Stone Gossard on Pearl Jam’s new album, possible Seattle concerts

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Photo by Karen Loria

Stone Gossard performing with Pearl Jam in Brazil in 2011. Photo by Karen Loria.


I interviewed Stone Gossard earlier this morning and we had a good conversation about his upcoming solo album, Moonlander, which is out June 25. The record is quickly becoming one of my favorite releases among the multitudes of Pearl Jam offshoots and solo projects and if you take a listen to the first two tracks off the album over here you’ll see why. I’ll be posting some of my interview with Stone tomorrow and the rest of the interview as Moonlander‘s release date gets closer, so be on the lookout for that.

Of course I couldn’t talk with Stone and not ask him about Pearl Jam, so I managed to get in a couple of questions about the biggest band in Seattle while I had his ear. There have been various conflicting reports about the state of the band’s highly anticipated 10th studio album. Some reports say seven or eight songs are in the bag, some say the record is coming out this year while others say the record is slated for a 2014 release. I wanted to get some specifics on the album so I asked Stone for an update on the status of the record and what the material that’s been recorded so far sounds like. This is what he had to say:

“It’s almost done and as far as what it sounds like, it sounds like Pearl Jam. You’re going to hear some rock songs and you’re going to hear some quiet songs and you’ll hear some songs in between. That’s all I can really say about it because we aren’t talking about it yet so it doesn’t make much sense for me to say anything.”

I also asked Stone about the band’s upcoming fall tour which is expected to end at the beginning of November when Pearl Jam headlines the New Orleans Voodoo Festival. More specifically, I asked about the prospect of local shows since the band’s absence in Seattle has been something I’ve written about in the past. But instead of asking when the band will play its next show in Seattle, a question I knew Stone wouldn’t answer, I decided to ask about how difficult it is for the band to play hometown shows.

Here’s what I asked Stone and his rather playful responses.

How difficult is it for the band to play Seattle? I assume the band is playing Seattle on its upcoming fall tour.

I hope so. That would be fun. I’d love to do it.

That’s a very sly way of not confirming anything. Seriously though, how difficult is it for the band to play in its hometown?

It’s only difficult in that you know your guest list is going to get out of control (laughs). That’s one of the key things. Seattle has been so good to us. It’s important that we play here. But sometimes it’s fun to go out and focus on the rest of the world and then come back to Seattle and be a regular person.

Maybe there’s a little psychological barrier there that might prevent us from doing more hometown shows, but I do believe there’s going to be some coming. I don’t know when, I don’t know the dates or locations but I am optimistic that it’s something that’s going to happen

I know when the band plays in Europe or South America you play in front of 50-70,000 people a night. I imagine that’s what a massive Pearl Jam should would be like in Seattle since there’s so much demand. Because of that demand I would guess it’d be hard to find a venue in Seattle for a show like that.

I don’t know what the demand is. I really don’t. I’d think we’d sell two or three (nights) at the Key maybe, at the most. But I don’t know. Maybe there’s something different that we’re going to do but there are no plans at this point, just a general idea that we do need to play a hometown show.

So there you have it folks, you can rest easy knowing that the new Pearl Jam album sounds exactly like Pearl Jam. What else would you expect? You can also rest easy knowing that the band will tell you what you need to know about the album when they think you need to know it and that an upcoming concert (possibly concerts if you attempt to read between the lines) in Seattle seems likely.

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, and others and was the founder and editor of defunct music site Ear Candy.