The average age of Pearl Jam got a bit younger during the band’s concert in Oakland last Friday.
During the show, Eddie Vedder and company invited 18-year-old Bay Area high school student Kai Neukermans on stage to play drums for the song “Mind Your Manners.”
Neukermans got the opportunity to play with the grunge heroes due to longtime drummer Matt Cameron testing positive for COVID-19. Cameron had previously missed PJ’s first Oakland show this past Thursday, during which he was replaced by ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist and current PJ touring member Josh Klinghoffer, Jeff Ament collaborator Richard Stuverud, and a fan named Josh Arroyo.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Nuekermans heard about Cameron’s absence and decided to reach out to Vedder’s daughter, Olivia, whom he’d previously met in 2018, asking if he might be able to fill in.
“It was a last-minute thing, and I didn’t think it was going to work out,” Neukermans, who plays in his own band, the Alive, told the Chronicle.
On Friday afternoon, while he was in school, Neukermans heard back that Pearl Jam was interested. After sending in a video of him drumming, he got permission from his parents to leave school early — and miss a statistics test — to go rehearse with the “Even Flow” rockers. A few hours later, he made his Pearl Jam onstge debut.
As with the previous Oakland show, Klinghoffer and Stuverud manned the kit for the rest of the show.
Pearl Jam’s current tour is set to continue Monday in Fresno, California.
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