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Montana politics (Jeff-related)

<<Back Tester takes Senate campaign to Missoula, get support of popular guitarist

MISSOULA State Senate President Jon Tester of Big Sandy took his U-S Senate campaign to Missoula today and found some support from his hometown, in the form of a widely known guitarist with the band Pearl Jam.

Jeff Ament, the band's bass guitarist, grew up in Big Sandy and says he strongly supports Tester because of what he has done for small towns in Montana and his understanding of the state. Ament says Tester is NOT a classic politician.

Tester is seeking the Democratic Senate nomination in hopes of defeating incumbent Senator Conrad Burns, a Republican seeking another six-year term.

(APcredit: Tyler Claxton, KGVO)

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Senate hopeful Tester brings campaign to Missoula

By LUELLA N. BRIEN of the Missoulian

After 45 minutes of snaking through Missoula traffic, a large gray tractor-trailer parked at the University of Montana's College of Technology on Wednesday afternoon. The driver, U.S. Senate candidate Jon Tester, emerged - promising to stand up for Main Street Montana.

A former music teacher and a Democrat, Tester, 48, has been on a state tour promoting his candidacy for U.S. Senate since Tuesday.

The tour began in his hometown of Big Sandy. He has driven through Havre, Great Falls, Billings, Bozeman, Butte and, finally, Missoula.

Tester said his campaign will focus on issues that affect the overlooked populations in the state, namely the middle class and American Indians.

Too many working-class people in Montana have been pushed into the ranks of the working poor, Tester said.

After his initial swing through the state, Tester said he will begin a tour of Montana's Indian reservations. "You can't address Montana's economic issues unless you address the employment issues on reservations," he said.

He added that the state needs to start working with tribes on a government-to-government level.

Pearl Jam bassist and youth vote proponent Jeff Ament was at Wednesday afternoon's stopover in Missoula, and said he agrees with most of Tester's political agenda.

Ament, who grew up in Big Sandy with Tester, said preserving rural Montana is key to gaining young votes.

"Keeping rural Montana alive has so much to do with the youth of Montana," Ament said. "You see these small, rural communities dying and it's killing the hope for the youth. If he becomes a part of the federal Senate, he could make a big difference."

A third-generation Montana farmer, Tester was born in Havre. His organic farm grows wheat, barley, hay and alfalfa.

The University of Great Falls alumnus served four sessions in the Montana Senate, most recently as Senate president.

Tester is the third Democrat to announce his candidacy for the Senate seat. State Auditor John Morrison, 43, of Helena and newcomer Clint Wilkes, 55, of Bozeman are also running.

Tester's wife, Sharla, said Tester wanted the entire family's approval before he decided to run for U.S. Senate. "It had to be unanimous, and it was," she said.

Tester's son, Shon, said no matter what happens, his father will be pleased with the outcome.

"It's a win-win situation," the younger Tester said. "If he wins the election, he will get to represent this state, and if he loses, he'll be back on the farm and the place that he loves."

Copyright © 2005 Missoulian

-- Edited by Sarah at 23:28, 2005-05-25


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Politics & Guitars
Tester in Missoula, Could Pearl Jam Be Next?

By Courtney Lowery, 5-25-05


Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament listens to Jon Tester's candidacy announcement while wearing a sweet T-shirt.

When you find things you thought were no longer possible, it's hard not to get excited. Wednesday afternoon, I came across two such things -- a political candidate I actually like and the possibility of hearing actual music in Montana.

It seems we're lacking both these days, so to see Jon Tester and Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament standing together in the mid-afternoon Missoula sun with a tractor-trailer in the background was enough to give a person hope.

Tester was in Missoula to announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate. (He started his announcement tour Tuesday, read Chuck Johnson's full piece on the announcement here). Ament was there to support him sporting a white T-shirt with "Tester 2006" written in black marker across the chest.

The connection here is that both of them are from Big Sandy (a small farming community on the hi-line) both have watched the fabric of Montana change as the agriculture economy dropped and small businesses struggled, both want to get Conrad Burns out of the U.S. Senate and both think Jon Tester is the man for the job.

And they both may be right. Tester is in for a tough run, even in the primary. State Auditor John Morrison has already put in his bid for the Democratic ticket and there are rumors former Missoula Mayor Dan Kemmis may join the fight. This makes for a tough pool of good Democrats to wade through, but in my humble opinion (I'm no strategist. Hell, I'm not even a Democrat), if the Dems want a fighting chance against Conrad Burns, Tester is the one they want.

If you just look at the guy, you'll know why I say that. He's a tall, old farmer who thinks progressively, but acts traditionally. He's got a farmer's flatop and a farmer's belly, but he's refined enough and savvy enough to play ball with the big boys in D.C. without looking like a hick. He looks you in the eye when he tells you he knows how to represent all of Montana in the U.S. Senate and you believe him -- and he rarely spits out a canned quote. (Which I can spot from a mile away)

Sure, Morrison is a great guy with wide appeal, and I have no doubt he'd be a great senator, but he's pretty slick from an outsider's point of view. Conrad Burns has the ag contingency cornered in Montana. As a senior Senator, he's brought a lot of pork home and his folksy style resonates with the "red" Montana voters, so to win, you've got to beat Conrad at his own game. You've got to look people in the eye, you've got to really relate to them, you've got to talk small businesses and education in rural schools and agriculture reform. Tester does all of these thing and he does them well.

I asked Tester if he thought voters were ready to put another Democrat in the U.S. Senate after shooing Burns in for so many years.

"Montanans are ready to put the right Democrat in the U.S. Senate," he said.

I next asked him if he thought he could possibly get Burns' rural contingency.

"I'm going to pull some of the same base as Conrad does," he said.

Here's why I asked: I've said this before, but I always use my old farmer Dad as a litmus test for how a Democrat is going to fare in Montana. My Dad is the old guard of the real family farmer and if you want to be a Democrat and win in Montana, you've got to appeal to the Clyde Lowerys of the world. My Dad and Jon Tester would be friends. They would spot each other in a room and talk for hours about the weather. My Dad wouldn't know what to do in a room with John Morrison.

But I digress. The real news here for Missoulians is that Ament has thrown his superstar weight behind Tester and that, my friends, could mean a lot for Jon Tester (and even possibly a benefit concert from Pearl Jam.) Ament said there's a lot of things to be worked out (like campaign donation laws and whatnot) but he and the boys are going to help out in anyway they can, "I want to do it and the band is totally behind it," he said. The band is going on tour in Canada this fall and their working on finishing an album, so there's a lot to be ironed out still.

Pearl Jam is famous for their philanthropy and one of Ament's pet issues is aid to family farmers. He said the band has contemplated doing Farm Aid shows in the past, but it never quite fit. By supporting Tester, Ament says he feels like he's still supporting family farmers.

"The thing that gets me most excited about Jon being involved on a federal level is that I think he could turn the farm program around," he told the small crowd. He later told me that "we have to keep rural Montana alive." Tester, he said, is the best chance.


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Originally posted by: Sarah

"<<Tester takes Senate campaign to Missoula, get support of popular guitarist

(...) in the form of a widely known guitarist with the band Pearl Jam.

nah, jeff's two strings short of being a guitarist...
just kidding

just a pointless post to show that i'm still lurking around here although i don't have anything interesting to say...


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Originally posted by: psycosmic

" nah, jeff's two strings short of being a guitarist... just kidding just a pointless post to show that i'm still lurking around here although i don't have anything interesting to say... "

that post made me chuckle. its nice to see a new picture of Jeff. He's looking pretty damn good for 42.

by the way, im sorry i havent posted in ages, been busy with work and stuff! But i'm still in awe of jeff. its great to see he;s still standing up for what he believes in.


ok im waffling now.

take care guys



"...ahhh, passive aggressive rage...makes for some good rock n roll, my brother"

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Hey guys! Nice to see you again! You need to quit lurkin' and start postin'! Sometimes I feel like I'm all by myself here!


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RE: Montana politics (some more Jeff-related)

...Ament Sr. haircut!!!! Read on ;)

Pearl Jam may play benefit concert for Tester
By JENNIFER McKEE Missoulian State Bureau

HELENA - Negotiations are under way for headliner rock band Pearl Jam to play a Montana benefit concert for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jon Tester, president of the state Senate.

Tester confirmed Monday that concert talks were ongoing, but stressed that a concert is far from a done deal. No details were available Monday as to where and when the concert might be.

"They're working on it," Tester said, "I don't know that it's going to happen. I hope it happens, but I don't know."
Pearl Jam is a world-famous alternative rock band. Tickets for a recently announced Canadian tour sold out in minutes.

Tester, a third-generation farmer, grew up in Big Sandy, the same Golden Triangle community as Pearl Jam's bassist, Jeff Ament. Ament now lives in Missoula.

Ament's dad gave Tester his first flattop haircut, now a Tester trademark. Ament supports Tester's Senate bid and was in Missoula with Tester when he announced his candidacy in late May.

Tester said lots of things have to be hammered out before his campaign is ready to definitively announce a Pearl Jam benefit. All members of the band have to agree to it, Tester said, and the campaign has to make sure the concert adheres to all campaign finance laws.

"In order for it to happen, it's got to be done right," Tester said.

Although the election isn't until November 2006, several Democrats besides Tester have already jumped into the race. State Auditor John Morrison, a former Helena lawyer, announced his bid in April. Political newcomer Clint Wilkes, of Bozeman, also has entered the race, and former state Rep. Paul Richards, a media consultant in Boulder, also may run.

The winner of the June 2006 primary will square off against incumbent Republican Sen. Conrad Burns. Burns has held the seat since 1989 and is the longest-serving Republican Montana U.S. senator in state history.

Should the Pearl Jam concert materialize, Tester, 48, a former music teacher who plays the trumpet, said he doubted he would get on stage and perform with the band.


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RE: Montana politics (Jeff-related)

Dare I say this Board had the scoop on all this first?!


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PEARL JAM *BENEFIT CONCERT* at the University of Montana Adams Court
(Click here for more info on the University of Montana Adams Court) Tickets go on sale Saturday July 16, 2005 at 10:00AM! (Pacific Time Zone)    
Performance Date: Monday August 29, 2005 at 7:00PM (Event Local Time)   Price Level One
Number of Tickets


ADULT : $41.00   Instructions:
This event will go on sale on the date and time listed above. When the event goes on sale, the following instructions will apply. (This page will not automatically refresh when the event goes on sale, so don't forget to manually refresh the page, in order to see the "Buy Now" button.)

  • Select a price level
  • Choose the number of tickets you want in each discount category (adult, student, etc.) - up to three categories
  • Click the "Buy Now!" button
Back to Top    

Don't forget to take a listen to the latest intro song on!

-- Edited by Sarah at 23:05, 2005-07-06


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here's the official confirmation:

Welcome to the
Missoula - July 13, 2005

Hey Jammers! This newsletter was created as a direct link to the fans. We're happy to share the latest concert are the details!

Pearl Jam to Headline
August 29th Benefit Concert
in Missoula, Montana

Proceeds to Support Jon Tester's
U.S. Senate Election Bid

On Sale July 23rd at 10 A.M.
at limited TicketsWest outlets,
Big Sky Brewery, online at or by phone
at 1-800-325-SEAT

MISSOULA, MT—Pearl Jam will return to Missoula for a one night only benefit concert to support Montana Senate President Jon Tester's election bid for the U.S. Senate. Set for Monday, August 29, 2005 at 7:30 p.m. MDT at the Adams Event Center in Missoula, Montana, the event will help to raise money for the campaign while introducing Senator Jon Tester and his solutions to the key issues affecting Montana.

Tickets for this show will go on sale Saturday, July 23rd at 10 a.m. MDT through limited TicketsWest outlets, including the Big Sky Brewery in Missoula, Montana, online at or by phone at 1-800-325-SEAT (7328) on a first-come, first-served basis. Ticket prices are $46 plus applicable service charges. Fans will be allowed to purchase up to four tickets apiece. For more information about Pearl Jam's Missoula show, including ticket information and updates, go to Visit for a list of participating TicketsWest outlets.

“I have known Jeff Ament for years and I think it is wonderful that Pearl Jam wants to come out and lend their support and help me raise awareness about my campaign and to help raise the money I will need to defeat a sitting U.S. Senator,” said Senate President Jon Tester. “I am committed to the people of Montana and pleased that Jeff Ament and Pearl Jam are stepping forward to show their commitment to our future once again.”

Jeff Ament, Pearl Jam founding member and bassist, helped to bring this event together because of his ties to Big Sandy, Montana and his commitment to the state's family farmers and underserved communities. Over the past eight years he has been actively involved in Montana including supporting the 1998 Hoopfest as well as being involved in refurbishing sports facilities for Montana Parks and Recreation and building a skateboard park for the Missoula YMCA. Whether supporting Red Feather Development Corporation's efforts or staying abreast of Native American issues throughout the West, Jeff and Pearl Jam are committed to making a difference in this region.

“The future of Montana depends on keeping communities in rural Montana alive and well,” said band member Jeff Ament. “We see too many of our young folks leaving to look for work and a future elsewhere because too many of our small, rural communities are struggling. Electing Jon Tester to the U.S. Senate is one of the best things we can do for the future of Montana and our kids because he will work hard to save our Montana way of life. I'm glad we can do this benefit concert and help Jon win this election.”

Pearl Jam has a long tradition of working to engage fans of all ages in the political process. Most recently, they took part in last fall's Vote for Change concert tour as a part of their ongoing work to get young people registered to vote and involved in important issues. This latest effort demonstrates the band's ongoing commitment to exercising their rights and supporting those candidates who they feel will make a difference on the local, state, and federal levels.

