When Pearl Jam blew up in the early Nineties, bassist Jeff Ament spent his first royalty check on a plot of land in Montana, near where he grew up. "It became a sanctuary for me," he says. "Between tours, it's helped me keep my sanity." Twelve years ago, he installed a studio, and though Ament has amassed tons of material, most of it sat around unfinished. Last winter, he finally buckled down and finished his solo debut, a collection of honest, raw rock called Tone. "I'm 45, so if I didn't do it now, it was never going to happen," says Ament. "It's not Bob Dylan or anything, but it's me."
A limited release of the album – 3,000 copies via indie record stores and PJ's site – is almost sold out, but have no fear: Ament says the set will probably soon be sold digitally. As for his day job, he adds, "We're gonna get together in October and have a handful of sessions. We have about five or six solid instrumental arrangements, and Stone Gossard has come up with some great riffs. I think it could turn into something pretty amazing." What's the ETA? "Hopefully by the first of the year we'll have a record to make." Sweet.
This story is from the October 16th, 2008 issue of Rolling Stone.