Eddie Vedder Didn't Know Where Manitoba Was

Steve Albini prank-called him while pretending to be producer Tony Visconti

BY Alex HudsonPublished Oct 23, 2023

Manitoba is known as "Canada's heart" — but don't tell that to Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, who had apparently never heard of Canada's centremost province when Steve Albini prank-called him back in 1993.

Albini and Nirvana's Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic reminisced about the incident during an appearance on the podcast Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend. While recording the album In Utero, the guys killed time by prank-calling some famous people, including Gene Simmons of KISS and Evan Dando of the Lemonheads. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before they set their sights on the Pearl Jam vocalist.

"I pretended to be Tony Visconti," Albini recalled, referring to the producer known for his extensive work with David Bowie. "I can't remember the context, but I was like, 'I'm here with the Black Crowes' — I had some bullshit band that I had claimed I was with — 'and they were playing me your record. I want to get you in the studio with a real band. Guys who can really play.'"

Albini acknowledged that Vedder "handled it pretty deftly" and "acquitted himself well," and Grohl chimed in with an additional anecdote about the prank call: "At one point he [Vedder] goes, 'Where are you?'"

"'I'm in Manitoba,' Albini apparently responded. "'Do you know where that is?' And there's this long pause and he goes, '…No.'"

This incident took place in February 1993. Vedder presumably found out where Manitoba is fairly soon after, since Pearl Jam headlined Sunfest in Gimli, MB, in August of that same year. They've since played Winnipeg a couple of times over the years.

Watch Albini, Grohl and Novoselic discuss their prank calls in the video below [via Variety]. The part with Vedder happens near the end of the clip.

This is the same interview in which Grohl discussed lighting his own ass on fire.

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