King’s X was on tour supporting their breakout album Gretchen Goes to Nebraska, and Ament was captivated by King’s X’ frontman/bassist dUg Pinnick. The long-armed, lanky, left-handed black bass player with a mohawk was hard not to notice.
“I remember meeting Jeff in NYC,” Pinnick said. “He used to fly out to NYC to see us play. He was friends with some of the guys from Megaforce Records, the label we were signed to at the time. Jeff was still in Mother Love Bone at the time. I think they were working on their last CD just before Andrew died (Mother Love Bone frontman Andrew Wood).”
After Wood passed away, Ament went on to form Pearl Jam with fellow Mother Love Bone member Stone Goassrd. As Pearl Jam skyrocketed to fame, Ament kept in touch with Pinnick. He was even frequently seen wearing a King’s X Faith Hope Love concert shirt on stage. Later on in their friendship and careers, Ament asked King’s X to open several shows for Pearl Jam.
“That time period was really exciting, because Pearl Jam was just blowing up then; the shows were off the hook! Since I have known Pearl Jam even before they got singed, it was a blast playing, jamming, and touring with them as fans and friends,” Pinnick said.
With their careers doing well, the two bassist friends batted around the idea of recording some songs together. Unbeknownest to the bass players, the idea of an album would come later than sooner … much later. It wasn’t until 2001 when Ament and Pinnick started having “yearly writing sessions” in Ament’s home state of Montana. The duo brought in legendary Northwest drummer Richard Stuverud to join then. And in 2004, the trio brought in Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready to join the yet to be named band to help write and record.
But then, the project stalled out.
With Ament and McCready busy with Pearl Jam, Pinnick still churning out King’s X albums and Stuverud drumming in several different projects, schedules collided.
Yet, the long-term project may have been down, but it wasn’t out.
“I don’t think we ever thought about giving up on this project,” Pinnick said. “We just didn’t know when we would get it out. I was holding it up because I wanted to re-sing some of the songs and change some of the lyrics. Also either Pearl Jam or King’s X were on tour, so we couldnt coordinate our dates to get Tres Mts finished.”
Finally, in 2010, Tres Mts had 13 songs, and they were ready for mixing and mastering. The end of the record was in sight. After nine years, and seven after McCready joined the project on the second recording session, the Tres Mts debut Three Mountains has been through Pearl Jam’s own Monkeywrench Records.
“It feels good to get this record out there,” Pinnnick said. “I am so far from it now that I can see it for what it’s worth, since I never got to re-sing anything. I love it!”
One of the reasons Pinnick loved working on the record was because he got to play guitar instead of bass, as he normally does in King’s X. However, both Pinnick and Ament can both play bass, sing and play guitar, so who would be playing what for Tres Mts?
“I showed up with my Fender Sratocaster guitar at Jeff’s in Montana,” Pinnick said. “I guess I already had it in my mind what I was going to play. Actually, we never discussed this before hand. But of course I would be the lead singer, which was a no brainder…lol!”
With Pinnick on vocals and guitars, Ament on bass, Stuverud on drums and McCready adding more guitars, Tres Mts threw just about every genre of music on the table and went with it. The end result is a mixture of rock, pop, soul, funk and earthy tones blended together.
“Richard came up with the tribal drums and percussion for the songs; he is great at arranging songs and has a lot of ideas,” Pinnick said of the worldly feel of the Three Mountains. “He is such a pleasure to work with and has great ideas, plus he and Jeff do all the background vocals, which adds another great element to the songs.”
With all members happy with the overall outcome of the Tres Mts debut and a select few touring dates, including a television appearance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” Pinnick is hoping for the best that this “supergroup” isn’t just an on-off project.
“I hope we can do a full-blown tour first and foremost. Then there’s always the option to do another full-length record; let’s just hope it doesn’t take another 10 years.”