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CA Teen plays gig with Pearl Jam after drummer catches coronavirus

A California high school student played drums for iconic grunge band Pearl Jam on Friday night after the band’s drummer contracted coronavirus, KGO reports.

When legendary Pearl Jam and Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron fell ill with coronavirus from Wuhan, 18-year-old Kai Neukermans of Mini Valley thought the band needed a drummer for their gig at Oakland Arena , depending on the point of sale. He reached out to his acquaintance Olivia Vedder, the daughter of Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder, to see if he could fill in the sticks.

“I went to bed and forgot,” he explained. “And the next day I went to school and in the middle of class Olivia texted me to send her a video of me playing a Pearl Jam song because they were taking submissions.”

Before he knew it, Neukermans – who plays drums in a band called The Alive with his friend and younger brother – was leaving school for the day with his music teacher so the pair could prepare a demo for Pearl Jam, according to KGO.

the San Francisco Chronicle reported:

He sent Olivia Vedder a video of him performing on the track. Within an hour he was in contact with a coach who told him to come to the stadium. Pearl Jam had hired longtime collaborators Josh Klinghoffer, formerly of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Oakland musician Richard Stuverud to replace Cameron for most of the night. Neukermans would play a song midway through the first set.

“My heart started beating really fast,” he told KGO. “I called my dad and he told me he almost had a heart attack.”

Once Neukermans arrived at the stadium, it was time to rehearse and go over the band’s sets for the evening, according to the the Chronicle.

“They were having so much fun,” the drummer said.

Before long, Vedder was introducing him on stage to the Pearl Jam fans in attendance.

“Please welcome to the stage, Kai Neukermans from Mini Valley!” Vedder said in a video of the performance, posted on Youtube by user mfc172, as the teenager took to the stage, absorbing the moment in awe.

“We’re ready when you are. You lead the band bro,” Vedder said as the teenager counted out the beat with his sticks. They performed “Mind Your Manners”, the second track from the band’s 2013 album Flash, and once the performance was over, Vedder took the teenager to the front of the stage, where they bowed together.

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