Ticket Buying Restrictions

Tickets purchased for the Pearl Jam August 29th show are a federal political contribution. To comply with federal campaign laws, you will be asked to provide or verify certain information:

-- You must be at least 18 years of age to purchase tickets

-- You must be a US citizen or resident alien

-- You must purchase tickets using your own credit card

-- You cannot purchase tickets on behalf of a corporation, labor organization, federal contractor or national bank

-- You cannot be a federal contractor

-- You cannot make contributions in excess of $2,100 per election to a federal political campaign

-- Contributions or gifts to Montanans for Tester are a political contribution and are not tax deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes

-- Ticket purchases are considered political contributions to Montanans for Tester, and are subject to all federal contribution limits and source restrictions

-- Donors will be asked to provide name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer in accordance with Federal laws for campaign contribution reporting

-- For more information, visit

-- Event presented and paid for by Montanans for Tester

* * *

**Please note, there will be no Ten Club tickets for this event. **

Have a great time at the show!

Peace and love,
Sea and Kat


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Rockin' the Vote
It's Official: Jam for Tester August 29th

By Courtney Lowery, 7-12-05



Rocker Jeff Ament and U.S. Senate candidate Jon Tester have a lot in common. They're both Big Sandy, Mont. boys who want Jon Tester in Washington D.C.

And Ament is ready to help. He and his buddies (who you may know as the multi-national rock band Pearl Jam) are playing a benefit concert in Missoula on August 29 to help finance Tester, who is currently president of the Montana state senate and aims to take on Sen. Conrad Burns next year. Tickets go on sale July 23 and are available through or locally at Big Sky Brewing . Regular tickets will be $46 and require concert-goers to sign a disclaimer acknowledging they are making a campaign contribution. There will also be some more expensive special tickets up for grabs that include a reception afterward with Tester and the band.

We've been following the progression of the concert plans behind the scenes and got details from one of the organizers this week. (But the camp made the official annoucement Wednesday.) The show has been in the works since Tester's announcement last month, but jumping through all the campaign finance hoops proved to be a lengthy and complicated process. Ament told us in May that Pearl Jam was trying to scrape something together to show support for Tester because "we have to keep rural Montana alive." Jon Tester, he said, is the man for the job. "I think Jon in the U.S. Senate is the best thing we can do for the future of Montana," Ament said Wednesday.

Tester and Ament go way back. In fact, Jeff's dad, George, gave Tester his very first signature flattop haircut.

"You could say he was the first guy to make me plum and level," Tester said at the press conference Wednesday.

The announcement is not only exciting for Missoula, which has been waiting for two years to see Pearl Jam live again, but it also may just be the money fillip Tester needs to first fight a rough primary battle against long-time politician and State Auditor John Morrison, and then to challenge a large and in charge incumbent like Burns. A farmer from the hi-line, Tester has admitted that keeping up financially could be a struggle.

"I don't have the personal wealth to dump on this campaign," he said after the announcement. "This is going to help, but we're going to continue our fundraising."

He added though, that "this campaign isn't going to be about out-spending because I can't out-spend the guys running against me and I don't want to out-spend them. This is about getting my name out there, getting my message out."

Morrison has already raised $400,000 - and with his strong political pedigree, solid performance as state auditor, and good reputation among the state's intelligentsia, he's a formidable candidate. But Tester has something that Morrison can't match, and may be crucial in mounting a credible challenge to Burns: he's a plain-spoken working man from rural Montana, and voters in this state tend to respond to that. For national Democrats who salivate at the prospect of taking down a right-wing incumbent in a red state, Tester may ultimately be the more appealing candidate.

Pearl Jam could have a meaningful impact on the money side of things. The Adams Center holds about 7,500 people at it's largest configuration, and Pearl Jam has sold out the last few times it's played Missoula. Do the math (at $46 a pop that would be about $350,000) and subtract a few bucks for expenses, and you've got money that goes a long way in Montana.

Tester said bottom line, though, the concert is going to be a lot of fun. He said he may or may not do some stumping with Jeff on stage.

"He does have some trumpet skills," Ament said.

Tester wasn't so sure. "I plan do do some backflips with some trumpets .. yeah."

His wife, sitting next to me said, "I'd like to see that."


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July 14, 2005

Last modified July 14, 2005 - 12:21 am

Pearl Jam to assist campaign

HELENA - Blockbuster rock band Pearl Jam will play a benefit concert in Missoula next month to raise money for Democrat Jon Tester's bid for the U.S. Senate.

Tester, of Big Sandy and currently the state Senate president, announced the concert in Missoula Thursday with Jeff Ament, Pearl Jam's bassist and a Big Sandy native who said Tester is the only Democrat whom Ament's lifelong Republican dad would ever vote for.

"I talked to Jon maybe three or four years ago and told him if he ever decided to run for Senate or the governor, I'd be there to help him out," Ament said in a telephone interview.

The concert, Pearl Jam's first appearance in Montana in two years, will be held at the Adams Event Center at the University of Montana on Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will sell for $46 and go on sale July 23.

Pearl Jam is playing for free, said Bill Lombardi, a campaign spokesman, and all proceeds in excess of the cost of putting on the show will go to Tester's campaign. Because the ticket sales are considered a political donation, people under 18 will not be able to buy tickets, among other restrictions. People buying tickets will also have to provide their name, occupation and other information required by federal campaign finance laws.

Federal law requires campaigns to keep records of every donation a person makes that's more than $50 in a year, said Ian Stirton, a spokesman for the Federal Elections Commission in Washington, D.C., which regulates federal political campaigns. So, while Tester doesn't actually have to keep tabs of every single ticket sold and to whom for the Pearl Jam show, he'd be crossing federal elections rules if any concertgoer later gave the campaign a donation of more than $5.

Lombardi said the campaign is keeping records just in case. He said he had no idea how much money the concert might raise. The campaign hopes to sell about 7,000 tickets, meaning the concert could gross up to $322,000. Tester's campaign would only get what's left over after paying for the show.

"What we're trying to do is have some fun with a political campaign," he said, adding that the concert will help get his name out to younger voters and voters in Western Montana.

He also stressed that the event will be a concert, not a chance for Tester to give political speeches.

Tester and Ament both grew up in Big Sandy, population 710. Tester credits Ament's father with giving him his first flat-top haircut, now a Tester trademark. Ament was in Missoula earlier this summer when Tester formally announced he was running for the Senate.

"Ever since I was a little kid, I've watched Jon be involved with the Big Sandy school board, he's been involved in the community," Ament said, adding that he's followed Tester's political career since 1999, when Tester first ran for the state Senate.

Tester is one of four Democrats squaring off against incumbent Republican Sen. Conrad Burns. State Auditor John Morrison, Boulder-area media consultant Paul Richards and Clint Wilkes of Bozeman, who owns an Internet consulting company, are also in the race.

No Republican has announced plans to challenge Burns in a primary election.

Copyright © The Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.

