NewsMontana and Regional News


McGonigal's Chronicles: Talking with Jeff Ament

Posted at 2:10 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 18:41:38-04

GREAT FALLS — The Covid 19-Pandemic put a temporary halt to many things we love like sporting events and live concerts. Fans of Pearl Jam felt the impact when the Rock & Roll Hall Fame band had to cancel shows.

But for Jeff Ament, the band’s bass player from Big Sandy, it didn’t mean slowing down. "Bandwidth" is one of the songs on Pearl jam Bassist Jeff Ament’s new album. The Montana native says it’s about tuning out the noise and lends itself to the album title, “I Should Be Outside.”

“That’s why we live in Montana,” said Ament. “We have some of the best nature on the planet. It’s where we do our best communicating and our best work is outside. Ask any farmer.”

The album marks Ament’s fourth solo effort. He started work on it during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. “I went into the studio with the idea of just sort of to turn the tv off and block out the noise and take all the energy that I had going into the tour that got postponed,” said Ament.

The result was almost 70 songs written after four months. That was pared down to 12 cuts, including, “I Hear Ya.”

“I wrote that song as a mantra to sort of to keep listening to the friends and family that you have that might have different political views or might have a different world view than you,” said Ament.

The new album also features original artwork by Ament, another passion fueled during the lockdown. “For six to eight hours a day I was either making music or I was painting, and those things became very fluid with one another,” said Ament. “All of a sudden a painting I was doing, it might have some little verbiage on it that would turn into a song or there would be a song about somebody or something and that would turn into a portrait of my friend.”

In this edition of the McGonigal's Chronicles podcast, Ament talks about growing up in Big Sandy, his building of skate parks across Montana, and 30 years with Pearl Jam.

“I Should Be Outside” was released on August 10th, and is available in digital, vinyl, and streaming formats.

The "McGonigal’s Chronicles: Making Montana Connections" podcast is available on, iTunes, Spotify, Google, and Stitcher.

Previous guests include:

  • Sarah Calhoun, creator of the Red Ants Pants Music Festival
  • Jamie Ford, Great Falls-based NYT best-selling author
  • Nada Bakos, former CIA operative
  • John Cameron, retired Great Falls police detective
  • Dava Newman, former deputy administrator of NASA

Scan the QR code below with your phone's photo app to visit the McGonigal's Chronicles podcast page: