Pearl Jam Producer Brendan O'Brien Discusses New Album
Classic Rock: Brendan, you've worked with Pearl Jam over a period of 20 years now. What are the pros and cons of having such a well-established relationship with a band?
Brendan: I think the first cons of making four albums together was that they got tired of being told what to do, which happens to all good artists. Some time after we did Yield, I just think they wanted to do it themselves for a while. The pros are, when they're ready to do something a little more outgoing, significant – whatever you want to call it, that's what I call it, I can't help myself! – they call me again.
Classic Rock: And when they arrive in the studio, do they know what the songs are going to sound like, or is there a lot of sitting around thinking?
Brendan: There's very little sitting around thinking, I can promise you that. Because you can't pre-determine what you're doing. Except that if you do a record with Pearl Jam, you'd better have Eddie [Vedder] good and loud! And a groove going. If I do anything I've got to get that right. Most songs we still start by recording live, in the room, with everybody playing at once, even though we don't keep as much of that stuff as we used to.
Classic Rock: You've said that some Pearl Jam records are more difficult to make than others. How would you place this one on that spectrum?
Brendan: The difficulty for me was trying to get them back into the studio. I think that's probably my value to them, I'm going: "Let's keep going on, let's stop f**king around, let's go." Thinking of some of their earlier records, Vs. was hard for me to make because I didn't know any of the guys really. Especially Eddie, and Eddie was very stand-offish in those days. He was just very protective. He would tell me: "You're Stone and Jeff's friend" [laughs], when we would get into discussion. That was his defence mechanism. "Alright, man, whatever…" Read the rest of the interview here.
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