So, How Was Your Decade is a series in which the decade’s most innovative musicians answer our questionnaire about the music, culture and memorable moments that shaped their decade. We’ll be rolling these pieces out throughout December.
Pearl Jam may have only released one album this decade, 2013’s Lightning Bolt, but they were hardly inactive. They celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2011 with the Cameron Crowe-directed documentary Pearl Jam 20, toured the world to celebrate their anniversary, entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility in 2017, reunited with Chris Cornell (minus Eddie Vedder) for a Temple of the Dog tour and are plugging away on their long-awaited 11th album and gearing up for a European tour next summer.
During downtime, bassist Jeff Ament released two solo albums (2012’s While My Heart Beats and 2018’s Heaven/Hell), two albums with his side project RNDM (2012’s Acts and 2016’s Ghost Riding) and played a series of under-the-radar club dates with the group, which also features singer Joseph Arthur and drummer Richard Stuverud.
Ament reflected on the group’s incredible journey upon their Hall of Fame induction. “Being here with the band, who have become some of my best friends in the process, making music and art, traveling the world, supporting causes and programs together, making small differences, meeting great artists and creative minds all over the world,” he said. “That’s a pretty great fucking life.”
My favorite album of the 2010s was: Grizzly Bear’s Shields. Probably my favorite band of the decade.
My favorite song of the 2010s was: Idles’ “Mother.” “The best way to scare a Tory [Conservative] is…to read and get rich.”
The artist who had the best decade was: Hmmm, who made the most great music…? Kendrick Lamar, Angel Olsen, Father John Misty, Tyler the Creator, St. Vincent, Ty Segall and Nick Cave all had incredible runs, but I think Jack White is making everything happen right now; just a machine.
The craziest thing that happened to me in the 2010s was: I’m still here making music with my brothers … and, watching the current mass extinction.
My least favorite trend in music this decade was: Overuse of the grid, especially live. Perfection is overrated.
The TV show I couldn’t stop streaming in the 2010s was: The Leftovers. Tom Perrotta provided an amazing blueprint.
The best live show I saw in the 2010s was: Nick Cave, Salt Lake City, 2017. Jonathan Richman and Idles tied for second.
The most surprising encounter I had with a fellow artist this decade was: I made a couple great RNDM records with Joseph Arthur and Richard Stuverud. Angel Olsen singing on my last record.
The best book I read this decade was: Grinnell: America’s Environmental Pioneer by John Taliaferro. The Overstory by Richard Powers. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta.
Something cool I did this decade that nobody noticed was: I made a couple of solo records 🙂
The best outfit I wore this decade was: Orange jumpsuits with RNDM or no suit at the Hall of Fame.
The most “2010s” moment of the 2010s was: Smartphone technology.
My biggest hope for the 2020s is: We start living with more empathy towards all living things. Smartphones have made us all narcissistic assholes.