Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament on how Jay-Z's performing with band at Made In America came together last minute, plus Ament's RNDM & PJ plans.
Pearl Jam's Ament, center sitting with his side-band RNDM, explains how Pearl Jam and Jay-Z came to rock "99 Problems" together at Made in America.
When Jay-Z joined Pearl Jam onstage to perform a mashup of "99 Problems/W.M.A." at Made In America Sunday (September 2) the crowd exploded, but PJ bassist Jeff Ament tells Billboard it was merely 30 minutes before the band's headlining set that the collaboration actually came together.
Sitting down for a wide-ranging Billboard video interview with his new side band RNDM this week, Ament explained that when Pearl Jam met up with fest curator Jay-Z the night before Made In America to go over the possible cameo, "it was fifty-fifty" that it would happen. But, "literally half an hour before the show he came in and worked through the arrangement... and within 30 seconds we knew it was going to be great."
"When you could that tell he was in, then you go into the show and you have this thing to look forward to at the end that's going to blow people's minds," Ament said, adding that onstage shortly into the performance, "Jay-Z turned around and looked at Matt [Cameron, Pearl Jam's drummer] with a big smile on his face and it was on."
Pearl Jam and Jay-Z perform at Made in America.
RNDM, Ament's project with singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur and drummer Richard Stuverud, was announced just days before Pearl Jam's Made In America set. The trio hits the road for a 16-date U.S. tour that runs Nov. 2 through Nov. 27 supporting 12-track album, "Acts" (due Oct. 30) -- full info at RNDMband.com. But Ament and Arthur divulged that fans will also be able to catch RNDM at a not-yet-announced Halloween show in Missoula, Montana. RNDM started as a one-song collaboration in 2011, Ament says, so "to have it turn into an album and a tour is amazing."
Ament will also be in Missoula a month prior on Sept. 30 for a Pearl Jam's only 2012 U.S. non-festival gig, a show for which Montana senator Jon Tester's re-election campaign offered special premium packages of tickets. "It's a big election, not just the national election,but it's going to be a big one for Montana because things could shift dramatically especially environmentally if the opposing guy gets in," Ament says. "I grew up in a town of 800 people and Jon Tester grew up in my town I worked on a farm next to his farm for three years, he ref'd my junior high school games. The fact that I'm in a position to help him and I can call the [PJ] guys up and say, 'hey we're not doing anything in the political realm, are you up for doing this, and everybody was like in instantly. That's special."
Much like Jay-Z's reminder during Made In America, Ament hopes the Sept. 30 Pearl Jam show will "get it out there to try to get people excited to vote and make young people realize how important it is."