Daily Distraction: Read David Marchese's interview with Eddie Vedder

The NYT Magazine Q&A with the Pearl Jam frontman gets heavy

Joel Oliphint
Columbus Alive
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, shown in a file photo from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In general, I'm not a fan of the Q&A format for published interviews. I'm normally not interested in reading a reporter's questions; they rarely tell me much about anything. I want to read the answers from the subject — the person who is presumably interesting enough to merit the piece.

I also don't often want to read the entire answer, even from a relatively interesting person. I'd rather someone give me the most memorable quotes from that person, summarize the rest and tell me a good story. Spin me a yarn. (I also realize a good Q&A is usually edited for clarity and length, but even so, most conversations are just not that interesting.)

But, yes, this is a blog post recommending that you read a Q&A, because David Marchese is the glaring exception to all of my Q&A preferences. He's been doing Q&A pieces for years in various publications (I first encountered his work in the pages of SPIN back in the day), most recently in the weekly "Talk" column for the New York Times Magazine. Marchese puts in hours and hours of research in order to have extremely well-informed, funny, emotionally insightful conversations, often with celebrities who have been interviewed a million times before. Terry Gross : radio Q&A :: David Marchese : print Q&A.

Anyway, Marchese's newest interview is with Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, who has a new solo album coming out next week. This conversation, though, takes an emotional turn in the last third, when Marchese asks Vedder about new song “Brother the Cloud," which he interprets to be about the suicide of a friend, likely Chris Cornell. From there, Vedder turns the mic around and becomes the interviewer, and Marchese becomes the subject. 

One unintentionally funny moment comes when, after discussing suicide for a bit, Marchese tries to ask another question and opens with, "I don’t want to get too heavy." Too late, man. Too late.

Read the whole thing here.