-- Edited by Sarah at 02:39, 2005-07-14


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Pearl Jam to play benefit in Missoula
By ROB CHANEY of the Missoulian

Democratic state Sen. Jon Tester, right, and Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament on Wednesday announce an Aug. 29 Pearl Jam concert in Missoula to benefit Tester's campaign for the U.S. Senate.
Photo by TOM BAUER/Missoulian

Jon Tester's attempt to leap from the state Legislature to the U.S. Senate got a boost from international rockers Pearl Jam, who've agreed to play a benefit concert for him in Missoula on Aug. 29.

Pearl Jam bassist and Missoula resident Jeff Ament joined state Senate President Tester for the announcement in Missoula on Wednesday. The two both grew up in Big Sandy.

"I learned more about government listening to punk rock groups in the early '80s than in any history class," Ament said. "We're artists. There's a little bit of theater in what we do. We want people to come and have a good time, maybe pick up a one-sheet and let people know Jon Tester's name and what he stands for."

Tester tracked his connection to Ament back a generation, recalling how Ament's father was mayor of Big Sandy, as well as school bus driver. Tester has been a farmer, butcher and teacher in the Big Sandy area all his life. Although he used to teach music in the Big Sandy school district, and still occasionally plays trumpet, he promised he would not perform at the Pearl Jam concert.

"Any time you can do something that makes politics fun, we're going to do it if we can," Tester said. "We're not going to be having a bunch of stump speeches and all that. It's a concert."

Ament said he first called Tester with an offer of support three years ago when he heard rumors that Tester was running for governor. Tester opted not to enter that race. But this spring, he announced he was seeking the national post and called Ament about his pledge.

"I told him if he ever needed help running for higher office, I'd be there," Ament said. His colleagues in Pearl Jam have a history of performing for various benefit causes, including Vote for Change, children's health research and a campaign in North Carolina opposing former Republican Sen. Jesse Helms.

"We've wanted to be involved in Farm Aid for a long time," Ament said, "but this is better than Farm Aid. This is about getting a farmer into the Senate."

The tickets will come with some paperwork. Because the show is a political fundraising event, buyers must be 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or resident alien. They may not be a federal contractor and can't be bought on behalf of a corporation, labor organization or national bank. Buying a concert ticket is the same as making a contribution to Tester's campaign, so purchasers will be asked to provide their names, addresses and occupation for record-keeping on federal campaign contribution reports. The ticket price will also go toward any individual's $2,100 contribution limit to an individual in a federal office campaign.

"We absolutely have to follow the campaign finance laws," Tester said of the restrictions and record-keeping for the show. Tester and state Auditor John Morrison drew criticism in June for using automated phone systems to request donations, in apparent violation of state law.

"The robo-calls are done," Tester said Wednesday. "That's behind us. We thought we were running on the proper plane with those."

Tester faces state Auditor John Morrison of Helena, Internet consultant Clint Wilkes of Bozeman and public interest consultant Paul Richards of Boulder Valley southeast of Helena in the Democratic primary to challenge Republican incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns. Burns is seeking his third six-year term.

Reporter Rob Chaney can be reached at 523-5382 or at

-- Edited by Sarah at 02:44, 2005-07-14


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HOW CUTE IS JEFF! AWWWW this is so neat!! Its nice to see those that move away from the small town(s) go back and help out!!

thanks for posting!!!!


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From July 21st...

Pearl Jammin' for a Senate seat
For bassist Jeff Ament, backing Democratic candidate is walking the political walk
By JAMIE KELLY of the Missoulian

Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder roils on stage with bassist Jeff Ament in the background during the band's Australian tour in 2003.
Photo by ZUMA Press

For the record, Jeff Ament, the bass player for Pearl Jam, backs Jon Tester for U.S. Senate.

And just in case there's any doubt, so do the rest of the members of Pearl Jam.

That much you could probably guess, since the band announced last week that it's performing a concert in Missoula on Aug. 29 to bolster Tester's bid to oust Republican Sen. Conrad Burns.

What may be a mystery to people is why. Why would Pearl Jam, one of the most influential bands in American music history, a band that helped usher in and rode the creative wave of an enormously popular rock movement, and that continues to exert a huge musical influence to this day, get involved in a Montana Senate race?

The answer lies in the mind of the soft-spoken Ament, a Montana-raised musician who, like the rest of his band mates, wears his politics clearly on his sleeve.

"It's hard for us not to be involved with things," says Ament, in an interview from his Missoula home. "When you have so much information and you see so much need, there's too much going on for us not to get involved."

Pearl Jam's politics and stance on social issues are well-known, as are its social-activism credentials. When the band first rocketed to fame 15 years ago, it was tough to decide what to back and when, said Ament.

"It was hard to figure out what were the good causes, the bad causes, even the good politics and the bad politics. So we started taking requests and figuring it out."

In the case of Senate hopeful Tester, there is the obvious hometown connection. Ament, like Tester, grew up in Big Sandy, a small farming community 80 miles northeast of Great Falls, where everybody knows your name and probably the ph level of your soil.

But for Ament, it's more than just that connection that got Pearl Jam involved in this race. Lead singer Eddie Vedder and Co. have backed and promoted liberal causes before (on the "activism" section of their Web site, they promote the liberal group; and, according to Ament, "dissident-minded" writers Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn figure big in the political reading). But, as the saying goes, all politics are local. And when Ament pitched the idea of backing Tester in a concert, it didn't take much persuasion.

"They were curious about what Jon was about," says Ament. "People from Farm Aid have approached us about shows. We'd just never done it. So part of my pitch to the band is that this IS farm aid.  If (Tester) was elected to the Senate, he could potentially, over a term or two, have a big influence in changing the subsidy programs around. I really feel like he has a strong grasp on the farm world."

Tester says he considers Ament a friend, and is more than happy to have the support of Pearl Jam, even though lead singer Eddie Vedder has had some choice (and controversial) words for President Bush and the war in Iraq. In April 2003, for example, at a concert in Denver, Vedder impaled a mask of Bush on his microphone stand and then slammed it to the ground, prompting some in attendance to walk out of the concert in revulsion.

"I never looked at Pearl Jam as controversial," says Tester. "I'm sure some people would paint it that way. I appreciate the dedication that they have, particularly Jeff. That's how I look at it. I look at the things that have been done that are good."

It was Tester who hatched the idea a couple of years ago. Back in Big Sandy around the holidays, Tester approached Ament about a possible run for the Senate.

"He just made an offer then that if I ever needed any help, that's he'd give me a hand," says Tester. "He's a good guy and comes from a good family. He's the kind of guy I knew was sincere when he said it. I didn't know the flexibility the band would have. But I had made up my mind that I was sure I was going to do it."

And by Ament's recollection, it was at a Big Sandy community chili feed three years ago or so that he first heard of Tester's political aspirations. Either way, about four months ago, he got his call from Tester. And they both decided Missoula, where people may not know much about a farmer from east of the divide, would be the place to play.

