Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament has revealed he gets motivated to tour by thinking about how much money he’ll be able to give to his skate park charity fund.
He’s much more excited about helping tackle child abuse, neglect and suicide than he is about hitting the road with Eddie Vedder and co.
And the hope of offering assistance to poverty-stricken communities by building leisure facilities keeps him energised.
Ament tells Vice: “The band’s Vitalogy Foundation takes $3 from every ticket, and we split that up five ways for our causes. That ends up being a good chunk of change – but most of the skate bowls I pay for out of my own pocket.
“The band will probably try and get another record going in the next year, and I just want to build more parks.
“The way I look at it is if I’m touring and doing more things with the band, I make more money. If I make more money I build more parks. It helps me get more excited about touring – because I’m usually not too excited about it.”
Ament hopes his work helps address serious issues including abuse, crime and even child suicide. He says: “I’m told there are a lot of copycat suicides, which is crazy to me. I can’t wrap my head around it. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that much despair.
“The sad thing is that they’re kids. They never got the opportunity to be 18 and run away and try to make it happen on their own.”
And he doesn’t care that many of the young people he meets don’t know about Pearl Jam. “I’m just the guy who helped them build a skatepark – which is way better,” he says.
“This is my connection to youth. I’m 52 but I’m still doing all the same stuff I did when I was 15. I’m still skateboarding, playing music, playing basketball, and riding my bike around. They keep me young.”