It feels like a new opportunity for us. We're proud of the songs, and we think they have a chance to do a little better commercially.
J was open to our style from the get-go. They weren't expecting us to do something that was unnatural for us.
We're going to make better and better records as we get older, especially considering this one kind of rocks harder. Why should we be rocking harder now? Isn't this when we're supposed to ease into the whole Pink Floyd groove?
We've actually rehearsed more for this tour than we've ever rehearsed in our lives. Matt is singing a lot of the vocal harmonies, and he's just killing it. The benefit of playing in a KISS cover band when you're 12 is that you learn to sing!
But Eddie does not make all the decisions. Eddie can listen to reason; Eddie can be swayed or talked in or out of certain things. Eddie allows other people to lead in this band and to have certain roles that are very fundamental to the decision-making process.
There's been a lot of role reversal going on in the band. The roles people have been playing for a long time will always be there, but everybody's willing to try on different outfits.
That's not to say Eddie's never done anything malicious. But he never grabbed power for power's sake. His position was gained only because he has that energy, and that's naturally where he ended up.
Call it holistic or holographic thinking, it's been quite effective imagining the world's problems are all right in front of you on a smaller scale with your band. You deal with those relationships, and that's where real major change begins.
Dave played an important part in our growing, but change occurs.
And I look forward to the time when I can become more indulgent with my songwriting. But this band is a family, and it's a process that we have to grow with together.
And I remember as a second or third grader having some autonomy to go to the store if I felt like it, walk home, take my time, kick the can. We were on our own schedule after school, so that was cool.
We may take breaks and do other things, but we feel we'll ultimately have Pearl Jam as a family.
I think if you exercise, your state of mind - my state of mind - is usually more at ease, ready for more mental challenges. Once I get the physical stuff out of the way it always seems like I have more calmness and better self-esteem.
A lot of fun stuff happens when you go out on a bike compared to when you're in a car. You're more in the environment. It's enjoyable. Even when It's raining It's still fun.
It's really comforting for me and Jeff, at least, that after 12 years we finally feel we've reached a place where we can be more honest, real and loving with each other. And we're finally in a band that we know is good, and deserves the credit it's getting.