Tag Archives: Jonathan Cohen

Pearl Jam Twenty: Press + Share Your Thoughts…

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Photograph by: Mark Blinch, Reuters

“Tonight’s the Night”…Pearl Jam Twenty is finally here. I thought we would celebrate with a collection of PJ20 related press/tidbits from the past week and more importantly, get your thoughts. So without further adieu, let’s dig in.

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Please tell us what you think of Pearl Jam Twenty. Did it live up to your expectations? Favorite part? 

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Sep 20, 2011

Exclusive: Interview with PJ20 Book Author Jonathan Cohen – Part 2

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We conclude our interview with PJ20 author Jonathan Cohen as we discuss challenges, the design of the book and the music. We hope you enjoy it.

I know you had access to Cameron’s original interviews for the movie. Did you have a plan to make the book a companion to the movie or was it designed as a stand alone thing?

We never really had a discussion about it. Obviously, because Cameron gave us his interview transcripts, there is some overlap in dialogue between the film and book. He had so much good stuff that he couldn’t use in the movie. When he turned over his interviews, I indexed his transcripts and created subject headers and/or topics. For example, when talking about “Daughter”, I would find an Eddie quote, then I would grab a Stone quote. I would then be able to combine it with the stuff I already had. I really think that helped us make the best use of the stuff that was available to us.

Was there any topic or event in PJ’s history that was difficult to get a definitive answer on?

There are a few blank spots in the early period of the band’s concert chronology. We really wanted that nailed down. Is this actually their third show or fourth show together? We were able to get most of that sorted out.

Also, the story of how Eddie got the demo tape has been told in numerous forms and that became a bit of an untangling process. The version in circulation was pretty close, but not technically accurate.

How did the overall design or look of the book get decided?

All the credit for that goes to Regan Hagar for making everything make sense as you turn the pages. Jeff Ament and Eddie Vedder had a lot of input as well. I really like the collage look of the book a lot. Not a lot of the pictures have captions, but it makes almost more immersive as you might be reading about Pearl Jam and Neil Young jamming together and the picture of them together might be a few pages later.

What’s your favorite Pearl Jam album?

No Code because it’s a clear dividing line between the two eras of the band. I love how the introduction of drummer Jack Irons changed the band’s sound. They became groovy and just kind of loose. I just love the material on that record. It definitely threw some of the casual fans for a loop because it really didn’t sound like the previous three records. That record, is a flashpoint for the hard core fans. As the casual fans dropped off and the hard core stayed and got to say, “Yes, this is really my band and I’m going to follow them where ever they go creatively.”

How about a favorite concert memory?

Wow. That’s a tough thing to decide. I’m going to say the Santa Barbara Bowl show in the Fall of 2003. It was the first time that Chris Cornell sung “Hunger Strike” with the band in like eleven years. Jack Irons played at the show. It felt almost like the end of a certain era there too.

What about your favorite Pearl Jam songs?

I’m definitely more drawn to the rockers like “Last Exit”, Brain of J”, “Life Wasted”, “Habit”, “Mankind”, “Hail, Hail”. That’s my bread and butter!

What’s next for you?

Nothing planned as of now. Back to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. It’s been a wonderful experience and I thank Pearl Jam and everyone immensely for being a part of this.

Special thanks to Jonathan Cohen and Nicole Vandenberg for helping with this interview. The PJ20 book is available now! It includes an introduction by Cameron, along with interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Neil Finn and Dave Grohl. It’s filled with a wonderful pictures and mementos from Pearl Jam’s twenty years and is published by Simon & Schuster.

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Sep 15, 2011

Exclusive: Interview with PJ20 Book Author Jonathan Cohen – Part 1

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Did you pick up your copy of the new PJ20 book yet? I had a chance to sit down with author Jonathan Cohen to discuss how the book came together in this exclusive interview.

You got know the band pretty well during your time at Billboard magazine, who contacted you and asked you to write the PJ20 book?

At the Philly shows in the Fall of 2009, the movie was just starting to be talked about within the band.  I think I may have mentioned to someone that I would love to help out with a book or anything regarding the project. Sure enough, a month later, I got a call from Nicole Vandenberg, the band’s longtime publicist, asking if I was interested in helping out with this project. I was beyond thrilled. It was something I had thought about maybe doing at some point down the road and was completely honored that asked me to be a part of it. But we had to move pretty fast, as we were closely approaching the date when all this stuff was happening…

You had a little over a year to create this book and balance your day job as the music booker at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. How did you balance this?

I have to give much thanks to the hiatus schedule of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. We were off 12 or 13 weeks in 2010 and that was the only way I was able to get this done on time. I blocked off every day that I wasn’t working on Fallon to write, do research or jump on the phone with somebody. That allowed us to compress the time period. Without it, there’s no way the book would have been done on time.

You’ve said that Eddie Vedder came up with a timeline concept for the book. But besides that, how did you wrap your arms around how to do put the band’s rich history into the book?

Initially, we really weren’t sure how we were going to do it. That coincided with Eddie’s idea to divide things up by year. That eliminated a ton of the stress, as we now had a set framework. We could now focus on the most important things to include in each year. That was a huge benefit to our focus and research. Without that, this book might have ended up double its final length.

Was there an early decision on the book length? Did that go out the window as you accumulated more and more material?

Yes. It’s to the credit of Simon & Schuster that we had the freedom to do something more robust than maybe what they initially intended. I think the book was initially supposed to be about 250 pages and wound up closer to 350 pages. We had so much good stuff and we didn’t want to make a lot of cuts. They were happy with the first draft and so we didn’t have to cut a lot out of there. The goal was to make the focus on the music, which sometimes gets lost in the overall conversation with Pearl Jam. It’s easy to forget that it’s actually the music that bonds people to them and is what has kept them going for 20 years.

It’s the Pearl Jam die hard fan that you’re trying to speak to, right?

That’s right. The book is definitely geared towards someone who has more than just a passing familiarity with the band. Along those lines, we also tried to go above and beyond to make sure that we had stuff that would entertain the longtime fan. By the same token, I think the book will appeal to people who just like music and it will be interesting for people to dig into that era and learn how the band made it through for the past 20 years.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 of our interview with Jonathan!

The PJ20 book is available now! It includes an introduction by Cameron, along with interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Neil Finn and Dave Grohl. It’s filled with a wonderful pictures and mementos from Pearl Jam’s twenty years and is published by Simon & Schuster.

Filed under News
Sep 14, 2011

Pearl Jam Twenty Book Cover!

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Here’s the first look at the front cover for the Pearl Jam Twenty book. Nice and simple, huh? Don’t forget that the 256 page book is written by Jonathan Cohen with assistance from Mark Wilkerson. It will also include an introduction by Cameron, along with interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Dave Grohl.  The book is scheduled to be released on September 13, 2011 and will be published by Simon & Schuster.

Filed under News
Jul 12, 2011


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