WATCH: Pearl Jam Calls On Teen Drummer At Oakland Concert
A young musician from Mill Valley, California got a big shot of rock cred on Friday at a Pearl Jam concert in Oakland.
Kai Neukermans, the 18-year-old drummer in The Alive, heard that Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron had to sit out some shows after testing positive for COVID-19. At Thursday night’s concert, Cameron was replaced by Pearl Jam touring member Josh Klinghoffer for a few songs and by local musician Richard Stuverud for others.
Neukermans knew that Pearl Jam had also invited a fan, Josh Arroyo, on stage to play drums on “Yellow Ledbetter.” So, he texted his friend Olivia Vedder – daughter of Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder – who suggested he submit a video.
“I skipped class to practice and record a take of me playing,” he wrote at Riff. “I chose a song that I thought would fit my style, ‘Mind Your Manners,’ and started listening to it nonstop for the next couple hours. When I felt I was finally ready, I sent it to Olivia.”
Neukermans was then contacted by Pearl Jam manager Mark “Smitty” Smith, who told him to show up at Oakland Arena for a COVID-19 test.
“I went to a practice room with the band and we played through the song together a couple times,” he said. “It was pretty cool to see that they were stoked on my drumming. That made me feel more comfortable right away.”
Neukermans and his brother Manoa got to watch the concert from the side of the stage while he waited for his turn at the drums.
Vedder brought him out for “Mind Your Manners” from the band’s 2013 album Lightning Bolt. “Everybody this is Kai,” he told the crowd. “Kai this is everybody!”
The teen backed the band for a blistering version of the track. “The song only lasted three minutes, but it gave me a lifetime of memories,” he wrote.
Neukermans' band The Alive played Lollapalooza Chile in March and is scheduled to perform at the BottleRock festival in Napa Valley, California later this month before doing sets at the Boardmasters festival in the UK in August, Kentucky's Louder Than Life in September and Aftershock in Sacramento in October.
Watch his moment with Pearl Jam below:
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