OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – A Bay Area teen is finding fame Monday after a chance opportunity to take the stage with the band Pearl Jam.
The iconic rock band’s drummer was out with COVID-19 as it was set to perform in Oakland. What happened next was something straight out of a movie.
“Worth a shot.” That was the advice Mill Valley resident Kai Neukermans got after hearing the news that Pearl Jam was in a jam, with drummer Matt Cameron testing positive.
“I got a text from Olivia (Vedder, daughter of lead vocalist Eddie Vedder) telling me to send her a recording of me playing a Pearl Jam song and she said it is worth a shot,” Neukermans said.
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Last Saturday, after impressing the band with his skills, Kai filled in for a set, performing in front of a packed house at the Oakland Arena with Pearl Jam.
“Yeah, I was really scared and nervous to walk up on stage. A couple of songs were playing, and my heart was racing and then he called me up, and then once I saw the crowd lit up, it kind of freaked me out internally,” Kai said.
Yet in action, he was in the moment.
“I tried to not focus on the crowd, because it would have kind of elevated the stress and focused on the drumming and nailing of the song,” he said.
The 18-year-old Marin County resident says he started playing drums when he was just eight. Olivia Vedder, who is lead vocalist Eddie Vedder’s daughter, gave him the advice to send in his video. The two met at a music festival.
Kai is in a local band, The Alive. They play Bottlerock next.