Before becoming the drummer for Pearl Jam, Matt Cameron sat behind the kit for Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and a string of other bands. But before he did any of that, he was in a KISS cover band as a teenager… which resulted in a cease-and-desist from the rock icons.

Cameron told the story during a recent interview. “I was in a neighbourhood KISS cover band when I was 13, 14, something like that,” he recalled.

Matt Cameron of Pearl Jam as the band was inducted into the Rock Hall Of Fame Ceremony in 2017.

“We played local high schools, keggers, what not. And my dad was friends with the head of the stagehand union in San Diego, so when KISS was playing there … during the ‘Alive’ tour, that was ’75, we got to go see KISS do a soundcheck at the San Diego Sports Arena.”

“So I brought the two guys I was in the KISS band with, Tim and Dave Mahoney … and we brought our photo album from our stupid KISS cover band … to meet Paul Stanley, and we got a photo with him. We were like, ‘Hey man, we’re in a KISS cover band, here’s our stupid little photo album,’” Cameron continued.

“Cut to like, I dunno, four-to-six months later, we get a cease-and-desist letter from Aucoin Management. We were big KISS fans, and KISS used to put the logo from Aucoin Management on their albums. So [before we opened the letter], we were all excited, ‘Whoa, we’re getting a letter from Aucoin Management, we’ve made it!’ And it was a cease-and-desist from KISS.”

It may sound brutal for the band to be so harsh on a group of kids, but Cameron admitted that they did make a critical error while choosing a band name. “I think we just called [our] band KISS,” he confessed. “We didn’t really think ahead there. So after that, we had ‘KISS’ and in parentheses: ‘Imitation.’”

‘KISS (Imitation)’


Pearl Jam released their latest album Dark Matter last month and are set to kick off their world tour this week (May 4).