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Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament on 25 Years as a Band: ‘It’s Just Gotten Better and Better’

Pearl Jam Jeff Ament
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

The thrill of initially hitting it big in retrospect is a moment most musicians reflect upon fondly, but with Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, the rocker admits the rest of their career has been pretty rewarding too.

Speaking with Rolling Stone, Ament stated, “It’s been half of our life. The best part is that it’s just gotten better and better, with better friends who care for each other more. That’s a huge life lesson. Sometimes different people were at odds with each other, and somehow we persevered through all that. Except for a couple of drummer, we’ve stayed intact. Matt [Cameron] has been with us for almost 20 years, which is pretty crazy.”

With the band coming up on the 25 year mark, that also means that their eligibility for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is nearing, but Ament has mixed feelings about reaching that milestone and the reflection that comes with it. “I sort of bounce around about that,” says the bassist. “There’s a part of me that gets excited and there’s a part of me that’s sort of … I don’t know. I feel like we just sort of went through a little bit of the same feeling doing the PJ20 thing. There’s a little bit of nostalgia going through old boxes, dredging up good memories and bad memories.”

He adds, “There’s this part of me that doesn’t want to look back anymore and just wants to keep moving forward, keep growing and keep trying to make a great record and have better shows, and be a better musician and a better bandmate and not think too much about accolades. But if it happens, it’ll be great for our parents and our friends. It will be good for us to be together. Again, if it happens.”

But Rock Hall eligibility far from signifies the end of the band’s career. The group is touring this year and Ament says there has been some talk of new music, though things are moving at their own pace. I think there’s talk of getting together and throwing some ideas together,” states the bassist. “There’s no plan of making a record yet. When we got together in South America [late last year] there was lots of talk of how we wanted to do it and in what ways we wanted it to be different, what things we liked about the last record. It’s just in the planning stages and everyone deciding when the time is. Usually it just takes somebody to call somebody else and be like, ‘Hey, do you want to go into the studio next month?’ And that just hasn’t happened yet.” So look for Pearl Jam on tour at these locations beginning in April and hang tight to see the next step in their career.

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