Pearl Jam will look to tap into a national youth movement to register new voters when the pioneering grunge rock band plays a concert in tiny Missoula, Montana, one of just four cities in its U.S. tour this summer.
The politically active band has dubbed the sold-out Aug. 13 concert “Rock2Vote” and plans to give a portion of its proceeds to four Montana organizations that support youth and Native American voting, land conservation and women’s health.
Bassist Jeff Ament, a native of Montana who lives part time in Missoula, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he’s been inspired by the eloquence and passion of the teenage survivors of the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“It’s hard not to be inspired by the youth movement right now on a national level,” Ament said. “We’ll certainly follow their lead.”
The band also plans to launch a Rock2Vote website to tell Montana fans about upcoming elections and what’s happening in their communities, he said.
The aim is to encourage people who are coming of voting age to have a conversation about the divisive political climate and how it’s affecting them, Ament said.
“Maybe it will be a model that can be used beyond Montana, but we’re creating it for this show,” Ament said.
The Missoula concert will mark the third time Pearl Jam has played in Montana when Ament’s childhood friend, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, is up for election. The band also played in Missoula in support of Tester campaigns in 2005 and 2012.
The Montana Democrat is running for a third term in November, with four candidates competing for the Republican nomination to unseat him.
Pearl Jam is coming back this time to support the Montana Democrat indirectly, Ament said. The band’s financial contributions will go to its four “partner” organizations: Forward Montana, Montana Native Vote, Montana Conservation Voters and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana.
Ament and Tester grew up in the northern Montana town of Big Sandy. Tester refereed Ament’s childhood basketball games and they worked on adjacent farms during the summer.
They even got the same crewcut from Ament’s dad, George, who was the town’s mayor and barber.
Pearl Jam also will play two shows each in Seattle, Chicago and Boston starting in August. The short U.S. tour will follow a 13-stop European tour in June and July.
Ament, who turned 55 last month, also is releasing a solo album and said that Pearl Jam does not have any immediate plans to go back into the studio.
But after 28 years together, the band doesn’t plan to slow down its heavy touring schedule.
“There’s really nothing better than getting together with our friends and playing music,” Ament said. “It wouldn’t really make sense to stop.”