The chance encounters of everyday life shape us in more ways than we can imagine. From them spring unexpected opportunities, exciting new directions, burgeoning friendships and, quite often, great music.
Such as is the case with "Acts," the debut album from RNDM, featuring Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, songwriter Joseph Arthur and drummer Richard Stuverud. As the project's moniker alludes to, Ament and Arthur met randomly on a June evening in 1999, when Arthur opened a show at the late, great New York club Wetlands on a bill headlined by Ament and Stuverud's side project Three Fish. At the time, Arthur was drawing acclaim for his solo performances, which employed a looping pedal that made the artist sound as if he was being backed by a full band.
The pair stayed in touch via email over the ensuing years, and reconnected in 2010 after Arthur played a KEXP-sponsored lunchtime gig in Seattle. Ament extended Arthur an invitation to come to his Montana home to jam, but before they could make plans, a song emerged unexpectedly.
Which brings us to "Acts," and the jam session that would eventually birth it. Says Ament, "After PJ 20, Joe told me he'd never really been able to write up-tempo songs, and I said, 'I have a slew of them. Let's get together and make an up-tempo record.'" Thus, in April of this year, Arthur finally joined Ament and Stuverud in Montana thinking he'd just be singing over the top of instrumental tracks that had already been completed.
With "Acts" now ready for release, RNDM is preparing to hit the road for its first tour, while still savoring the rush of creativity that birthed the album. "It felt like those first bands you're in, where the first few weeks you ate and slept and breathed the music that you were working on," Ament says. "All you did was hum those songs until you got to the next practice. I was completely open to whatever was going to happen, and I know Joseph was too."