Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard hopes that the upcoming soundtrack to
the film "Chicago Cab" is the album that finally puts his struggling
indie label on the map.
And he's not afraid to use his band's clout to do it.
In fact, the soundtrack, which was co-produced by Gossard, is something
of a PJ family reunion. It includes a previously released song from his
side project Brad ("Secret Girl") and a spacy, Doors-like instrumental
("Haloparidol") from ambient trio Hovercraft, which includes Beth
Vedder, PJ singer Eddie Vedder's wife.
"There was no trepidation at all about putting the Pearl Jam stuff on
there," said Gossard, 32, of the songs "Who You Are" (from the band's
1996 album, No Code) and the previously unreleased ballad "Hard
to Imagine," a song some fans have referred to as the Holy Grail of
unreleased PJ songs.
Though he has spent years playing guitar in the successful Seattle
quintet, Gossard also knows what it's like to struggle at his
profession. Gossard, along with Regan Hagar, his bandmate in Brad,
founded the 4-year-old, Seattle-based Loosegroove Records, which, after
years without a breakout album, is pinning its hopes on the
music contained on "Chicago Cab."
The soundtrack may be just the break his label has been waiting for. Due
out on Aug. 25, the film soundtrack for the movie about a night in the
life of a Chicago cabbie is being released by Chicago-born actor John
Cusack's production company, A Child's Will. The film -- based on the
Will Kern play "Hellcab," which opened in Chicago in the early '90s --
tells the story of an increasingly harried Christmas night in
the life of a Chicago cabbie.
The film stars actor Paul Dillon ("Austin Powers") as the frazzled hack
and features cameos from Cusack, "X-Files" actress Gillian Anderson,
Julianne Moore ("Short Cuts," "Boogie Nights") and former "Roseanne"
co-star Laurie Metcalf.
Gossard confesses he was searching for something unreleased from PJ to
give the album more weight, something that fit the vibe of the film.
Gossard said the choice of "Hard to Imagine," a brooding track recorded
during the 1991-92 sessions for the band's second album, Vs.
(1993), made sense because it was a song everyone in the band had always
liked, but one that had never really fit in on their subsequent albums.
"I like it even more now than when we recorded it," said Gossard of the
song the group played during their 1992 stint on Lollapalooza and then
effectively retired, making it a much sought-after rarity among some
"The idea that the band wanted to do it and [the parent company of Pearl
Jam's label, Epic Records] Sony allowed us to put it on there is great,"
Gossard said of the two PJ tracks. "It will help the record and the
label and maybe add a lot more potential visibility for some
of the bands on there."
Gossard said he was brought into the project more than a year ago when
two of the film's music supervisors contacted Vedder about using "Who
You Are" in the film. "Ed really liked the movie, and that song really
fits the mood of the scene it's in well," Gossard said. "It's in a scene
where the guy has reached the end of his rope and he's wandering around
aimlessly. It's pretty beautiful."
Gossard said that once the PJ songs were nailed down, finding other
bands to use was akin to making a mixed tape of his favorite groups. He
asked one of his favorite bands in the world, British rock trio
Supergrass, to submit a song, the psychedelic power-pop track "Don't Be
Cruel." Filling out his wish list was a previously released song, the
raucous "Radio City Suicide," from Memphis, Tenn., band The Grifters and
an unreleased track from heavy-metal punks Fu Manchu titled "Swami's
Although he didn't choose it, Gossard said he is awed by the gorgeous,
fuzzed-out song from Sparklehorse, "Hammering the Cramps."
"That's one of the reasons it was fun to do this," Gossard said. "It was
like making a mixed tape, because for the majority of soundtracks they
already have the music they want or the next #1 single they want to buy
to use on the trailer. A lot of times the music doesn't have a lot to do
with the movie, but because they didn't have all the music filled in
with this one, we got to go in and be involved in a real creative way."
One of the bands Gossard suggested for the project was Seattle
funk-instrumental duo the Hi Fi Killers, who've released two albums on
Loosegroove. "They liked the song we submitted originally," said
keyboardist/guitarist John Horn of the creepy instrumental "Pomona."
"But they wanted it to be scarier, so we spooked it up a hair."
Horn said his partner, Kevin Lee Oakland, had to do the remix while Horn
was out of town, but he said he's happy with the "hiding in the alley"
grooves that were added to the song by Oakland.
"We definitely admit to riding on Pearl Jam's coattails," Horn said. "We
want to go everywhere they go."