Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament Sat Next to Joni Mitchell and Secretly Listened to 'Blue' on Headphones

"This might come off as stalker-ish..."

Photo: Jeff Ament by Craig Carper

BY Alex HudsonPublished Apr 23, 2024

What would you do if you met Joni Mitchell? Would you nerd out, or try to play it cool? In the case of Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, he sat quietly next to her on a plane while secretly listening to 1971's Blue on his headphones.

Appearing on the podcast Broken Record (along with PJ guitarist Stone Gossard), Ament recalled meeting Mitchell in the early '90s.

"We did share an airplane ride with her in about '93 in Canada," he remembered. "And then when we got on the plane, I was sitting in the aisle seat and she was sitting in the aisle seat right across from me. This might come off as stalker-ish, but I was listening to a lot of Joni Mitchell at the time, so I reached into my CD wallet — which, it was 1993, so — and I put in Blue, and I put on my headphones, and during the flight, I would just look over at her every once in a while and go, 'Wow.'"

Don't worry — he didn't get too creepy about it! He said, "I didn't stare at her, but I sort of felt like: I'm in Canada, and I'm listening to Blue, and I'm sitting across from Joni Mitchell." He called Mitchell "one of my favourite artists."

Pearl Jam's new album, Dark Matter, contains a song that began as a dream Ament had about Joni Mitchell and Neil Young writing a song together. After he woke up, he transcribed the song they played in his dream, and the result was "Won't Tell."

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