Jeff Ament on Pearl Jam’s 25th Anniversary Tour, Next Album
Earlier this week, we spoke to Jeff Ament about his upcoming album and tour with RNDM, but we weren’t going to let him get off the phone without delving into the current state of Pearl Jam. The group kicks off its 25th anniversary tour April 8th in Sunrise, Florida, and wraps up with a two-night stand at Chicago’s Wrigley Field on August 22nd. There hasn’t been a new album since 2013’s Lightning Bolt, but Ament said the group has began throwing around ideas for the next one. We also talked about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the possibility of the band playing classic albums on this tour and where he hopes to see Pearl Jam two decades down the line.
Pearl Jam just sold out two nights at Wrigley Field and two nights at Fenway Park. Does it surprise you that the group is so insanely popular after all these years?
Yeah. Part of it is just taking breaks. After a while, I actually forget that I’m in this big band, so I’m always humbled and shocked when things like that happen. It’s never not a surprise. It’s always exciting to be on tour. You’re in a nice hotel. You show up at the gig and the amps sound great. A lot of our crew has been with us for 15 to 25 years and they do a great job. It feels like, “Wow, this is what I do.” That happens every time after we haven’t toured in a while.
That said, a lot of times I dread it leading up to it. I’m like, “I don’t wanna leave home. I’m gonna miss my wife. I’m gonna miss my dogs. I’m gonna miss painting in my art room and the little routine that I have.” And then once you’re out there, you’re like, “Wow, this is crazy. This is a crazy life that we have.”
What’s the status of the next Pearl Jam record?
I don’t know. I think there’s talk of getting together and throwing some ideas together. There’s no plan of making a record yet. When we got together in South America [late last year] there was lots of talk of how we wanted to do it and in what ways we wanted it to be different, what things we liked about the last record. It’s just in the planning stages and everyone deciding when the time is. Usually it just takes somebody to call somebody else and be like, “Hey, do you want to go into the studio next month?” And that just hasn’t happened yet.
You guys seem to have broken free of the album/tour cycle, which really allows you to work at whatever pace you want.
And that is just the greatest thing in the world [laughs]. Making a record and looking at the next year of dates was always daunting. It’s daunting for everyone. You show that to your wife and she’s like, “You’re going to be gone for nine of the next 13 months?” It’s tough. So now we can go out and play 30, 40 shows after you make the record. Then you can take a little break and the next year you can play another 30 or 40 shows.
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