With drummer Matt Cameron currently out with COVID-19, Pearl Jam did what any band would do to find a replacement: wait until a young wannabe drummer texts the daughter of your lead singer. 

18-year-old high schooler Kai Neukermans backed the grunge legends for their performance of ‘Mind Your Manners’ during their Oakland concert on Saturday, May 14th.

As the young musician told the San Francisco Chronicle, he first offered his drumming services by texting Eddie Vedder’s daughter, Olivia (the pair had met previously, it wasn’t just out of the blue).

Feeling generous, Pearl jam asked Neukermans to record a video of himself drumming along to one of their songs and, being the proud drummer that he is, he skipped an actual school test to head to a nearby practice space.

Just one day later and Neukermans was playing onstage with the band in front of almost 20,000 fans. “Everybody this is Kai; Kai this is everybody!” Vedder declared to the crowd. “You’re leading the band, brother.”

Neukermans’ unbelievable story came just after Pearl Jam had welcomed another fan, Josh Arroyo, to perform drums on ‘Yellow Ledbetter’ in Oakland the night before. Both sadly just got one song controlling the sticks, with Josh Klinghoffer and Richard Stuverud playing the drums during the rest of the concerts.

Neukermans certainly had an easier time than another youthful drumming prodigy, Nandi Bushell: she had to take on Dave Grohl in a drumming competition before he’d let her perform onstage with Foo Fighters. Poor Nandi had no idea all she had to was text one of Dave’s children.

Pearl Jam’s tour continues in Fresno, California this week (check out the rest of their tour dates here). Stay tuned for another random teenager being invited to perform with them.

For more on this topic, follow the Classic Rock Observer.

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