Pearl Jam On Losing Irons, Gaining Cameron

Pearl Jam's newest offering, "Nothing As It Seems," is continuing to climb the singles chart, setting the stage for the release of the band's seventh album, "Binaural," due in stores on May 16.

One of the principal differences between "Binaural" and Pearl Jam's last studio effort, 1998's "Yield," is the presence of former Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron, who took over the drum duties from Jack Irons prior to the "Yield" tour and appeared on the subsequent "Live On Two Legs" LP.

Cameron becomes Pearl Jam's fourth drummer -- after Dave Krusen (who played on "Ten"), Dave Abbruzzese ("Vs.," "Vitalogy") and Irons ("No Code" "Yield") -- and even got into the writing fray by co-penning one of the "Binaural" tracks, titled "Evacuation."

Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard recently spoke with MTV News' John Norris about the new album, and they both addressed the changeover in drummers from Irons to Cameron.

"I think Jack was really excited to make music and be in the studio," Ament said, "and he was amazing at that. If you brought in a song and kind of explained to him what you were going for, he was meticulous about finding the right drums and playing the right part, and he worked really hard.

"I think he wrote some of the most incredible drum parts for songs, in rock music anyway. When it came to playing shows and being out on the road for more than a couple of weeks, he had a really hard time being excited about that and focusing on that.

"He's an incredibly sensitive guy," Ament continued, "and I think all the energy flying around and stuff was really hard for him [while] trying to raise a family." [RealVideo]

"He's a

really loving guy and a real team player," Gossard added, "and he really wanted everybody to get along and made sure that everyone was included and was supportive of people within the band when they had ideas, or whatever it was.

"But he has a delicate personality, and like Jeff said, he's sensitive, and being on the road for four months a year was just something he felt like he couldn't do.

"We lucked out and now get to play with Matt Cameron," Gossard said, "who was the guy who played on our very first set of demos that we ever made to find a singer and a drummer. So, again, it's a good friend and somebody we're really familiar with and [is] and incredible drummer." [RealVideo]

Next week, Pearl Jam will play a pair of club dates, slated for May 10 in Bellingham,

Washington, and on May 11 in Vancouver, British Columbia, prior to the launch of a European tour on May 23.

The band kicks off its Stateside run on August 3 in Virginia Beach, Virginia (see "Pearl Jam Talks 'Nothing As It Seems,' Firms Up Tour").