Pilate

Songfacts®:

  • This was written by bassist Jeff Ament. Ament had already written the music for other Pearl Jam songs (including "Jeremy"), but this song, along with "Low Light," marked the first time he also penned the lyrics.
  • The lyrics were inspired by Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita, which was also an influence on the Rolling Stones song "Sympathy For The Devil." At one point in the novel Pontius Pilate lives alone on a mountain, with only his dog as companion: "Like Pilate I have a dog. Obeys, Listen, Kisses, Loves."
  • Jeff Ament (from Guitar World, March 1998): "I just read that book, and at the end they talk about Pontius Pilate being all alone on a mountain with his dog. He couldn't sleep and he couldn't function. It really struck me hard, because at that point I was feeling very alone. I've always had this recurring dream about being old and just me and my dog sitting on the porch. It wasn't necessarily a sad dream or a premonition, but it did get me to thinking about why Pilate was so alone and freaked out. Then I realized he didn't get to finish his conversation with Jesus - that's why he can't function, because he didn't tie up the loose ends in his life." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Martin - Rostock, Germany

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