KROQ Interview with EV 5/12/2000
interview by Kevin & Bean
transcription provided by Darlene Patten
(Disclaimer, K=Kevin, B=Bean, but they sound almost identical so I could have gotten them confused a few times..I'm SURE I did - Dar)
K: This is called Light Years, the first time played off of Binaural, it comes out on Tuesday, May 16th We're gonna talk to Eddie Vedder as soon as this is over...
K: Brand new world premier the first time you've heard Light Years The album is called Binaural and it comes out on Tuesday, May 16th. This is the world famous KROQ.
(Some finish up/joking about Emelio Estevaz, Charlie & Martin Sheen...they had JUST interviewed Emelio).
B: We're stalling. More Pearl Jam tickets to give away. Right now on the phone, lets talk to Eddie Vedder. Helloooo
K: Hi Eddie, this is Kevin and Bean, how are you doing?
EV: Hi. Both of you are there?
B: Yeah we're both here, how're you doing man?
EV: I'm OK, Have I ever spoken to you before?
K: You know it's been a long time it's been several years if you have at all. It's been awhile. We've been doing the morning show on KROQ for 10 1/2 years or so.
EV: (laughs) Yeah, I know that.
B: Which is funny by the way. I was just thinking your band has been together for almost exactly that amount of time.
EV: How are you guys feeling about your relationship?
B: Real good how 'bout you?
EV: We're doing alright too. It's interesting the new plateaus you can reach in a ten year relationship, huh.
K: Yeah, no kidding.
B: So, Tuesday's the big day. Binaural finally in the stores, your 6th studio album. How are you feeling about it Ed?
EV : Ah, I feel FINE.
B: Some I understand are easier than others. Was this a blood sweat & tears effort? Or what?
EV: I think so actually. Got the stains on towels and washcloths to prove it. I think. Um. Yeah some things happen really natural, really quick. Other ones felt more like I was working construction or something which is fine.
(EV is interrupted by Jed the Fish picking up the phone and talking.)
Jed: This sounds important, it for me?
K: Yeah, we're talking to Eddie Vedder, Jed.
Jed: (laughs) I thought it was an insane caller, I'm sorry.
K: You may be right we haven't established that yet.
Jed: Bye Eddie, bye Eddie
(silence, no EV comment)
B: Jed the Fish just roams the halls sometimes Eddie. You know how he is.
EV: (possibly a bye..hard to hear)
K: Sorry about that. So we were back to talking about the songs . You said some were just a tremendous amount of work, you think your never gonna get them done and some come real quick. Tell us about Nothing as It Seems. What went into that one?
EV: I think it's a song that Jeff wrote and brought in a tape that was pretty fully realized . And then put the solo stuff into Mike McCready's hands and it just kinda took off. It's amazing. You know we record in a pretty nice atmosphere or at least low key home-type garage-type feeling place which is Stone's studio. And I just remember the atmosphere in the room and the atmosphere of the song really just kind of galvanized right from the beginning. So just kind of played it and there it was. It will be fun to keep playing it. One of those things.
K: Well, I'll tell you, one of the things you notice when you look over the credits of the new record is you guys are very very much a band. It's always been that way. A lot of groups that have a front man like you that people recognize, the band members tend to get lost. But there's no question you got five guys who are all contributing, they're all writing. It really shows in these songs. That everyone brought something into that room over the course of making that record.
EV: Well to be honest I'm not competent enough to hold the whole band together (K&B laugh). So as a whole we're a much stronger building with a good foundation. I would crumble in a second if I was given the opportunity.
K: How do you compare the two things, sitting in the studio coming up with album and creating it, or going out on the road and playing it? Which do you enjoy more?
EV: Ah, well once the songs are done then it's kind of a piece of cake. I remember kinda being in the middle of writing and listening to Chris Cornell's record and he was on the road touring and I felt like calling him up and saying...reminding him like, look I don't know if you're having a grind at the time out there, I don't know how it's going but just realizing, at least you don't have to be writing lyrics right now (K&B laugh) . Your so fortunate to be done and have a nice piece of music there. So I was just going to give him a reminder.
K: Does that kind hang over your head when your in the middle of the album, the songs you haven't finished yet, you still have lyrics to write for. Is that pressure?
EV: Well me personally yeah, cause I'm obsessive fool when it comes to that. I'm really kind of hard on myself I think? But who cares.
B: I have something to add to what Kevin was asking. We did an interview not too long ago, we had Michael Stipe on the show. And he was telling us that once the record is done, that's the measure of success in his mind It was the finished product of the album . Whatever happens beyond that, a lot of that is out of his control. He doesn't really look ahead to see what is going to sell more or less than previous records. The work itself is what turns him on. And I was wondering if you able to let album go once you're done with it? Or do you feel now the real work begins be cause now you've got to get out there and try to get people to buy it.
EV: No I agree with Michael completely. Again we're pretty fortunate. I know obviously and I respect them too, but the people who work with the record company, it's great to have a record be successful. With numbers and stuff like that. I mean that's great. I just want people to know it's out there.
B: In your mind, do you think wow I need to have this do a certain amount to feel it's reaching enough people or not even to that degree do you think about it?
EV: No, we're really fortunate we don't really feel like we have to care.
K: Let me ask you on the other side...
EV: No disrespect, but like Michael was saying, I think like six records in, your just trying to do the..you know make, ah really entertain yourselves. And you know we listen, all of us listen to our music, listen to other, listen to music period, and music kinda ah like is a huge percentage of our lives, whether it's listening or playing.
K: Let me ask another question on the other side of selling albums because you were talking about not caring whether it sold enough. You've had some albums in the past that it almost seemed like they were too big for your liking. Do you hope this doesn't sell 10, 15 million.
EV: No, whatever happens happens. It's all just a blessing. We've survived some tough times. We probably could have handled those times a little better even. But we're just happy to be here alive.
B: Before we get into the tour information, I want to talk about some specific things about Binaural that again comes out Tuesday the new record from Pearl Jam. I don't recall you ever playing a ukulele on any of your records before Eddie. Is this an instrument you've just recently picked up or something you've always wanted to lay down with the band?
EV: Ah (laughs) yeah I think we were talking about the writing process before. And sometimes it's a lot more fulfilling. I think I was supposed to be writing lyrics. At the time there was a lot of songs going around that didn't have words yet. And so I put a limit on how much time I could actually play guitar. You know I wasn't allowed to write any more songs which was self imposed. No more music, we had too much music.
K: But not enough ukulele at that point apparently.
EV: Well and so I put a rule, no more guitar can't play 'em and then I saw the ukulele sitting in the corner and I said wow, well that's not a guitar, that's a loophole and cause what it is when you are writing or typing, and thinking, it's a lot more fulfilling if you are inspired to write with your fingers and to actually do something physically rather than just listening and playing this never ending scrabble game in your head. So yeah this was an outlet and a like I said a little loophole in my self imposed writing lock. It took about an hour and I played it for about an hour straight just to entertain myself (laughs). Pathetic.
EV: Well there's always a job for you at Disneyworld man if the rock thing doesn work out. Now that you have the ukulele skills. And I know you play a mean accordion. So you have quite the arsenal to fall back on.
EV: Yeah perfect.
K: Let's take a little break and play Nothing As It Seems and we'll come back and talk to Eddie Vedder.
(Nothing As It Seems)
K: Nothing As It Seems. It's new music from Pearl Jam on the world famous KROQ 106.7. The CD again is called Binaural It's coming out on Tuesday. On the phone with us we have the lead singer from that band, EV Vedder. Eddie, thank you for hanging on during the song man. We appreciate that. Let's get the information out first and foremost. Cause everyone wants to know. These days of the Internet, there's very little that can happen in the world of Pearl Jam that people don't already know about. But for everybody else the show in coming up in the Southern California area at the Glenhelen Blockbuster Pavilion which is out there in Devore. It's going to be Oct 28th and tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10:00. Now it's been a LONG time since you guys have been out on a full coast to coast and beyond tour. That's quite an undertaking. How do you feel about it? Getting ready to go out on the road for all that time?
EV: It's not that long is it...maybe two years...two years tops.
K: Two years of being able to wake up in your own bed and now you're ready to give that up.
EV: I know. I don't think..my bed isn't worn out yet. We did a lot of benefits. I think last year every show we did was kind of a benefit I played with, made a three piece with a couple of friends. Been playing music pretty much constant thank God for that. And I guess it took about a year on and off to finish the record So, it feels just about right.
K: And how many concerts are in this tour, like 50-60, you're going to Europe first, then you're coming back here?
EV: Yeah they give me the orders. At this point, it's all worked out. So whatever they hand me, I'll go.
B: You're not going to do any videos, I understand. At least that's been the pre-release word. No videos for Binaural. Is that still the case as far as you understand??
EV: Ah, that sounds about right.
K: It does sound about right.
EV: Real intense thought process there. I think playing shows that's enough work. If we could do something that was thoughtful or added to the atmosphere. You know the music's there and if you close your eyes I'm sure you could probably come up with some interesting visuals for it. You know we did a whole record of videos, I guess. Put on some of that songs.
B: Now one of the things you have done in the past that has been interesting, left of center, that other groups haven't tried, is you've put on your own radio shows. These Monkey Wrench Radio broadcasts that we carry here on KROQ. I know that must have been a lot fun to get together and jam with friends of yours and tell stories. Is it true you talking about doing another one of those maybe?
EV: It's just talk but it would be great. Ideally maybe we would do it before we toured. I think it's a nice night of music I would hope. I would like to think that there's some interesting stuff that could be played. It's great that you guys and the other stations would pick it or so inclined maybe play some bands that normally don't get to be heard on a wider level like national radio. And they also get to play live too which is kind of an interesting thing. It's a tremendous opportunity. If the interest in the band is such that we could do it again, then I think we should take advantage of the opportunity.
K: You have always been one who is very generous about supporting those who will share Pearl Jam live songs, Pearl Jam B-sides, hard to find PJ songs. There are thousands of them on the internet right now. How do you feel about the battle that seems to be escalating between artists like Metallica and Dr Dre vs. sites like Napster who trade the mp3s?
EV: Yeah, you know I've heard of that. I'm not really, I haven't really, just because I guess I've been a little busy in the last couple of months and it's happening quick. So, I don't know if I have definitive opinion on that. I personally think if you can make music available, be responsible to the consumer and do it on a level that you can still sustain yourself artistically and distribute the music. It seems like if you put it out at a decent price and you can download it from a real site for a decent price...
K: In good quality...
EV: In good quality...it won't be as appealing to get it for free. I think there's been a lot of ways to get music for free for years. You can get music by recording on a cassette. When cassettes came out back in the late 50's, in the 70's whenever it was (K& B laugh), that was a concern. I think in some ways probably in the end if you just kinda let go be a little more free with the stuff. It will only encourage more interest or something.
K: We're on the phone with Eddie Vedder if you're just joining us. I' m also curious about there are so many sites out there that are Pearl Jam fans' sites. Do you go to those very often and check out what they've got?
EV: Ah, I got a computer maybe 3 years ago, 4...3 I kind of checked in THEN to see what was going on and to see what the technology afforded as far as communication and...
K: But you don't go back..
EV: ....the community and it's been quite a while.
B: C'mon EV, you're in the chat room every Friday night saying 'Seriously I AM Eddie Vedder'...
EV: I sure there's somebody out there saying it. (all laughs)
K: Lets talk about the show one more time. Pearl Jam at Glenhelen Blockbuster Pavilion in Devore. Brand new world premier...comes out on Tuesday, May 16th Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00. Can you give us an idea for the mixture of songs you're going to be performing this time?
EV: The usual. I think that the new songs are going to be really nice to play live so we might even play a few more than usual. But that's about the only thing I can predict.
B: Well it's going to be fantastic to see a southern California Pearl Jam show for the first time in a long time. It's October 28th at the Blockbuster Pavilion. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10:00. Before you go Eddie, and again if we have spoken to you before in the past it's been way too long. I hope you don't wait this long again to talk. We are big fans of your music and really enjoy having an opportunity to speak with you. Le me ask you though I'm fascinated to know because of the phenomenon that Last Kiss turned into. What was your reaction was to a song you recorded as a give away to your fan club song ending up being one of the biggest songs you've ever had?
EV: Well it brings up the philosophy of don't try. (laughs) You know.
K: That's an interesting philosophy.
B: It's certainly the motto that we've lived by for many many years. I'm glad it's working on your level too.
EV: There you go. I think it's also on the Charles Bukowski gravestone.
K: Eddie are you following the NBA playoffs now that the Seattle Supersonics are out?
EV: I retired from professional sports quite a few years ago.
K: Is that right?
EV: It became a little too corporate. Once they started putting corporate names on all the venues. And then once the cities were being forced to buy new venues at enormous cost to the taxpayer. Five hundred thousand dollars a pop. And in Seattle we had two of them, so that's a billion dollars to be absorbed within a few years. It just kind of soured my whole...ah. I used to enjoy going to games cause it was interesting the human element of conviction and determination and focus. You know it's like a play, it has a beginning and end.
K: And Dennis Rodman was such a big fan of you guys. Did you become friends with Dennis Rodman cause you guys seem opposites.
EV: Well it's good to have opposites as friends. Ya know. Doesn't mean you don't have to be like 'em . And I thought maybe he'd end up being more like me but....
K: That hasn't really happened.
EV: Apparently not (laughs). Actually I have a deep love for the guy. I think we did communicate on a certain level. But you know I have friends who are Republicans as well. So same thing.
K: It takes all kinds.
B: Well Eddie, again we really do appreciate your time. And I think you can tell, that we don't bite. You're welcome to come on KROQ any time. I know things come up from time to time that you have an opinion on that you want to talk to the fans about. This is a good way to do it and we are very excited about the tour this summer. Again Binaural comes out on Tuesday. Everyone run out and buythe new one from Pearl Jam. And thank you again for your time today.
EV: You've been very kind. I appreciate it myself.