In addition to being a multi-Grammy-winning producer who has worked with Dua Lipa, Post Malone and Justin Bieber, Andrew Watt is a serious Pearl Jam fan. A fan club member who has seen them 50 times kind of fanatic. Now he's in the surreal position of producing his idols' next album.
We first encountered Watt as the guitarist in California Breed with Jason Bonham and there's no doubt he brought serious chops to the table when he worked with Ozzy Osbourne and Eddie Vedder before – he produced the latter's 2022 solo album Earthlings and played in his touring band. Now Stone Gossard has revealed he's brought his skills to Pearl Jam. And they're loving it.
"We're getting close, we're getting close to the finish line," guitarist Gossard revealed to Kyle Meredith in the video above. "We've been recording for a year or so, and it hasn't been constant – we did some recording and then we took a break, then we've done some more. We're getting closer and closer so it's going to be a good one."
Gossard is clearly enthused by the presence of Watt and amused by the two very different worlds he inhabits.
"He's a big-time pop producer, f*****g hilarious and not only a big-time pop producer but the most hardcore Pearl Jam fan you'll ever meet. [He] can play all our songs and all Soundgarden's songs back at us, better than we can play them. So he's a real fan."
The cynic's question is whether someone who's such a massive fan of a band can wield the critical cleaver over them as a producer when they need to. But Watt has an impressive track record and Gossard's enthusiasm is very promising indeed.
"It's been such a joy to make a record with him," adds Gossard. "He's so enthusiastic, he's young and bouncing off the walls – just loving the opportunity to work with us, and we've totally been blessed by him because he's energising us. That's what you'll hear on the record; that there's good energy."
Meredith is a big Pearl Jam fan himself and asked Gossard if Watt's megafan status mean't he has a vision of the kind of record he wants them to make.
"Yes," Gossard confirms. But he won't reveal if the Pearl Jam we'll hear on this record harks back to their earlier days. "You'll have to be the judge of that. I think there's an energy he's looking for – he's a fan club member, he's seen the band 50 times. But he's also literally a top-flight producer. He's making Justin Bieber records, and Selena Gomez [records]… all of that stuff. He likes pop but I'm more of a pop fan than he is. But it's fun and we're getting closer, so at some point we'll have a record out."
Gossard did add one additional thought about the forthcoming record later in the interview.
"I think this new record will end up being a great combination of things that sound not worked over, high energy, but executed well.
In the meantime, Gossard is promoting the final album with Brad, In The Moment That You're Born; the band he formed with vocalist Shawn Smith, who passed away in 2019. In addition, 2023 also marks the 30th anniversary of Brad's debut album, Shame.