t.’ And I think they were right.”

McCready credits Pearl Jam’s longevity to those early decisions despite them being the exact opposite of what their record label wanted the band to do.

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Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice.