Eddie Vedder on ‘Democratic Process’ While Recording Gigaton, Admiration for Bandmates
"...there’s so much that we work on that’s on complete equal footing, and that’s probably why we’re as proud of this record as any..."
Eddie Vedder opened up on a variety of topics — including working on new music during the global pandemic, why he finally joined Instagram and why the “democratic process” of recording Pearl Jam’s Gigaton makes it one of his favorite records — on a special fan-driven Q&A session with SiriusXM, Faithful Forum with Eddie Vedder, on Wednesday (Sept. 3).
“I think at some point we functioned without a leader,” he said in the interview. “If I ended up in that situation, I think it was reluctantly. It was by no means a hostile takeover. It was their world that started all this. It was Green River. And it was Mother Love Bone. To be friends with all the great humans in Green River to this day [and] to be carrying on still with this .. this is a great relationship of Stone and Jeff.”
He continued, “I’ve never stopped admiring it and I’m just so glad to be part of it. I might be some kind of de-facto leader in that I do setlists, or they trust me to present an idea on how the record might be sequenced or something like that. But there’s so much that we work on that’s on complete equal footing, and that’s probably why we’re as proud of this record as any, because the music was made using a completely democratic process.”
He also gave props to Gossard for penning the lyrics and music for “Buckle Up” and said, “It’s a Stone Gossard song through and through. Everybody kind of came in and laid some pieces over it. I’m singing his vocal exactly like he sang it [on the demo]. I really just wanted to do what he did justice. Usually, I’ll go to the raucous, make the windows shake-kind of song to get me through any kind of pain and frustration, but I feel like this was one of those ones [where] there’s a meditation to it, and a mantra. For these days, it seems so applicable.”
Aside from the Gigaton talk, Vedder also spoke about the new songs he’s worked on for Sean Penn’s film, Flag Day, which were done during the COVID-19 quarantine.
“That was a great, powerful project to have laid at our feet during all of this,” he said. “All three of us had to do most of the recording by ourselves — I mean, literally by ourselves. Most of us either have kids or elders we look after, so it was no joke. But with Sean at the helm, and some great performances in the film, and a great story, that was a powerful thing to have the opportunity to work on.”
Vedder joined Instagram on Aug. 31 and kicked off his IG feed with photos showing Washington State’s mail-in ballot. And while he’s worried about the effect social media has on young people, including his two adolescent daughters, he sees the new account as a way of “disseminating some positive information. I will try to keep it interesting and maybe artistic. [But] I realized there was something I agreed wholeheartedly with Donald Trump in regards to [this being] no doubt the most important election in our country’s history. Finally, we agreed on something. Let’s make sure we can vote by mail in places where we can.”
Listen to a clip from Faithful Forum with Eddie Vedder on SiriusXM’s Pearl Jam Radio.
You can hear Vedder’s full interview here or tune for the Q&A’s rebroadcast on SiriusXM’s Pearl Jam Radio on Sept. 5 at 5pm ET, Sept. 6 at 12pm ET and Sept. 7 at 9am ET.