Eddie Vedder ‘Was Hard On’ Pearl Jam Producer


Brendan O’Brien is certainly one of the most respected producers across the globe and he is popular for working with Pearl Jam. However, he has also worked with the likes of AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Rage Against The Machine, Mastodon and more.

Brendan O’Brien with Pearl Jam

O’Brien first worked with Pearl Jam on 1993’s Vs. album, and in a new interview with music industry expert Rick Beato, he revealed how his relationship with the band began. O’Brien revealed that he had mixed Temple Of The Dog’s self-titled 1991 album, for which Stone Gossard wrote two songs (Times of TroubleFour Walled World) and co-wrote the single Pushin’ Forward Back with bandmate Jeff Ament. He was aware of the Seattle band even before they released their debut album, Ten.

However, he admitted that while he’d had discussions about working with the group on their second record, after remixing Jeremy for its release as a single, he “absolutely” thought that he might have missed his shot when Ten ‘blew up’ commercially. O’Brien revealed that Michael Goldstone recommended him to work on a mix and he said that Kelly Curtis suggested Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard would be in Nuremberg for four days, and O’Brien agreed to be there, despite being busy with a record in Los Angeles.

“I think the A&R guy, Michael Goldstone, wanted me to do it,” O’Brien told Beato, “and they’d been recommended to me by the Chili Peppers guys [O’Brien worked as an engineer on Blood Sugar Sex Magick] and they’d heard some mixes from The Black Crowes’ second album [The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion] and Stone and Jeff liked that a lot, they loved it, thought it was great. So I got a call from Kelly Curtis, who’s their manager, and I think he wanted me to do it, and he said, ‘I think these guys are going to decide pretty soon what to do, so it might be good to meet with them one more time.’

“I said, You got it, I’m down. Where are they going to be? ‘They’re going to be in Nuremberg in about four days, can you be there?’ What? Like, Germany, Nuremberg? He was like, ‘If you can’t make it, I understand.’  I was in the middle of making a record [in Los Angeles], but the proper answer is, Yes, I’ll be there.”

O’Brien traveled to Germany via Atlanta and showed up at the gig, likely the band’s June 15, 1992 show at the city’s Serenadenhof venue, and introduced himself properly to the band. He revealed that Eddie Vedder, who was not familiar with him, initially pushed him hard and was difficult to get along with.

However, when he was offered the gig, he was amazed. O’Brien knew it was an important job and that if he didn’t go, he would be leaving it in the hands of fate. He felt that if he went too far, they wouldn’t let him start.

“I didn’t know Eddie [Vedder] at all at that point,” he recalls. “The first few records I worked on with them, he was hard on me, he was not easy to get next to, and I understood that. But Stone said, ‘Man, you must really want this gig!’ He just started laughing at me. And I go, I do. He was both amazed, and laughing at me at the same time… I knew that it was an important job, and I knew that of I didn’t go, I was leaving it in the hands of fate, and I didn’t want that. I really felt like, if I go all the way over there, they’re going to have a hard time not at least letting me start. And it worked out, so…”

O’Brien had a unique ability to bring out the best in Pearl Jam and pushed their creative boundaries while staying true to its roots. Fans certainly adore the way he blends Eddie Vedder’s gritty voccals with the band’s intense instrumentation, creating timeless songs.