Jam live: Pearl Jam will return to the stage next month for the first time since a planned tour last summer was derailed by the band's dispute with TicketMaster. The band will play Jan. 14 and 15 at the 3,500-seat Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., to benefit Voters for Choice, which supports candidates who are pro-abortion. Tickets will be sold without a surcharge through a mail-order lottery system. In May, Pearl Jam filed a civil complaint with the federal Justice Department alleging that TicketMaster has a national monopoly over ticket distribution, and that the agency used its influence to thwart the summer tour. According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, the band may use a mail-order lottery system for concerts in other cities. Ticket distribution and itinerary details for the band's eight-week tour next summer are expected to be announced in March, according to the story.
Bad sign: Billboard's annual year-end roundup of bestselling records does not bode well for the future. Ace of Base, that bland, mechanical pop throwback from Sweden, strongly dominated the charts. The soulless Abba clones topped the pop artists, new pop artists, album artists, album sales, duo/group, singles artists, singles sales, singles duo/group and singles airplay charts. Their success seems to show that pre- and young teens still are a huge force in popular music. Locally, the highest charters were Soundgarden, whose "Black Hole Sun" was the No. 1 modern rock track, and Kenny G, who topped the contemporary jazz artists and contemporary jazz album ("Breathless") lists (no surprises there.) Pearl Jam logged in at No. 3 on the album artists list. Their latest, "Vitalogy," was released after the Billboard deadline, but look for it, and the band, to score high on next year's list.
Chris talks: Rolling Stone is out with its year-end double issue, which features an interview with Soundgarden's Chris Cornell. The theme of the piece is that the Seattle scene is over, especially in the wake of Kurt Cobain's death, and that Soundgarden faces new challenges following the success of the "Superunknown" album. The precise and articulate Cornell tells of his growing up here - he was a bad boy - his chronic introversion (hard to believe when you see him on stage) and the rise of Soundgarden and the Seattle scene.