Pearl Jam load the bases with an inspired new album, new tour, and a deal to soundtrack the World Series
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Vedder has a keepsake at home that brings two of his passions together: a baseball glove that belonged to Johnny Ramone when he was a kid. "Lightning Bolt" will unite that love of sports and music come Oct. 23 when the World Series telecast begins on Fox Sports. "For the World Series, every music cue will be Pearl Jam," says Michele Anthony, who has worked with Pearl Jam throughout the band's career, has helped run PJ's "Monkeywrench" label and was recently named Universal Music Group executive VP of U.S. recorded music. "The band are all huge baseball fans and they have a lot of sports fans, so Fox Sports came to us with a very fun idea, which was to license to them 36 songs plus the new album."
FULL DETAILS: Pearl Jam to Soundtrack the World Series
It's been more than two decades of hard-fought victories that have brought Pearl Jam to this point: a 10th studio album that can match the intensity of its best work. "The No. 1 reason is Eddie Vedder," Gossard says. "He doesn't want to fade quietly into the sunset. What excites him, what pisses him off, what energizes him still is these bursts of adrenaline. They're relative to the stuff that we learned the first few years of playing together, where we were all sort of losing our minds. He's never forgotten that.
"We're still the new kids in a lot of ways," Gossard adds. "You look at the people that are our heroes-you look at the Whos and the Neil Youngs and the Bruce Springsteens-those guys are 20, 30 years down the road farther."
Asked if the examples of those heroes have changed the perception that rock'n'roll is a young man's game, Vedder responds, "It still is a young man's game, so we have to stay young. Music allows you to do that, especially rock'n'roll. But it also has to do with growing up and becoming more mature, and then you have a pretty good balance." Vedder thinks part of that maturity is "being less precious about the records and maybe trying to put out more material. The irony is that I'm saying this after taking four years to get this one out. Now I think we've had enough thinking or talking about the past, and it just feels like a good time to be prolific, take advantage of this opportunity. Because it is pretty rare, if nothing else."
So if Pearl Jam is, as Vedder puts it, barely halfway there after 23 years, where does he see himself 20 years from now? "The most important thing is to be able to see who you are at the current time, in the present tense," he says with a laugh. "Because there's just no guarantees. I'm just trying to be as strong as I can for my kids, for my family. I can't see looking into the future. I just want to be alive."
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