“John Paul Jones is one of the only musicians I’ve been around where I was starstruck. I asked him some stupid questions about Achilles Last Stand… but he was very kind!” Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament names 11 bassists who shaped his sound

Jeff Ament
(Image credit: Danny Clinch)

Pearl Jam’s new album Dark Matter has sent bassist Jeff Ament on a journey. It’s a record where he works through punk-adjacent pounding (Running, Scared of Fear); rhythmically fired-up riff rawk (Dark Matter); joyful Stax-styled bass runs (Got to Give); and bar-chopping country ballads (Something Special). 

As deep and exploratory as any Pearl Jam album, Dark Matter also scales back the ambient electronic whirl that marked parts of 2020’s Gigaton in favor of a harder-hitting immediacy. “I think that punch probably comes from the process being so quick,” Ament explains, noting it was made in three weeks between producer Andrew Watt’s Beverly Hills home recording space, and Rick Rubin’s iconic Shangri La studio in nearby Malibu. 

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Gregory Adams

Gregory Adams is a Vancouver-based arts reporter. From metal legends to emerging pop icons to the best of the basement circuit, he’s interviewed musicians across countless genres for nearly two decades, most recently with Guitar World, Bass Player, Revolver, and more – as well as through his independent newsletter, Gut Feeling. This all still blows his mind. He’s a guitar player, generally bouncing hardcore riffs off his ’52 Tele reissue and a dinged-up SG.