Engineer Dave Hillis has recently reflected on his time working with Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam on their debut Ten album during an interview on Cobras & Fire Podcast.

The interviewer’s first question for Hillis asked about Eddie Vedder’s “real big first-time experience in the studio,” adding that “singing in a recording studio is terribly different than singing live.” He goes on to ask, “Was he a quick study, was there a lot of coaching?”

Hillis begins,”The question is really interesting. It wasn’t magic right away, it took a bit. A lot of people don’t realise, but it was a big deal at the time for him to be picking up… in Seattle, Andy [Wood] was like a legend, and so it was kind of big footsteps to walk into, and they were reinventing themselves as well as a band, and Eddie was new.”

“So there’s a lot of that going on, I know that’s why they were really kind of, having hung out with Chris [Cornell] to get confident. There’s a lot of that going on, not in the studio, but I know outside of the studio that was a big part of things.”

He revealed, “It took some time, and I always think about it as he wasn’t really Eddie Vedder that we know yet – the Eddie Vedder I met was a lot different.”

“The first day I saw him, he showed up first,” Hillis added. “I’m waiting outside kind of early morning and this bright yellow tinted-window Chevy, and he gets out, and the point is you don’t see tinted window, yellow low-riding Chevy in wet, rainy, cloudy weather, so that was kind of, ‘Woah!'”

Interestingly, Hillis said, “He was kind of discovering this character to be born, in a way. I remember in particular there was a moment when the band and Rick had a discussion or a meeting that I’m not really involved in, but I’m there hearing it while doing whatever I was doing.”

“And there was some concern if Eddie should do this, I didn’t know anything, in particular, that was bad going on, but I remember the discussion.”

He concludes, “So what ended up happening was, we had a lot of tracks down, we showed Eddie how to – we’d keep three or four tracks open, and show him on the remote on tape machine how to record himself and switch to another take, and locked him in the studio.”

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Watch Eddie Vedder in the music video for ‘Alive’ by Pearl Jam.

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