Pearl Jam have been celebrating their 20th anniversary all month long – with a two-day festival, a Cameron Crowe-directed documentary and a coffee-table book. But they can't wait to get back to making new music. The band recently offered a hard-charging new rocker called "Olé" as a free download – and it's just one of several tunes they recorded this past spring for a planned album, their 10th studio effort. "We're at least at the halfway point," bassist Jeff Ament tells Rolling Stone. "The first handful of songs we had are a great, great start. It's been really important for us that in the middle of all this, we got together and recorded a bunch of songs. It sort of gave us a breath to go, 'Okay, we can go back and get ready for the show and book and movie and all that stuff.'"
They recorded the new songs with longtime producer Brendan O'Brien at Los Angeles' Henson Recording Studios – a venue change that Ament says helped them work efficiently. "We made the bulk of our records in Seattle, so it's just great to get out of Seattle for me," he says. "Everybody leaves all their stuff at home and you just go down for 12 days and it's all you do. It's like, go to a hotel and sleep, get a little breakfast, go back to the studio, repeat. There's just nothing else. It's taken us a long time to figure out how to do it right and have it take less time than it sometimes does. We're excited."
Pearl Jam hope to finish recording the new album early next year. "They knocked out a bunch of songs in just a couple weeks with Brendan, and everybody was blown away," says manager Kelly Curtis. "It's hard for them to sit on that shit. They're raring to go forward."