When talking about his origins, Stone Gossard had some kind words for the hair metal scene saying,
“I was into hair bands, I wanted guys to dress up, and have crazy hair and makeup. But, you know, everything has a time for a change; at some point, everyone wants something fresh again.”
Before Pearl Jam even formed, Gossard had already tried his hand at glam rock with Mother Love Bone, which was much more about the big riffs coming off of Sunset.
Then again, Gossard understood why grunge had to wipe everything out too saying,
“I do think we impacted the music industry at that time, and it’s only because hair bands were so entrenched in the record business, everybody’s just doing the same thing for so long that it lost its flavor.”
Even though hair metal needed to go, Gossard was going back to the music he loved as a kid.
When mentioning Pearl Jam’s style, Gossard has said that he’s not really doing anything new saying,
“I think we changed the landscape at that time – I just don’t think we reinvented anything. We were taking punk rock, and blues, and rock & roll and we were just doing it in a different way.”
Everything lines up more with ‘70s rock for Pearl Jam.
In their documentary Pearl Jam Twenty, there are mini snippets where you see where their stage moves and riffs came from, going between everyone from Led Zeppelin to Cheap Trick to Stevie Ray Vaughan to the Who.
Pearl Jam wanted to play rock and roll, but you can go a long way by copying your heroes.