Nearly 20 years into their existence, Pearl Jam are busier than ever, with a US tour and a new album planned for later this year, and a documentary they're working on with filmmaker Cameron Crowe.
The band has completed 14 songs for the upcoming disc, which will be their first effort as free agents. Pearl Jam chose not to renew their deal with J Records and sources indicate they'll self-distribute the new album.
Band reunite with Brendan O'Brien
"In the past, Brendan would say, 'I think you should do it in a different key', and we'd say no. But now that we've heard Bruce [Springsteen] has listened to his suggestions, I think we will too" Eddie Vedder
The record also marks the first time they've worked with producer Brendan O'Brien since 1998's Yield, and frontman Eddie Vedder is excited:
"The new record feels good so far - really strong and uptempo, stuff we can sink our teeth into," he says. The time spent away from O'Brien seems to have strengthed Vedder's trust in the producer. "In the past, Brendan would say, 'It's a great song, but I think you should do it in a different key', and we'd say no. But now that we've heard Bruce [Springsteen] has listened to his suggestions, I think we will too."
As for the Cameron Crowe-helmed documentary, guitarist Mike McCready says the timing is key. "We're building up to our big 20th anniversary," McCready said. "We're trying to have a little campaign of building rereleases with new mixes and new outtakes up until that time. We're trying to do a movie with Cameron Crowe with all of our existing footage."
Group rumored for Austin City Limits Festival
According to the Austin Chronicle, "the worst-kept secret since Metallica's SXSW showcase" is news that Pearl Jam is widely expected to be one of the headliners of this year's Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin, Texas, to be held 2-4 October 2009.
The promoters declined to comment about the lineup, but The Dave Matthews Band, Beastie Boys, Kings Of Leon along with Pearl Jam are heavily rumored to be announced as headliners on 28 April.
Early bird passes for Austin City Limits are on sale at here.