Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder surprised fans on Monday and Tuesday (March 24th and 25th) by playing unannounced shows at Seattle's Kenyon Hall as a warm-up for his first-ever solo tour, which begins on April 2nd in Vancouver. According to Billboard.com, fans had bought five-dollar tickets for what they thought were screenings of Into the Wild, the recent film for which Vedder wrote and recorded nine original songs. They got a full set from Vedder instead, including songs from Into the Wild, Pearl Jam tracks like "I Am Mine" and "Dead Man," other rare solo tracks and covers such as Bruce Springsteen's "Growin'Up," Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" and Bob Dylan's "Forever Young."
Vedder also sang "No More," his contribution to the new documentary Body of War. The singer played guitar, banjo, harmonica, mandolin and ukulele during the show.
Less than 150 people were at each show. A number of fans who were initially unable to get in were eventually ushered inside for free.
Meanwhile, a guitar that Vedder used to write the Pearl Jam song "Love Boat Captain" fetched $8,000 at a private auction in New York City on Tuesday night. The event raised funds for the defense of the West Memphis Three, a trio of young Arkansas men who many feel were wrongly convicted in 1993 for the murder of three eight-year-old boys.
Pearl Jam will begin a 10-date summer tour on June 11th in West Palm Beach, Florida, including a mid-June appearance at the Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. The band is also working on its next album.
The guitar Eddie Vedder used to write the Pearl Jam song "Love Boat Captain" sold for $8,000 last night during a West Memphis 3 fundraiser at the New York home of Peter, Paul & Mary's Peter Yarrow. Pearl Jam has long been a vocal advocate for the innocence of the men, who were convicted of the 1993 murder of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Ark.
Another Fine Man Behind Bars
By Jonathan Richman
I’ve just met a remarkable man. Let me tell you about him.
He’s one of the “West Memphis Three” (Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley) who have been in prison since 1993 for the murder of three eight-year-old boys. This happened 15years ago outside of West Memphis, Arkansas. Damien Echols is on Death Row and one glance tells you he does not belong there...Read Full Story here.
Little Rock, Arkansas: Supporters are launching a city-wide effort this weekend via a massive WM3 Info-Fest to take advantage of the crowds gathered for the NCAA Basketball Tournament being held in Little Rock. The entire town will be blanketed with flyers outlining the truth about the West Memphis Three's innocence and the travesty of their continued incarceration. The message is even going skyward via a Missouri flying service promoting the WM3's website on a banner pulled behind the plane.
As thousands cheer their favorite teams, volunteers will distribute information, shoot on-the-spot video of supporters to add to the new video petition and invite people to actively join the Call For Freedom. Volunteers will collect petition signatures for the Governoer and Attorney General, hand out fliers on new evidence and how to get involved plus answer questions about the case. You'll know them by the custom WM3 t-shirts they wear.
The Voices For Freedom video petition will be shown all around the city as part of a local push as the April hearing date approaches.
You can find teams of supporters on a 2 block stretch of President Clinton Avenue across the bridge fron Alltell's Arena Friday 6-10pm and Saturday 10am-10pm.
For more information email: email@example.com
Last Sunday several WM3 supporters embarked upon a project that we hope you will all participate in. It's easy, exciting and will have a huge impact on all who see the finished product. We are composing a living petition, a companion to the postcard banner comprised of hundreds of people speaking out about the WM3. With handheld mini DV cameras, people across the country will film supporters from teachers to business women, men in suits to rock stars, grandpa to high school student, socialite to construction worker, young, old, all walks of life...
We are asking for your help in this massive project and we have to hurry. Our deadline is April 1. The hearing in Jonesboro is just a month away and we want to blast this video montage across the country. It will be edited in Little Rock and shown all over Arkansas on buildings, barns, parking decks, on 'youtube', across the internet, on public television - - - what an amazing visual statement!
Film supporters, just a few seconds per person, making a simple statement such as 'Free the West Memphis Three' or 'They deserve a new trial' or ' Look at the evidence' or 'Go to wm3.org to learn more about this case' or 'Justice for all.' You get the picture.
Grab your video cameras. Lights, camera, action! Help us speak out.
Questions? Contact Capi Peck
Send your snail mail video to: Rob Fisher, 120 S. Cross St. Little Rock, AR 72201.
This is a perfect opportunity for those of you who have asked in the past 'What can I do to help?' - this is it!
Now raising money and awareness for the West Memphis Three.
By John P. Meyer
Along with a general reminder that Fear Fest 2 is going on this weekend at the Westin Park Central in Dallas, we've received word that the organizers will be raising money and awareness for the evidently wrongfully incarcerated West Memphis Three via a silent auction of music and entertainment-oriented memorabilia donated by the artists.
