The past year has been a time of extreme highs and lows for drummer Matt Cameron. In late 2016, he hit the road with his reunited grunge supergroup Temple of the Dog for a triumphant U.S. tour. Months later, he entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Pearl Jam and then went right out with Soundgarden for a run of shows that came to a sudden, horrific end when Chris Cornell hanged himself hours after playing a gig in Detroit. Unbeknownst to most everyone, he somehow found the time in the midst of all of this to cut his debut solo LP, Cavedweller, which comes out on September 22nd. You can check out the track “Time Can’t Wait” right here.
The album title goes all the way back to when he first moved to Seattle back in 1983. “I brought a 4-track cassette recorder and kind of plugged into the local music scene using that name,” he says. “There were a lot of dudes and ladies recording their own music and putting it out on compilations and stuff.” The next three decades were occupied by his work in Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, but in early 2016 he decided it was time to finally release music under his own name. “I got to a point where I felt the songs sounded pretty good to me,” he says. “And so then I decided to bite the bullet and put it out there, warts and all.”
Cameron always planned on singing on the record and handling the guitar parts, but when he didn’t know what he wanted for a rhythm section until he heard David Bowie’s Blackstar and the amazing parts laid down there by drummer Mark Guiliana and bassist Tim Lefebvre. “Mark’s performance on the title track was kind of mind-blowing,” says Cameron. “That was kind of what I was hearing for a drum performance, so I just reached out through Instagram or Facebook and he got right back to me. Once he was on board I had a little more confidence to complete the project.”
Thirty years of work with Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder – inarguably two of the greatest singers of their era – made Cameron slightly unsure of his own vocal chops. “The vocal aspect was the toughest part for me,” he says. ” I’m pretty limited in terms of what I can do, but it’s better for me to do it all as opposed to bringing in a real singer and doing it that way even though my vocal prowess is very limited in comparison to Chris and Eddie.” The album was finished before Cornell passed away. “I played some of it for him last March,” says Cameron. “He really liked it. He was always very supportive of me writing music for the band and kind of going for it. That was great. And I played some of it for Eddie and he really liked it, too. That felt great.”
One of the first songs written for Cavedewller was “Time Can’t Wait,” the track we’re premiering here. “It’s a hard rock stomper, but got a little psychedelic tinge at the end,” says Cameron. “One of my main influences has always been Syd Barrett and this song has a weird sort of psychedelia in there like his music.”
There are no plans for Cameron to promote the album with any sort of live work, but he does hope this is the beginning of a solo career that will run parallel to his ongoing work in Pearl Jam. The band hasn’t released an album of new material since 2013’s Lightning Bolt, and Cameron is very tight-lipped in regards to when that might happen. “We’re still just kind of writing stuff right now,” is just about all he’ll say on the matter. “We’re still in the beginning stages of everything.” He has just four words to say about the possibility of more Pearl Jam live dates in 2018: “We have no plans.”