"When we first talked about it, I told Jon, wherever you want to play, it's your show," says Ament. "Great Falls, Billings, just let us know where it'd do the most good. He felt like people in the east knew who he was, and maybe people in the west didn't. And I'm not going to say no to playing a show in Missoula."

Bill Lombardi, Tester's campaign spokesman, says he expect a big boost from the Pearl Jam concert.

"This really helps the campaign a lot, and pushes it into another level of credibility," he says. "Hopefully we'll raise some money, get some name recognition, and attract an audience of people who wouldn't normally be paying attention to something like this."

The Aug. 29 concert, which will be held in the Adams Center, isn't just a concert.

You'll know that the second you go to purchase your tickets, which go on sale Saturday.

You're not just a concertgoer. You're a campaign contributor.

And you're a campaign contributor in an election for federal office. Have your ID ready. And get ready to fill out some paperwork.

There are about 234 pages of federal laws and regulations regarding elections. The federal government doesn't hand out convenient little pamphlets, after all, unless it's about radon safety or ways to keep your kids from smoking herb. You get those pamphlets in Pueblo, Colo.

The parties that are bringing together Tester and Pearl Jam have spent a lot of time with their lawyers, making sure that everything is square with the enforcers of campaign finance law.

"We're definitely playing this by the book to make sure this is by the book," says Elizabeth Wilhelm, director of UM Productions.

The Montana Code of Ethics stipulates that no public institution can promote a political event, so no tickets will be sold at the Adams Center or the UC Box Office, where normally people would line up to get concert tickets at an event in the Adams Center. UM Productions is merely serving as the arbiter between concertgoers and the Pearl Jam/Tester production.

"We're not doing anything differently than we would do for any other client," says Wilhelm. "Our work starts once the contracts are all signed. Basically, we're trying to make things smooth with the band."

Lombardi said he and Tester are aware of the potential pitfalls of not following the letter of the law.

"You have to work through all the channels to make sure you do it right," he says. "That's what we've been doing with all the folks at UM. Everybody involved has complied with Federal Election Commission rules and guidelines. Š It's a lot more work than just putting on a concert."

Adds Tester:

"They're pretty strict, and we anticipated we'd have to jump through the hoops. We knew it wouldn't be a cakewalk. But we're comfortable with it."


Tickets for the Aug. 29 Pearl Jam concert will go on sale Saturday, July 23 at 10 a.m. ONLY through limited TicketsWest outlets, including the Big Sky Brewery in Missoula, online at or by phone at 1-800-325-SEAT (7328) on a first-come, first-served basis. (They are not available at the Adams Center or the UC Box Office). Ticket prices are $46 plus applicable service charges. Outlets will only accept credit card purchases. Fans will be allowed to purchase up to four tickets apiece.

You cannot purchase tickets on behalf of a corporation, labor organization, federal contractor or national bank

You cannot be a federal contractor

You cannot pay cash

Because of limitations on individual contributions to campaigns, you cannot purchase more than four tickets

Purchase of tickets constitutes a political contribution and is not tax-deductible on your federal income taxes

Ticket buyers must provide their name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer in accordance with federal laws for campaign contribution reporting

Reach Entertainer editor Jamie Kelly at 523-5254 or at

-- Edited by Sarah at 01:22, 2005-08-01


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Some pics, courtesy of



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Our first article/review! Also, I read elsewhere that there was a post-show meet-and-greet with Jeff and Jon Tester. If anyone knows anything further about how that went, please post!

Democratic Senate hopeful plays off band's 'cool' vibe at concert
By JOE NICKELL of the Missoulian

Jon Tester, right, candidate for Montana's U.S. Senate seat, joins Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament on stage Monday night to introduce the rest of the band.
Photo by KURT WILSON/Missoulian

They came from eastern Montana and Washington and Arizona. Some wore their political inclinations on their sleeves, or on their chests, their shirts proclaiming everything from the derogatory - "Bush Sucks!" - to the hopeful: "Tester For Senate." There were preteen kids in backward baseball caps, graying men in business suits, and even a few avowed Republicans.

Most at Monday night's Pearl Jam concert at the Adams Center at least shared the knowledge that the event was a benefit for Jon Tester, the Big Sandy Democrat vying for a seat in the U.S. Senate now occupied by Republican Conrad Burns.

But a few were clueless.

"Is he the incumbent?" one concertgoer innocently asked a Tester volunteer.

That guy, at least, could be excused: He was Dale Green, 29, a Pearl Jam fan who had traveled from Aberdeen, Wash., in order to see the band perform in Missoula. Green nonetheless was intrigued by Pearl Jam's willingness to support Tester.

"The fact that (Pearl Jam bassist and Missoula resident) Jeff Ament is supporting (Tester) says a lot," asserted Green. "To see Jeff putting himself out there for this guy means something."

That sentiment - that Jon Tester must be cool, because Jeff Ament is cool - seemed to rule the night at the concert, which drew a near-capacity crowd to the arena on the University of Montana campus.

"I read about (Tester) in the paper," said Jenaveve Bell, a 22-year old University of Montana student. "He sounded like a good guy, and he's friends with Jeff Ament, so I'd like to know more about him."

Bell probably didn't learn much Monday night. Other than a small, two-sided card being handed out before the event by volunteers who ringed the entrance to the Adams Center, little information about Tester's positions was offered at the concert.

"Whether we raise a nickel, if we can get the young people of Montana fired up about this campaign, we've succeeded," said Tester, standing outside the arena greeting concertgoers before the event. "We're not really pushing our platform here; we just want to raise awareness."

Inside, after an opening performance by Seattle band The Briefs, Ament took the stage around 8:30 p.m. to a standing ovation from the crowd. After a few thank-yous, he introduced Tester, who was welcomed with equal warmth.

"This is what happens when a dirt farmer from Big Sandy runs for Senate teamed up with a bass player from Montana who's a member of a world-famous band," said Tester to the crowd.

With that, Pearl Jam launched into its performance. (Read a review of the concert in Thursday's Entertainer.)

For most in attendance, that was what the event was all about: a concert. Especially for people like Josh Richards.

"I'm a Republican," said the 20-year old business student. "But you can't pass up Pearl Jam."

Reporter Joe Nickell can be reached at 523-5358 or

-- Edited by Sarah at 00:52, 2005-08-30


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Some nice comments in the Blog on this one...

Politics & Music
Pearl Jam Rocks for Senate Candidate Tester

By Jonathan Weber, 8-30-05


Pearl Jam posted this photo this morning on the band's Web site. Tester only spoke for a few moments, but long enough to say of Ament and himself, "We're just a couple of Montana boys trying to have a good time."

It's always a bit tricky for a big-time band like Pearl Jam to take on a political cause, for the simple reason that fans, regardless of their political sympathies, are paying their $50 to hear music, not speeches or policy analysis. On the other hand, Pearl Jam has often been more willing to take a stand than most bands - remember its war with Ticketmaster in the early 1990s? - and last night at the Adams Center it showed just the right touch. Front man and new father Eddie Vedder had some sympathetic words for anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan, and assured the audience that the band wouldn't "steer you wrong" with its backing of Jon Tester for U.S. Senate, but mostly he rocked out.