Items to be auctioned off include autographed photos from filmmaker/actor Norman Reedus, CDs and DVDs courtesy of New West Records, a collage by Damien Echols (one of the incarcerated West Memphis trio) and a Night of the Living Dead 3D DVD signed by Devil's Reject Sid Haig.
For full event information - including festival attendees and times for film screenings - check out the official Fear Fest 2 website.
Four Chico bands are following the lead of The Cure, Henry Rollins and Margaret Cho by raising money to free three imprisoned men caught in a 15-year-old murder case associated with a satanic ritual.
The Shankers, V.E., Baghdad Batteries and Season of the Witch will be playing a benefit concert Sunday at Lost on Main as part of an international concert series called Rock for Freedom Weekend. Shows in the United States, Canada and Australia will raise money for the defense fund of the three men, who many think were falsely convicted.
Beth Davis is organizing the Chico show to inform people about the murder case and help the three men prove their innocence, she said.
"It's one common goal to set the record straight," Davis said.
Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, known as the West Memphis Three, were accused of murdering three 8-year-old boys in 1993 in West Memphis, Ark.
The men were thought to have been part of a satanic ritual after the victims were found in a creek with their ankles tied to their wrists, according to wm3.org, a Web site supporting the men.
The case has received massive attention from the media and individuals because of the lack of evidence against the three men. Musicians have raised money by auctioning autographed instruments and producing compilation albums. There are also documentaries and books about the case.
At the time of the murders, Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were teenagers and had no connection to the victims, according to wm3.org. DNA belonging to the three men was not found at the murder site.
Misskelley confessed to the murders after 12 hours of police interrogations, according to wm3.org. He later retracted his statements after reporting investigators pushed him into a false confession. Misskelley was reported as having an IQ of 72, classifying him as borderline mentally retarded.
In an interview with Larry King, Echols said that personal traits such as clothing and musical tastes were also major factors used against the three men. The men wore black clothing and listened to Metallica.
Baldwin and Misskelley were given life sentences, while Echols was sentenced to death by lethal injection, according to wm3.org. Echols' execution date has not been determined.
"It's pretty much a modern-day witch trial," Davis said.
The Baghdad Batteries agreed to play the benefit show because band members think it was wrong that the case involved profiling, said vocalist Justin McBurey.
"I can relate with being different," he said.
The Shankers were compelled by the case after watching one of the documentaries, said bassist Kerra Shanker.
Shankers vocalist Johnny Shanker does not agree with the evidence used against the West Memphis Three, he said.
"They were guilty before they were accused," he said.
The Arkansas media bought into the stereotypes of troubled teens, Davis said.
Early stories helped portray Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley in a negative light, she said.
"Being in a small town, that's what happens," she said.
The time of the murders also had a lot to do with the stereotypes of the three men, Johnny Shanker said. In a small town, it was rare for people to have mohawk haircuts and listen to Metallica in the early '90s.
Even though the case is 15 years old, the Internet has helped spread the word about the case in the last few years, Davis said. People are seeing that the three men were really not strange for wearing black clothing. People can also research the case before jumping to conclusions.
"On the Internet, it's not bias," she said. "You get both sides."
In the last year, parents of two of the victims have told the media they think the West Memphis Three are innocent.
Davis thinks the statements will help the case, she said.
"Maybe more people will say 'Maybe we were wrong. Let's take another look,'" Davis said.
McBurey thinks it will take more than statements from the victims' parents for the West Memphis Three to get freedom, he said. A lot of politics are involved with the case, and it is harder when the three men have already been convicted.
The money raised from all the Rock for Freedom Weekend shows will pay for DNA testing and future hearings, Davis said.
Defense lawyers requested a new hearing in October to show that no DNA from any of the convicted men was present at the murder site. A hearing date has not been announced.
Whether the West Memphis Three are innocent or guilty, McBurey thinks they deserve closure, he said.
"I just want it all to be over."
Karla Hernández can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Attorneys say the first hearing in an appeal by one of the men convicted as teenagers in the 1993 slayings of three 8-year-old West Memphis boys will be held in April.
Dennis Riordan, a lawyer representing death-row inmate Damien Echols, said yesterday that a hearing has been scheduled for April 14 in Craighead County Circuit Court in Jonesboro. Riordan says the hearing, initially set for a judge to examine evidence from a wide-ranging appeal on Echols' behalf, likely will set a schedule for the case.
However, Riordan says it will be the first time in a decade a court has addressed issues raised on Echols' behalf.
Echols and two others were convicted in the slayings of Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore. Echols, now 33 years old, was the only one sentenced to death.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)