Guitarist Stone Gossard says Pearl Jam is recording new music and working on a new album — interesting considering the music from 2020’s Gigaton, arguably the band’s best effort since 1994’s Vitaology, has yet to be toured.
“We’ve recorded some songs,” he said. “We’re on our way.”
He also mentioned that starting next week he will begin “re-learning” Pearl Jam songs in preparation for a run of nine west-coast shows starting May 3 at San Diego’s Viejas Arena and ending May 20 in Las Vegas — a warm-up of sorts for the band’s 17-show European tour that runs June 18-July 25, bookmarked with performances in The Netherlands, before returning for 10 North-American tour dates September 1-Sept. 22.
PearlJamOnline reported in January that the band is working with producer Andrew Watt, who produced Eddie Vedder’s latest solo work, Earthling. Watt also won a 2019 Grammy Award for his work on Cardi B’s album Invasion of Privacy.
Of course, Pearl Jam doing anything is the news media seized on in an interview Gossard did earlier this week (March 21) on the podcast Kyle Meredith With…, but that discussion really centered on the new album by Gossard’s side project, Painted Shield 2 (which kicks ass, btw).
“We kind of got into our flow for the first record and ended up stumbling onto a whole other avenue of songwriting,” Gossard said. “Chamberlain became a real force and developed a bunch of ideas on this new record and Brittany (Davis), too. Everyone is writing and honestly, we have another batch that probably is close to Painted Shield 3.”
Gossard said songwriting for the under-the-radar supergroup “comes in fits and starts,” yet exhilarating once it all comes together.
“All of a sudden, everyone is like, ‘Oh, I threw some more things in the dropbox,’” he said. “Mason’s (been at home a lot) as we all have … and he’s got his little studio set up and he’s been throwing stuff on and Brittany’s got her studio set up and Matt’s got a full drum studio down in Los Angeles. So, everyone is just kind of excited about the combination of personalities in this band and really crazily true collaboration — everyone writing and getting a chance to develop whole ideas. It’s really fun.”
Meredith, admitting that Gossard is “one of my all-time musical heroes” — a Journalism 101 no-no when conducting an interview — kept steering the interview toward Pearl Jam, in one instance insinuating that Gossard and Vedder got together behind the scenes and decided to release music with similar themes. (Perhaps with the intention of blowing everyone’s collective minds? We’re not sure, either.)
“There’s a connection here, too,” he said. “Maybe you all made this connection; maybe I’m reaching too far. But the similarities when I talked about those first two tracks, (that contain a mock) live broadcast, and what Ed put out with Earthling, I thought, ‘There’s something just in the ether,’ you know? Did you all make that connection?”
Gossard was as polite as a rock star could be when confronted with such a fanboy-type question, responding, “Ahm, well, as far as … what’s, what’s the connection? I mean, what, what, what’s the, what, what do you see as the similarities?”
“I’m seeing the live broadcast, the way Ed opens up his album, too, with this sort of a broadcast thing,” Meredith said. “There’s the Earthling and there’s the (song) “Alien,” part of (Painted Shield 2) and, you know, there’s that whole thing. It’s coincidence, maybe?”
“It’s a complete coincidence but that’s the way it works sometimes, you know,” Gossard said. “Things are in the air and everybody begins to pick up on it, so, you know, that makes sense to me.”
Meredith continues with the space-talk portion of his show and Gossard added that during the early 70s, David Bowie’s “Major Tom” and Elton John’s “Rocket Man” were the first rock hits to really explore space in a song’s lyrics.
“I don’t remember Frank Sinatra ever singing about going into space,” Gossard laughs. “I saw Star Wars when it first came out and I witnessed that freakout.”
Kudos to Gossard for not sounding at all like he was irritated, uninterested, or irked during the questionable questioning from Meredith.
Watch below the official video for Painted Shield’s “Life In Rewind,” available on YouTube, off of Painted Shield 2: