Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard Recalls Neil Young’s ‘Liberating’ Advice On Songwriting

Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard recently sat down with Louder Sound and opened up about Neil Young’s ‘liberating’ advice on songwriters that are coming up in the scene. He explained:

“Plus the simplicity of his [Neil Young] chord changes is amazing. I’d have conversations with him where I’d say, ‘God Neil, I’m so excited, I love that new song where you’re just playing three chords’ and he’d go, ‘Yeah, you know lately I’ve been really into just two chords…'”

Stone went on to share the realization that he had about making art by adding:

“It’s like, ‘Wow! God!’ When I was in high school [Mudhoney guitarist] Steve Turner said to me, ‘Don’t learn to play your guitar, don’t figure it out, just get a band and do it’ and that was the most liberating thing I’d ever heard, I’d never in my life heard anyone talk about art that way.”

Gossard pointed out that when a musician like Neil says that it’s more than okay to use two chords to start making music, the mountain becomes a hill. He continued:

“So when Neil Young says you should concentrate on writing songs, but just use two chords, that’s incredibly liberating, it makes music sound like it’s for everyone, not this complicated, untouchable thing. Imagine if people knew that they could write a hit song after just learning a chord or two, imagine how freeing that would be.”

The rocker also praised Neil for the type of guy he is by saying:

“Neil’s as old as hell, but he’s like a kid in terms of how excited he is about music. He’s the ultimate, I don’t think anyone can touch him. And he’s a gentleman, definitely one of the good guys.”

You can read Stone Gossard’s interview with Louder Sound here.