Bass player Jeff Ament, the Big Sandy native and Missoula resident who made the event happen, was even more demur on the political comments, but he received hearty, even raucus appreciation from the crowd, and seemed especially animated on stage. I'm no afficionado of rock concerts but I thought it was a great show, the band relaxed and enjoying itself even as it missed a few beats. I'm sure Jon Tester - and the legions of young, blue-shirted volunteers he recruited to raise the political consciousness of the crowd, or at least register them to vote - would agree.
By Jonathan Weber, 8-30-05 | comments (3) | add comment | email this story | read more like this


By Courtney Lowery, 8-30-05 My favorite moment of the night was the long monologue Vedder gave praising Jeff. Jeff seemed just a tad embarassed (he's a pretty humble guy) and as the crowd chanted his name, instead of stepping to the mic to talk, he wiped his forhead with his red, white and blue wrist band and took a swig of Eddie's bottle.

The coolest quote about Jeff from Eddie: "When Jeff got a bit of money from our band in Seattle, the first thing he did was move back here."

They always seem to love playing in Missoula -- I think it's a comfortable place for them to open because they know we'll love them even if they accidently wrap their mic cord around a speaker or flub up a few set beginnings.

And they'll return to Missoula, it seems.

"We'll see you next tour for sure," Vedder said.

By Scott Poniewaz, 8-30-05 I must say, it was a great show! Another thing to remember is the last time they came to Missoula, they were giving a portion of their ticket sales to the Missoula Skatepark. Every tour they do, they seem to be giving back.

I can't quote it exactly, but it was also great when Vedder said that the band doesn't just back anyone. Tester's a lucky guy, how many other Senate candidates have a big rock band play for their campaign?

By Courtney Lowery, 8-30-05 And, just a tidbit ... you know thos super cool posters and T-Shirts roaming around (including on Jeff Ament)? Jeff designed those ... he's also a bit of a graphic designer. I'll wager those will be worth some money some day.



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If you haven't checked already, has the setlist and live photos from the Tester benefit show...

Writeup below courtesy of the almighty TFT (

08/29/05 - Adams Event Center, Missoula, MT
attendance: approx 7500
main set: MFC, Save You, Do The Evolution, 1/2 Full, Insignificance, Given To Fly, Sad, Even Flow, Faithfull, Daughter, Lukin, Grievance (incomplete), Whipping, I Got Shit, Nothing As It Seems, Rearviewmirror
first encore: Elderly Woman ..., Sleight of Hand, Black, Glorified G, Alive
second encore: Bee Girl (Ed and Jeff), Black Red Yellow, Better Man, Porch
third encore: Yellow Ledbetter
TFT Notes: This show was a political fundraiser for Montana politician Jon Tester's U.S. Senate Election Bid. Jeff Ament takes the stage first and thanks many people but "mostly, I want to thank the band - I want to thank Ed, Stone, Matt and Mike for coming over." Continuing he introduces the "next senator of Montana", Jon Tester. Jon Tester briefly and enthusiastic introduces Pearl Jam, alluding to his experience with fellow Montanan Jeff Ament, "this is what happens when a dirt farmer from Big Sandy runs for the U.S Senate teamed up with a bass player from Big Sandy and a world-class band. We're just a couple of Montana boys tyring to have a good time." The band took the stage with the house lights still up. The crowd sings the last chorus of "Even Flow" after Ed pleas "Would you do me the privilege of singing this next chorus on your own? Giving me the day off, just for a chorus? Loud as you can, that kinda thing. Shall we? I'd be grateful." Before the outro of "Faithfull", Ed prepends:

I think we want to believe. I think we deserve to believe.
Something ... something ... something ...
They aint' trying to screw us, or rip us off, or tear us apart, or kill us, or take our lives. Lord have mercy...
M-Y-T-H-S ...
After some back-and-forth shout outs at the beginning of the "Daughter" jam, Ed sings an improv to the common tune of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2":
"We don't need no misrepresentation
We don't need no Fox News Report
Take your bias, shove it up your asses
Don't you remember what the truth is worth?
Reporters leave Cindy Sheehan alone
Leave her alone...

Ed dedicates "Elderly Woman ..." to "the Mayor of Big Sandy" - Jon Tester, that is. The "Jeff Chant" is back in full force after "Black" and Ed praises Jeff saying that "when Jeff got a bit of money, from our band working in Seattle, the first thing he did was move back here." "Bee Girl" is played for the first time since October 2, 1994, a gap of 320 shows, and Ed acknowledges both prior performances (October 18, 1993 (Rockline) and October 2, 1994). With Phil Jackson (former Chicago Bulls coach, now L.A. Lakers coarch) in attendance, "Black, Red, Yellow" - written about "six extraordinary human beings that work together as a team" - is played for the first time since November 24, 1996, a gap of 246 shows. "Porch" starts again with the slow, funky intro. Before "Yellow Ledbetter", Ed salutes the crowd, acknowledging "it's been awhile since we played live, so we spend time living normal lives, we have no idea that there's this kind of energy out there waiting for us, so thanks again." All songs played tonight are Pearl Jam songs, no covers.



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Found this article about one day too late! Hehehe!

Issue Date 8/25/2005

Rustling up voters
by Skylar Browning

Photo courtesy of Tester for Senate

Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, left, who grew up with Democratic senate candidate Jon Tester in Big Sandy, volunteered to have the band play for Tester in Missoula.
Jeff Ament tries to help Jon Tester find his voice

Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament isn’t usually one for the political limelight. But the mild-mannered Montana native has made an exception to help get the word out for longtime family friend and Democratic senate candidate Jon Tester—even going so far as to indulge national media requests, including one interview-gone-wild with political talk radio host Janeane Garofalo.

“I’ve done some things that I would never do, but it’s all just about trying to get Jon the opportunity,” explains Ament, speaking from Seattle while the band was rehearsing for its upcoming Canadian tour and next week’s benefit concert for Tester in Missoula. “When I met with Janeane, the first half was really good and then it kind of turned into that political talk radio thing. There’s really a fine line between when it’s kind of funny and joking and when something gets misread.”

Ament ended up getting caught in a minor political crossfire when Garofalo misunderstood a comment he made—she thought he had lumped her in with “hated” media types—resulting in a somewhat awkward exchange with the Air America host. Ament patiently waited until the segment was over to smooth over the situation off-air.

“It’s a weird thing,” says Ament of political talk radio. “I’ve always been a little uncomfortable being too much in the spotlight with any of this stuff. I could never do this sort of thing on a continual basis because it’s just too all-the-time.”

But in the case of helping Tester, who grew up with Ament in Big Sandy, he’s willing to brave the elements. When Tester announced his plan to run as a Democratic challenger to Republican Sen. Conrad Burns in 2006, one of the first people he called for support was Ament.

“My dad, who was a lifelong Republican [and longtime mayor of Big Sandy], said it didn’t matter if Jon was a Libertarian or Democrat or whatever, he was a good man and he’d stand beside him—that always stuck with me,” explains Ament, who has followed Tester’s political career as he’s risen from the local school board to president of the state senate. “I told Jon three years ago I would help him however I could when he took the next step, and then he called me about six months ago and said, ‘I’m going to run for senate and you’re the only person I know.’”

Air America interviews aside, setting up the benefit concert has been a logistical labyrinth, requiring the juggling of strict political fund-raising regulations on top of the usual hassles of planning a major concert. But despite all of the paperwork (ticket buyers are required to fill out certain forms since the ticket price is considered a campaign contribution), in the end the show is shaping up to be a typical rock-oriented Pearl Jam concert. Tester says he’s not interested in addressing the crowd, and that he most certainly will not show off his musical chops (he played trumpet and graduated from the University of Great Falls with a music degree). And Ament doesn’t anticipate any long political monologues.

“This is going to be a kick in the butt. I really think it is going to be a lot of fun,” says Tester, who adds his campaign is considering a second fund-raising concert with another “award-winning artist” who’s shown interest in the campaign, possibly in Great Falls or Helena. “This is a little different twist from our normal campaigning—we’re still going around and raising money and meeting people and talking issues, but we’re throwing a little music into this, too. This thing is just about having a good time. I think it just speaks about who I am that I’m doing this.”

But, naturally, there is a bit more to it than fun: Although tickets are still available, the event is expected to raise much-needed money for an expensive campaign (before challenging the well-funded Burns, Tester must first win a primary against John Morrison, Clint Wilkes and Paul Richards), as well as boost Tester’s profile in Western Montana.

“I think he has some good progressive ideas that aren’t so progressive they would turn off the 70- and 80-year-old Montanans,” says Ament. “His ideas are progressive, but they’re within the boundaries of what people who have lived here their whole life would say are representative of Montana.”

Ament adds: “If he just gets the opportunity to be seen and to be heard—if people can just hear him speak—then that’s going to give him the shot that he needs. He’s such a great Montana presence and he really exudes that Montana quality and honesty and confidence. I really believe that. More than anything, this show is just about giving Jon a chance and an opportunity, and I’d do anything to help make that happen.”

Tickets for the Pearl Jam concert are still available at Big Sky Brewery (5417 Trumpeter Way) in Missoula and the Red Lion Center in Kalispell (20 North Main St.), online at, or by phone at 1-800-325-SEAT, for $46. Since the concert is a political fund-raiser, tickets are limited to four per person, and cash is not accepted. The show is Monday, Aug. 29, at 7:30 PM in the Adams Center. The Briefs open.

Can Conrad rock, too?

Pearl Jam taking the stage for a Democratic senate candidate who shares a hometown with the band’s bassist is a no-brainer. The question is, if given the opportunity to host a similar event of his own, who would Republican Sen. Conrad Burns choose to rock out on his behalf?

While Burns spokesperson J.P. Pendleton had “no comment at all” on Tester’s upcoming Pearl Jam fund-raiser, he thought long and hard when posed the question of whom the incumbent would call upon for his own hypothetical concert. “That’s a hell of a good question,” he said, followed by a long silence.

While Pendleton considered the possibilities—Ted Nugent? Toby Keith?—he explained that Burns, 70, was a fan of all kinds of music.

Including Pearl Jam?

“No, not particularly. He’s definitely not into the Seattle grunge, post-grunge-type thing,” Pendleton said. “I wouldn’t put that at the top of his list.”

Burns prefers music in the classical and country-western veins, Pendleton explained, and when pressed for a specific band name, he said the senator might choose the Montana Summer Symphony. “I’m trying to think of something more modern,” he admitted, “but I’m not sure.”

Tester wasn’t sure what to suggest, either. Asked whom his would-be opponent should jam with, he laughed and said, “I don’t have any idea. I don’t even want to guess.”

Ament, however, gave it some thought: “Wasn’t Huey Lewis trying to close a part of the Bitterroot River?” he asked, referring to the former rocker’s contention that Mitchell Slough, which runs through his property, is private. “Well there you go. Huey might be the right guy. That seems like Conrad’s politics and Judy Martz’s politics—they kind of fudge the rules to benefit themselves. Huey would be a good guy [for Conrad].”

—Skylar Browning


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The poster designed by Monsieur Ament...


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Tester: Pearl Jam fundraiser a success

Tribune Capitol Bureau

HELENA — The day after one of Montana's more unusual political fundraisers — a rock concert by the band Pearl Jam — its beneficiary termed it a success, although he didn't know yet how much money it raised.

"It was a hell of a show; it was amazing," said U.S. Senate candidate Jon Tester, a Democratic state senator from Big Sandy. "I was really nervous before I walked on stage, but when I walked out, the place had so much energy."

Pearl Jam, whose bass player Jeff Ament is also from Big Sandy, donated its time for the Monday night show in Missoula.

Ament introduced Tester, who then introduced the band at Monday night's show. About 4,570 people paid $46 each to attend the concert at the Adams Center on the University of Montana campus.

While the band donated its time, the Tester campaign must pay all other costs of the show, such as the road production crew and rental of the Adams Center.

Campaign consultant Bill Lombardi said he didn't have an estimate on those costs, but that a final figure should be available early next month.

Tester is one of four Democrats vying for the nomination to challenge Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., who is up for re-election next year.

Tester's best-known Democratic opponent is State Auditor John Morrison, who reported raising $400,000 during the first six months of this year. Tester raised about $57,000 during the same period.

Morrison said Tuesday his fundraising continues to go well.

When asked about the Pearl Jam concert, Morrison said he hopes those who attended "will keep their enthusiasm and channel it to bringing new leadership to Washington (D.C.) next year."

The other two Democrats in the race are Paul Richards, a communications consultant from Boulder, and Clint Wilkes of Bozeman, who runs an Internet consulting firm.

As of June 30, Burns had $2.3 million in his campaign fund.

Tester, an organic farmer, is president of the Montana Senate, but is barred by term limits from running for re-election to the state Senate next year.

He's been emphasizing his work in the Senate on energy, education and health-care issues, but the Pearl Jam concert has been the center of attention for his campaign in recent weeks.

Ament, who's known the Tester family for years, offered to help if Tester chose to run for the U.S. Senate.

The grunge-rock band is known for its energetic live shows and outspoken politics, including criticism of the Iraq war.

Lead singer Eddie Vedder and the band were the subject of widespread criticism themselves two years ago, after Vedder placed a mask of George W. Bush on a microphone at a concert during a performance of "Bushleaguer," a song critical of the president.

One news report said he "impaled" the mask on the microphone, and newspaper editorials and conservative commentators blasted Vedder for tastelessly disrespecting the president.

Vedder and band members said the incident was blown out of proportion, and that political comment is a frequent part of their live shows.

