Pearl Jam have pulled more than fifty rare and previously unissued tracks from their vaults for a retrospective album tentatively set for release this year. "We have more than fifty songs already – all of the Christmas singles, B sides and benefit-album tracks," says manager Kelly Curtis. "The band is looking at different versions ofsongs that didn't make the albums. It could be a multidisc set. The guys have to figure out how big they think it should be."
Curtis also confirms that Pearl Jam are without a record contract. Last year's Riot Act was the last studio album under their ten-year-plus deal with Epic Records. "[Epic] still has the rights to some things," Curtis says. Epic manufactures Pearl Jam's official live bootlegs and will put out the rarities album. The band has met with executives from other labels, including J Records CEO Clive Davis. Peart Jam have looked into independent options such as releasing music over the Internet and starting their own label. "America is not the issue – it's overseas," says Curtis. "We do well there. But if we try to collect money in Chile, I don't know how to do that. We'll need help."
"We're just starting to appreciate the freedom and see where it can take us." says sinner Eddie Vedder. "It's something we have worked for. So what happens now – whatever bad decisions are made in the future, they're ours to make."
This story is from the June 26th, 2003 issue of Rolling Stone.