EXCLUSIVE: Jeff Ament: Pearl Jam has ‘no plans right now’ for 2013

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Jeff Ament in Mexico City. Photo by Karen Loria/courtesy Pearl Jam

Earlier this week I interviewed Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament. We talked about a wide range of topics during our 30-minute conversation including skateboarding, his new side project RNDM, his home state of Montana and, of course, Pearl Jam.

Jeff Ament to release solo album

I haven’t had the chance to go through the entire interview yet, but I did want to share this small snippet of our conversation that gives a small bit of insight into how Pearl Jam operates.

What are Pearl Jam’s plans for 2013? 

There really are no plans right now. We have a few shows in South America on the calendar and that’s about it. I think that’s kind of by design. I think the idea is that everybody takes the holidays off and then at some point somebody will pick up the phone, maybe late January or early February, and that will kind of start the  (recording) process over again.

People want to know what’s going on with the next record and I think everybody has sort of talked about it, but it still really isn’t anything. We still don’t really know exactly when we will finish it so it’s hard to talk about it. It really could be anything at this point. Even though we have seven or eight songs recorded it’s still sort of a blank slate and that’s exciting.

I don’t think there’s any doubt we’re going to make a record, but when that’s going to be, and when everybody is ready to do it, well that’s another story. And there’s no pressure. So if at any point the guys called up and said “Hey, we’re ready to do this,” I’d have no problem dropping everything because that’s my first love. I’m going to do whatever works for everyone else.

That lack of pressure has to be a nice byproduct of  being an independent band now and being able to call your own shots when it comes to recording and releasing an album.

I think just as long as we create deadlines for ourselves. I think, well, we’ve all witnessed how that turned out for Axl Rose … You know how it is when you write. You can always rewrite everything. You can make it better, or different, or more unique. Every day you’re going to improve as a writer and your take on things might be different. At some point you just have to let go and move on to the next thing. That’s always the tricky part of being in a band. When is it good enough? When is there too much paint on the canvas and when isn’t there too much paint on the canvas? That’s always a tricky balance.

So right now it’s sort of like a blank canvas with only a sketch?

Yeah it really is. There is some stuff that’s pretty well finished and sounds good right now, but who knows if that stuff is going to end up on the next record. We may get together this spring and come up 15 things that are better than that, and that’s the new record …

There’s quite a bit more where that came from, so look for the rest of my conversation to be posted later this month and look for Jeff Ament and RNDM to be at the Showbox at the Market Nov. 27. Tickets for that show can be purchased here.

Travis Hay

About Travis Hay

Travis Hay is a professional music journalist who has spent the past 14 years documenting and enjoying Seattle's diverse music scene. In 2009 he established Guerrilla Candy and is currently the site's editor and publisher. He has written for various media outlets including MSN Music, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, Seattle Weekly, Crosscut.com and others and was the founder and editor of defunct music site Ear Candy.