Kelly Curtis, who has managed Pearl Jam since its 1990 formation, has retired. Curtis, 64, stepped away from his function in August however didn’t make any official announcement on the time, Selection can reveal. Longtime Pearl Jam tour supervisor Mark “Smitty” Smith has assumed managerial duties for the Seattle-based 2017 Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame inductees.
The son of legendary Las Vegas leisure publicist Mark Curtis, Curtis grew up watching icons resembling Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. carry out. When in grade college, he established life-long friendships with future Coronary heart principals Ann and Nancy Wilson and with them attended the Beatles’ 1966 live performance on the Seattle Centre Coliseum. Years later, Curtis launched Nancy Wilson to journalist Cameron Crowe, and the pair ultimately married in 1986.
By his early 20s, he was absolutely immersed on the earth of rock ’n’ roll touring, serving as a roadie for Coronary heart. It was whereas working at a Seattle occasions firm that Curtis started managing the Seattle rock band Mom Love Bone in the summertime of 1988. Fronted by lead singer Andrew Wooden, the group additionally featured guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament, who had lately exited native scene fixtures Inexperienced River. When main labels started sniffing round, Ament turned to Curtis, whom he casually knew, for recommendation.
“They didn’t know anyone that had any type of connections in L.A. with legal professionals, managers or report corporations,” Curtis advised me for the 2011 ebook Pearl Jam 20. “I’d come from the Coronary heart background, which didn’t appear to make apparent sense to any of us, apart from that I’d had some expertise within the music enterprise. The deal was, would I assist them meet some folks? I stated, ‘Positive.’ So we took a visit to L.A. to arrange some conferences with legal professionals and labels. I’m undecided if we met with managers or not, nevertheless it type of simply revealed itself over time that I ought to simply be doing it. We had been getting alongside properly sufficient to simply maintain it going. It simply type of naturally developed.”
Mom Love Bone signed with PolyGram and completed its debut album, “Apple,” by the top of 1989. However on March 19, 1990, Wooden died of a drug overdose, lower than a month shy of the album’s meant launch. Gossard and Ament processed their grief by writing songs with Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, considered one of Wooden’s greatest mates. With native guitarist Mike McCready and Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron in tow, the musicians recorded this materials beneath the moniker Temple Of The Canine, not sure of what would occur subsequent.
Inside a number of days, an unknown singer from San Diego named Eddie Vedder was in Seattle rehearsing with Ament, Gossard, McCready and drummer Dave Krusen as Mookie Blaylock, and by the top of the 12 months, he had moved there completely. In the meantime, having befriended lawyer Michele Anthony and PolyGram A&R man Michael Goldstone throughout the Mom Love Bone days, Curtis signed the band to Epic after Anthony and Goldstone each wound up taking jobs there.
By March 1991, Mookie Blaylock had been renamed Pearl Jam and had begun recording its Epic debut, “Ten,” which was launched Aug. 27. Though a gradual vendor at first, the album spawned various radio smashes resembling “Alive,” “Jeremy” and “Even Move” on the peak of the Seattle-driven grunge motion and ultimately went 13-times platinum.
Curtis, who not often offers interviews and has been identified to take delight within the dearth of photographs of himself circulating on-line, deftly guided the technique behind the scenes, serving to Pearl Jam handle its explosive mainstream breakthrough with out compromising its members beliefs or sanity.
The band’s 1993 follow-up, “Vs.,” set a report by promoting 950,378 copies in its first week of launch. Pearl Jam’s third LP, “Vitalogy,” almost matched that quantity when it shifted 877,000 copies upon its launch in December 1994.
Nonetheless, this era would change into eternally related to the band’s protracted battle with TicketMaster, which Pearl Jam asserted was unfairly influencing its means to set ticket costs and carry out within the venues of its alternative. Representatives from the US Justice Division satisfied the band to file a memo with the division’s antitrust division, which led to Ament and Gossard testifying earlier than a congressional listening to on June 30, 1994.
Though the investigation was dropped in June 1995, the skirmish led Pearl Jam to tour in non-traditional venues all through that 12 months and into 1996.
By the early 2000s, Pearl Jam was firmly entrenched as one of the vital common rock bands on the earth. At all times trying to strengthen the band’s reference to its diehard fanbase, Curtis labored with the group to develop the idea of a licensed bootleg program, which in 2000 noticed the simultaneous launch of 72 stay concert events through Epic. The sequence continues to today and is often spotlighted on Pearl Jam’s personal SiriusXM channel, which launched in 2010.
Curtis’ final main challenge with Pearl Jam was the marketing campaign behind its new album, “Gigaton,” which debuted in March at No. 5 on The Billboard 200. The group deliberate to help it with a world tour, which was scotched by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Past Pearl Jam, Curtis additionally labored with Alice In Chains early in its profession, Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson and Yusuf Islam, the artist previously often known as Cat Stevens. He was an early supporter of social activist group International Citizen, with whom he developed a program to reward younger activists with free live performance tickets and endowed a scholarship beneath his title to empower college students from underserved communities.
Curtis can also be serving as a producer on the Broadway adaptation of Crowe’s beloved 2000 movie “Virtually Well-known.”