With drummer Matt Cameron still sidelined by COVID, Pearl Jam tapped an 18-year-old high school senior to fill in behind the kit.
Kai Neukermans backed Pearl Jam for their performance of “Mind Your Manners,” from 2013’s Lightning Bolt, during the band’s concert at Oakland Arena on Saturday (May 14th).
As Neukermans replayed to the San Fransisco Chronicle, he initially offered his services to Pearl Jam by texting Eddie Vedder’s daughter, Olivia. (The two had met previously at her father’s Ohana Fest). Neukermans, who drums in a band called Alive, was then asked to record video of himself drumming along to a Pearl Jam song, so he skipped school — including a statistics test — and headed to a nearby practice space. The next day, Neukermans found himself taking the stage to a crowd of nearly 20,000. “Everybody this is Kai; Kai this is everybody!” said Vedder. “You’re leading the band, brother.” Watch fan-captured footage below.
During their show in Oakland the night prior, Pearl Jam welcomed another fan — Josh Arroyo — on stage to perform drums on “Yellow Ledbetter.” Touring member Josh Klinghoffer and Richard Stuverud filled in behind the kit for the rest of the songs played during the two nights.
Pearl Jam is due back on stage Monday night in Fresno, California. You can purchase tickets to that show and the rest of PJ’s upcoming dates here.
That’s a High School senior named Kai sitting down to play drums on MYM with @PearlJam at Oakland2. Incredible presence. Like he was born to be there. #PJTour2022. #PearlJamtour #pearljam #PearlJamoakland pic.twitter.com/80cljHXzWl
— PearlJamFamily (@Pearl_Jam_Fam) May 14, 2022