Pearl Jam Drummer Matt Cameron's Teenage Cover Band Got a Cease and Desist Letter from KISS

"I think we just called [our] band KISS ... We didn’t really think ahead there."

Photos: Joe Mabel (left), Joe Bielawa (right)

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Apr 25, 2024

Never meet your heroes, the old adage goes, and we imagine Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron wasn't inclined to meet his idols in KISS after the band hit his teenage cover band with a cease and desist letter.

Cameron shared the humorous anecdote while appearing with Pearl Jam on The Howard Stern Show to talk about their new album, Dark Matter.

The drummer's story begins in much cooler fashion than being served legal papers right out of the gate. As he recalled, "I was in a neighbourhood KISS cover band when I was 13, 14, something like that. We played local high schools, keggers, whatnot. 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."

Cameron's trip to soundcheck with his bandmates also included a meet-and-greet. "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.'"

This all sounds like what rock 'n' roll dreams are made of, though 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's as if the painted four-piece really have been "so effin' uncool" all these years, though Cameron did admit, "I think we just called [our] band KISS. We didn't really think ahead there. So after that, we had 'KISS' and in parentheses: 'Imitation.'"

KISS (Imitation) could be the name of the 2027 hologram show the band are cooking up following their final show at New York City's Madison Square Garden late last year.

Read Exclaim!'s review of Dark Matter. Next month, Cameron and Pearl Jam play a pair of Vancouver dates on the band's world tour behind the LP.

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