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Eddie Vedder on Maintaining Pearl Jam: ‘It’s Life or Death’

pearl jam, lightning bolt, sirius town hall

Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt crashes down on October 15 and the grunge survivors recently promoted the upcoming LP with an intimate Q&A for SiriusXM’s Town Hall series. Moderated by longtime producer Brendan O’Brien (who helmed the Lightning Bolt sessions), the band sat down with a group of Sirius listeners to discuss the creative process behind their latest full-length and the legacy they’ve built over their 20-plus-year career.

“I’m surprised that we’re around still,” said guitarist Mike McCready. “A lot of the bands that we came out with are not. We’ve been around for 21, 22 years. I don’t know what it is. It’s not being around each other a bunch, then being around each other a bunch. Getting away from each other.”

Fellow guitarist Stone Gossard chimed in, saying that, like any long-term relationship, maintaining Pearl Jam requires hard work. “I think we went into it with the idea that we wanted to be brothers in a band,” he shared. “And really part of what we were attracted to, is [that] being in a band is like a commitment you kind of have to make… That’s kind of built into our DNA and luckily it’s carried us through a lot of times where it’s been more difficult.”

Later in the program, when asked what he saw for PJ’s future, Gossard quickly quipped, “Hopefully not a residency in Vegas.”

Elsewhere in the broadcast, which airs in full on Friday (October 11) on Pearl Jam’s SiriusXM channel, frontman Eddie Vedder talked about the group’s longevity in the simplest of terms. “It’s kind of like dying, or getting older,” he told the audience. “You don’t want to get older but what are the options? And so for us in a way it’s like: [Do we] not be in a group? It’s like you wanna just keep living and still be in a band.” Then he added, joking, “It’s life or death.”

Listen to snippets of the in-depth chat below, and catch the full segment when it airs on SiriusXM’s Pearl Jam Radio on Friday, October 11, at 12 p.m. EST. Find rebroadcast times on the SiriusXM website.

And for more lengthy interviews with Pearl Jam, check out the band’s talk with Carrie Brownstein, and watch a mini-documentary about the making of Lightning Bolt that features Brownstein, Judd Apatow, and more asking the band questions. Lightning Bolt is also streaming in its entirety via iTunes, days before it drops via Monkeywrench/Republic Records.