Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament Prefers When Musicians Don’t Act Like a Certain Rockstar Onstage
Every band has their own unique stage presence when they're playing show. Some focus more on the music, and others emphasize the theatrics more. As for Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, he prefers when musicians don't act like a certain rockstar when they're onstage.
Van Halen rose to prominence in the late 1970s, and really made a name for themselves not only with Eddie Van Halen's godly guitar playing, but also with their energetic stage performances. Martial arts were a large part of Roth's stage persona, and his impressive jumps and karate kicks became his signature moves. He's never been just a singer, he's a showman, and he knew how to entertain and interact with an audience whether he's doing his kicks or not.
Pearl Jam also deliver a dose of energy with their performances, but they connect with their crowds in a different way. During an episode of the Talkhouse Podcast a few months ago, Ament explained that he typically prefers when musicians are really focusing on the music more than putting on an entertaining show.
"I feel guilty saying it, but always at the beginning of a show, I'm just trying to get inside the songs. It's like, I'm trying to find that... because I know when I know when I'm not inside the songs, it sucks. The sound's not right or whatever, but if you can get inside the song, then you can get inside the band and what the band is doing, and then I think that energy emanates from you when you play," the bassist said of how he approaches lives performances.
"Some of my favorite musicians have their head down and their eyes closed. I get the most out of some of those people than I do from somebody who's David Lee Roth-ing it, or really connecting, aggressively connecting to the crowd," he continued. "That's a big part of it too, but seeing somebody with their eyes closed just like, inside the music — I wanna go there."
Ament cited jazz musician Brian Blade as an example of a musician who gets really into the music during his performances, and he further reiterated that he feels he performs the best when he's focused on the music, which then translates to a better show for the crowd.
"I'm never gonna be the guy blowing kisses to the crowd," he concluded.
Listen to the full podcast episode below.
Pearl Jam have a handful of shows throughout Texas over the next few weeks. See all of the dates at this location.