Pearl Jam, Weapon Of Choice Mates Get Funky
Weapon Of Choice bassist Lonnie Marshall and Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard have been long-time friends, and recently collaborated on several tracks together.
Weapon Of Choice bassist Lonnie Marshall and Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard have been long-time friends, and recently collaborated on several tracks together. But rather than assemble a full-length album credited solely to Marshall and Gossard, the songs will be split over a pair of releases: a yet-to-be-titled Gossard solo set, and the album "That Would Be Dope," by the Marshall-led side project, Meganut and Friends.
"I've been collaborating with Stone ever since I met him -- that was in like 1991," Marshall tells Billboard.com. "We started jamming together at his place. And pretty much ever since then, I've been going back and forth to Seattle. Either at his house, his home studio or at his studio, Litho, near his house. We've done shows together [and] put together a couple of different projects."
In addition to Marshall and Gossard, short-lived Pearl Jam drummer Matt Chamberlain, Critters Buggin saxophonist Skerik and singer/songwriter Pete Droge have lent a hand on the sessions. One song that will find its way on Gossard's album is "Long Way Back," which Marshall describes as "A melodic, groove-oriented song, that appears to be somewhat of a ballad, the way it starts. But it picks up with an abrupt, hard-as-nails groove bridge, and goes back and forth."
Other songs from the sessions include "Rock Bottom" and "Satisfaction," both of which will appear on the Meganut and Friends set.
With the songs mostly birthed out of jam sessions, Marshall describes the musical style as "'70s inspired funk and soul, with a relevant and current influence as well, as far as the lyrical approach. There's some hip-hop lyrical approaches to the record, mixed with [a] singing style like Sly Stone and George Clinton." As a result, the sessions were loose and fun. "We have a lot of funny moments," admits Marshall. "Stone and I have a pretty similar sense of humor, and I like to play around with words; just laughing at lyrics that I came up with off the top of my head."
With Pearl Jam at work on a new studio album and planning to tour in support of it, Marshall/Gossard live dates may be tough to schedule, but Marshall remains optimistic. "There's a possibility that we'll be touring together," he says. "I played a couple of shows in Seattle with just me and Stone collaborating. So it's a possibility that we'll be doing that again."
Weapon Of Choice, which was signed to Gossard's Loosegroove label in the '90s, will begin its first European tour in May, and Marshall is gearing up to release a self-titled Weapon Of Choice live DVD.
Also, the bassist appears on "Pleasures of the Funky," the new album by his brother, one-time Red Hot Chili Peppers/Macy Gray guitarist Arik Marshall. "I'm on that album doing some lyrics and vocals -- that's a nutritiously delicious piece of music for the millennium," he reports.