Back in March, as the coronavirus first gripped the country, Pearl Jam made the difficult decision to postpone all its concert dates for the foreseeable future. In doing so, the band was canceling not just a fall tour, but also a trip through presidential battleground states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin that would have doubled as a get-out-the-vote campaign.
While the tour may be canceled, the band’s political arm remains cranked on full blast.
“If we’re a band who does well in the swing states, then that also means that we’re not just playing to an audience of progressives — if they’re swinging, we’ve got a broad audience there,” said Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam’s lead singer, describing the band’s ability to reach the kinds of voters who could decide the election.
The group is hoping to engage that fan base with its new political operation, PJ Votes. Having gotten to know its audiences over 30 years, the band knows that its fans are mostly in their 40s and that many are already likely to vote. So it is challenging each fan to reach out to three friends, not only getting them to register but also ensuring that they vote.
“What we’ve attempted to do is really just bring it back down to basics and encourage people to, again, think about what’s important to them,” Mr. Vedder said. “And be active and be patient and realize that this election is