ExploreMusic Exclusive Ed Interview

by Kathy Davis on August 22, 2009

Alan Cross, Eddie Vedder 21 Aug '09 Toronto, Ontario

Alan Cross, Eddie Vedder 21 Aug '09 Toronto, Ontario

The head swims with delight.  Pal AKM turned us on to this amazing 20 minute-long audio interview posted by Alan Cross of Canadian audiophone website ExploreMusic.  The site is dedicated to ”music discovery”, that is, real people offering real opinions and recommendations about music. Words fail to express how awesome it is to listen to a self-professed “music geek” chat amiably, music fan-to-music fan with the man himself, Ed Vedder.  You simply must click on through to ExploreMusic and listen to the interview like, right now.

Alan’s write up about the interview:

Eddie is happier these days now that his man is in the White House. In fact, he proudly displays an Obama portrait at his home outside Seattle. He’s relaxed, rejuvenated and re-focussed, a far cry from the 90s dude who had a tough time dealing with the pressures and obligations that came with being one of the Holy Trinity of Grunge. Pearl Jam, are the sole survivors of that trinity.

Pearl Jam’s new album, Backspacer (named after a turtle, or vice-versa), will be out on September 20th. Ahead of that, the band went out to road test some of the new material.

Before a show in Toronto, I met up with Eddie backstage. And knowing that he’s is a big fan of wine, I brought a bottle of a fine Canadian syrah and a couple of glasses.

Highlights from the interview are too numerous to mention, but some key points:

Regarding the “lack of fat” (quick running time) on upcoming album Backspacer: Ed states that it “feels pretty galvanized” He learned something from doing Into The Wild, the process for the songs there was such that the song was 2 minutes because the scene in the movie was two minutes…so “carried some of that” over to the process of making the new record. 

Regarding Backspacer, which came first the “turtle or the album” Ed answers immediately “the typewriter key”…. He says it started with him making a sculpture (musician, wordsmith, painter…now sculptor? Ed = artist!) that turned into a mosaiac using typewriter keys…he began to shape it , put words in it… ended up that one of the words he put on piece of the sculpture was “The Who”, then “the name of our band”. Ed saw the “Backspacer” key in the mosaiac from perhaps a  typewriter from the 1920’s; origin of the typewriter key is that it was called “backspacer” then later ”backspace”..Ed comments that with  the backspace key you have to go back and look at your mistakes.

On being conscious of  his/Pearl Jam’s long-term vitality:  Ed shares that hangovers are worse as he gets older; the “most frustrating thing right now” is that the “hangover doesn’t hit until 5 the next day…right around soundcheck.” About the state of Pearl Jam, Ed adds that ”this could be one of the better times, this period of time was well earned, we’ve been through some shit to get here..hope to keep it together now because this is the good stuff. 

Addressing being one of the few lasting, successful bands from the Seattle Music scene, Ed deflects saying a lot of ‘em are “still around, still see ‘em…most of ‘em….I mean we lost a few.” Ed says he hears ‘it must be hard keeping the band together’ and says “if it can’t be easy to be  in a fucking rock then what’s the point of life?” 

EV shares that he would think of some guy that is working as a “security guard like I used to… or  waiter like I used to…or  gas station – I used to guard the pumps at a petroleum company at night” (for four years he says, worked his way up to supervisor), but “if I go back to that guy, and I hear that bands can’t keep it together, I think ‘where is the hope for the rest of us’ ?”

Bands Ed is  listening to: “I’ve  been listening a lot to Wilco,  Sleater- Kinney…I’ve always listened to  Fugazi…I’ve been listening to a guy called Robert Pollard (from Guided By Voices)…I just got the  Neil Young box set so I’m poring through that…(listening to his early band) The Squires…”   

Again you can listen to the entire interview here. Rock!

Kathy Davis ( Twitter: @CrookedArm23 )
A Bay-Area based entrepreneur, co-editor Kathy conceives and writes her share of TFT’s articles and sections. She was co-editor/co-founder of one of the first Pearl Jam fanzines "Footsteps" (1992-1997). Kathy’s first Pearl Jam show was at the Bridge School Benefit on November 1, 1992.

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