Eddie Vedder‘s Earthling features an all-star backing band that includes Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers — and Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Ringo Starr also make appearances. But the most surprising guest is Vedder’s late father.
The Pearl Jam frontman wrote about his father, who he thought was just a family friend until his mother informed him, in the song “Alive.” And now he tells Mojo that he made a unlikely connection with his father through a Chicago Cubs fantasy camp.
“One of the ex-players, this erudite badass trumpeter, who used to play third base, his name is Carmen Fanzone… I saw Carmen playing the horn in a little club in Arizona, and this guy playing keyboards with him had been best friends with my dad. Two years later, he brought me some photos of them in little basement studios. Then a couple years after that, he brought me five songs of my dad singing, on a disc.”
Vedder says it took a bit for him to listen to the recordings. “I carried that disc around for two, three months in my suitcase, not ready to hear it. Finally, I got the guts, and after a couple bottles of wine played it one night in Argentina. And he was good. It was incredible — like he left a message for me.”
Vedder and producer Andrew Watt assembled “a little collage” around his father’s voice and included it towards the end of the album. Earthling is due out February 11th.