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18-Year-Old Fan Fills in for Pearl Jam Drummer Matt Cameron During Oakland Tour Stop

18-Year-Old Fan Fills in for Pearl Jam Drummer Matt Cameron During Oakland Tour Stop

Eddie Vedder & Kai Neukermans (Image: Melissa Lampe)
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OAKLAND (CelebrityAccess) – 18-year-old high school student Kai Neukermans was at home Thursday night when he began to get text messages from his friends who were attending the Pearl Jam concert in Oakland. The texts said Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron was sick with COVID and could not perform. After receiving numerous texts, Neukermans got an idea.

Neukermans, who knows lead singer Eddie Vedder‘s daughter Olivia, contacted her and was told guitarist Josh Klinghoffer was drumming while Cameron was absent. Neukermans, who performs with his band, The Alive, went to bed.

However, the next day, Neukermans was in school when he got a message from Olivia asking him to submit a video of himself playing a Pearl Jam song. After skipping a statistics test to record numerous takes, he sent in a video of “Mind Your Manners” and was soon contacted by the band’s manager. “My dad nearly had a heart attack,” he says.

Days later, he drummed for the grunge legends at their Oakland concert. After taking a COVID test and going to the arena, Neukermans practiced the song with the band. He waited at the side stage with his brother until it was time for the song, and Vedder introduced him, saying, “Everybody, this is Kai. Kai, this is everybody!”

Neukermans told SFGate the Friday show at the 20,000 capacity Oakland Arena was a “surreal” experience, even though he has performed at BottleRock Napa and other festivals with his band The Alive, consisting of Neukermans (18), his brother Manoa (14), and Bastian Evans (17).

“When the house lights came on, everyone screamed, and my heart skipped a beat,” Neukermans writes in a guest column at Riff magazine. “Playing with Pearl Jam blew my mind. The song only lasted three minutes, but it gave me a lifetime of memories. It happened all so quickly; from getting the nod to performing, I barely had time to think about it. I really appreciate the Pearl Jam family for taking me in and being super supportive and shredding hard!”

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