Who is Pearl Jam ‘Gigaton’ Producer Josh Evans?
New decade, new Pearl Jam album, new producer.
Pearl Jam’s Gigaton songs won’t be the only thing new about the band’s first album in seven years. The group has brought on Seattle producer Josh Evans for the first time, taking a break from working with Brendan O’Brien, who manned the boards for six of Pearl Jam’s ten previous albums.
Considering his resume with artists including Soundgarden, Thunderpussy and Gary Clark, Jr., Evans looks to be an inspired choice for potentially taking the grunge group’s sound in a new direction.
Pearl Jam fans initially got a taste of Evans’ style when he engineered the band’s Brandi Carlile cover on 2017’s Cover Stories and then engineered Pearl Jam’s 2018 raucous single, “Can’t Deny Me.” Due March 27, Gigaton will be the band's first material with Evans in the role of co-producer.
How does this bode for the sound of Pearl Jam’s new album? Listen for ease with band member preferences. Evan’s previous work with Soundgarden (King Animal), Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament (solo album Heaven/Hell) and a slew of guitarist Mike McCready’s projects (Mad Season/Seattle Symphony, a McCready/KT Tunstall single and Sadie score, et al) will ground his Gigaton work in a particular comfort with Pearl Jam’s rhythm section and lead guitars.
Evans is also conversant with both the band's current musical favorites and its influences, having worked with Thunderpussy (“Somebody to Love”) and Kiss’ Ace Frehley (Origins Vol. 1).
Evans’ connection to Pearl Jam and its musical family, however, goes even deeper than his production credits. According to LinkedIn, he was on staff at Studio X during the period when Pearl Jam’s 2006 self-titled album and frontman Eddie Vedder’s solo album Into the Wild were recorded there.
Evans has also put in time as Chris Cornell’s monitor engineer on the 2016 Temple of the Dog tour, Cornell and guitarist Kim Thayil’s guitar tech for Soundgarden’s entire reunion era (2010-2017) and as a Pearl Jam guitar and keyboard tech since 2008.
Fans will be able to listen for themselves when the first Gigaton single, “Dance of the Clairvoyants” is released “in the coming weeks,” according to the Pearl Jam announcement. There is no word yet on the full Gigaton track list, but fans are hoping live rarity “Of the Earth” finally touches down on an album. It would be fitting considering the album artwork is decidedly environmental: a Norwegian ice cap gushing meltwater.
The album is currently available for pre-order via PearlJam.com, and the band is set to embark on a spring North American Gigaton tour that launches March 18 in Toronto and makes its way across the continent before winding up April 19 in Oakland, Calif. A previously announced European tour runs June 23 - July 23.