As part of the promotional push for his new album, Earthling, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder has sat down with Bruce Springsteen for an interview to air on Amazon Music on February 11 at 2pm (Eastern Time).
In a preview clip for this meeting of two American idols, Springsteen asks the younger man to identify some of the influences which have filtered down into the songs on this new record, telling him that he hears some punk and metal in its grooves.
“The stuff that got put in my blender, it got started maybe with Jackson 5 when I was a kid,” Vedder responds. “And then [The] Beatles as a kid and growing up and then The Who took over big time. And then, my friend … ”
Here Vedder gestures towards Springsteen who acknowledges the shout out with a chuckle and a respectful “Grazie.“
Picking up the conversational thread once more, Vedder namechecks the Band, Split Enz, Talking Heads, Sonic Youth, Fugazi, and Mudhoney as other bands who’ve helped colour his songwriting, adding emphasis by miming pressing the ‘On’ switch on his imaginary blender, and pouring out the musical mix.
“I got you,” an approving Springsteen says. “That’s what I’m hearing in there. It’s a good mix.”
Released tomorrow, February 11, Earthling features guest cameos from Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Ringo Starr, and Vedder’s late father. Vedder explained how his father came to be on the record in a recent interview with MOJO.
“I didn’t really get to know my real father,” said Vedder, expanding upon a subject which inspired early Pearl Jam single Alive. “I met him maybe three or four times as a kid, but he was, you know, a friend of the family. It would have been nice to have been in a room with him at some point before he died when I was 13. It would have been nice to share that I knew that he was my pop, but it didn’t happen.
“But the crazy thing that did happen was that about 10 years ago, the Chicago Cubs, some of their old timers get together and play baseball for about a week, and I would go down there every other year and hang with these guys, learn about the game more so I can teach my kids more, you know, I coach baseball.
“One of the ex-players, this erudite badass trumpeter, who used to play third base, his name is Carmen Fanzone,” Vedder continues. “He also became head of the Musicians Union in Los Angeles – an incredibly cool individual. I saw Carmen playing the horn in a little club in Arizona, and this guy playing keyboards with him had been best friends with my dad. Two years later, he brought me some photos of them in little basement studios. Then a couple years after that, he brought me five songs of my dad singing, on a disc. I carried that disc around for two, three months in my suitcase, not ready to hear it. Finally, I got the guts, and after a couple bottles of wine played it one night in Argentina. And he was good. It was incredible – like he left a message for me.”
Together with producer Andrew Watt (Ozzy Osbourne/Miley Cyrus), Vedder says he assembled “a little collage” around his father’s voice, and included it towards the end of the 13-track album.
“I thought of the record like a setlist – by the end, that’s when you start bringing out special guests,” he explained to writer Keith Cameron. “We had Stevie and Elton, Ringo was an incredible addition… and then my pop gets to be on a record with those guys, which is not too shabby.”