When asked whether having Pearl Jam help him raise money said anything about his politics, Tester said he considers Ament and the band members to be "quality guys."

"I'm never going to turn down support from quality people," he said.

Tester, a former music teacher, said he probably prefers "country rock" to Pearl Jam's hard-driving style of rock 'n' roll, but that he liked the Missoula show.

"They know how to entertain," he said of the band.

Tester said he stayed for the entire show and then grabbed a late burger at the Missoula Club before driving to Helena, where he's attending meetings of the Quality Schools Interim Committee.

The legislative panel is working on a rewrite of the state's public school funding system.


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Show review!


Pearl Jam-tasticIt didn't have to be, but this was one of the best concerts of the year.

Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament plays before a crowd of fans at the University of Montana's Adams Center on Monday during a concert in support for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jon Tester. ABOVE: Lead singer Eddie Vedder wails.

of the Missoulian

The following offenses were committed at Monday night's Pearl Jam show in the Adams Center.

To wit:

Eddie Vedder did trip and nearly launch himself into the trap set, but saved himself by instead landing on a couple of monitors.

Vedder got all mushy with a story about his 1-year-old, then said how he'll never forget the day when his baby first called him by his first name. How adorable. "Goo, goo, goo .. Eddie!"

"Even Flow" was cranked out at approximately quarter note, so fast that it was barely recognizable.

The band actually stumbled over and nearly lost the beat at least once, and stopped mid-tune to regroup.

Security personnel were so anal that one of the yellow-shirted dudes checked my ticket and asked me to move approximately five inches to my right to make me stand squarely in front of my seat.

A skater punk band to open? Huh?

The Adams Center's acoustics, which are normally rank and diffuse, were instead rotten and terrible.

I do believe I detected the odor of the Mary Jane.

That's the list. The rest? Damn, what a show.

For nearly three hours - including a full 10 encore songs - Pearl Jam rocked the Adams Center into a stupefying frenzy.

It was the best Pearl Jam concert in Missoula. Ever. And I should know. I've been to four of them.

I'll confess that I'm no PJ groupie. In my library sit "Ten" and "Yield" and that's it. But you don't need to be a raving PJ lunatic to get moved bodily by these guys, especially when they're on fire.

One thing became clear to a semi-fan like me as the show progressed: Pearl Jam's body of work has become enormous, and this band that at one time seemed so unfortunately pigeonholed into that horribly named "grunge" movement now has a stash of material that's rocking, sweet, soulful, driving, melancholy and - well, really damn good.

These are amazing musicians, no doubt about it. What's more, they don't do things on the cheap. It's one thing to give a free show for a political cause - in this case, Jon Tester's Democratic bid for the U.S. Senate. It's another thing to give a free show that's worth, at least from my point of view, more than the ticket price. (Full disclosure: While the Missoulian normally buys our tickets, we were instead given press passes because of the political nature of this event).

Yeah, PJ could have said a few nice words about Tester and played a few chart-toppers, hurried off the stage and called it a night. They're playing for free, right?

But the music kept coming, and coming, and coming. Nothing was held back, short-cutted or half-assed. The first encore, which Pearl Jam made the screaming hordes wait a full 10 minutes for, was five tunes long and included "Small Town," "Black" and the delirium-inducing "Alive."

But it wasn't over. Two more encores ensued, and nobody - not a stitch of humanity - left that place, outside the few who were drunk and combative and got a quick date with a police officer.

You'd never know, aside from looking up at the rafter seats, that the concert didn't sell out. In fact, you'd never know that you weren't seated in a 30,000-seat auditorium, considering the ear-splitting shrieks that 5,000 or so people are apparently capable of producing.

Of course you can't have a Pearl Jam concert without the politics, Democratic fund-raiser or not. Vedder didn't disappoint. Jabs at President Bush were everywhere, overt and otherwise. Vedder launched into some improvised lyrics set to "Another Brick in the Wall" as the song "Daughter" closed: "We don't need no misrepresentation/We don't need no Fox News reports/Take your bias and shove it up your asses/Don't you remember what the truth is worth?"

At least he didn't spear a picture of Conrad Burns with his mike stand, which he did to a likeness of President Bush a couple of years ago in Denver.

I wasn't there for the politics, anyway, though I imagine many were. Conrad Burns will be a formidable foe for Tester. Personally, I find it highly fascinating that Tester would choose to align himself with Pearl Jam, politically speaking, since Vedder has been such a lightning rod and symbol of positions that aren't just liberal, but outright radical.

But hey. That's politics for you. And besides, Missoula's lefties don't mind.

Near the end, Vedder, who seemed foggy-brained the entire concert during his brief monologues, singled out his friend and Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, whom he lauded for sticking to his small-town roots and generally being a nice guy.

Having interviewed Ament, I'd agree. The crowd went ape and gave him the standing ovation he deserved.

"When Jeff got a little bit of money from our band in Seattle," said Vedder, "the first thing he did was move back here." More ape-like crowd behavior.

As if Pearl Jam's enormous set and fierce energy didn't give us enough to go bats over anyway.

Reach Jamie Kelly at 523-5254 or at

-- Edited by Sarah at 06:12, 2005-09-01


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October 4, 2005

Last modified October 4, 2005 - 6:34 am

Tester campaign nets $85K at rock concert

HELENA - Rock 'n' roll paid good dividends for U.S. Senate candidate Jon Tester in August, as his campaign netted $85,000 from a benefit concert by the band Pearl Jam, a campaign spokesman said Monday.

The Seattle-based rock band, whose bass player Jeff Ament is from Tester's home town of Big Sandy, staged a benefit concert for the Tester campaign on Aug. 29 in Missoula.

About 4,700 people paid $46 apiece to attend the show at the University of Montana Field House.

Tester is one of four Democrats running for the nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, who is seeking his fourth consecutive term.

Other Democrats in the Senate race are state Auditor John Morrison, Boulder writer and consultant Paul Richards, and Internet businessman Clint Wilkes of Bozeman.

Campaign spokesman Bill Lombardi said the concert and related promotional and fundraising events grossed about $230,000, but the Tester campaign had to pay $145,000 in concert-related expenses.

Those expenses included transportation for the band and its equipment, rental of the Field House, security, advertising and the road crew for the band, he said.

"The goal of the concert was to raise money, raise awareness (of the campaign), energize young voters and bring some good music to Montana," Lombardi said. "The concert accomplished all four goals."

Ticket-buyers also had to register their names and addresses. Lombardi said the list of buyers as will be used like any other contributor list for a campaign, which may solicit further donations or other assistance from the ticket-buyers.

Tester appeared briefly on stage at the beginning of the concert. Band members and Tester also attended a fundraising reception before the concert.

The candidates, including Burns, are scheduled to file their latest campaign finance reports by Oct. 15 unless they've raised or spent less than $5,000. The report will include campaign finance details for the three-month period ending last Friday.

-- Edited by Sarah at 21:34, 2005-10-04

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