Eddie Vedder

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Eddie Vedder (born Edward Louis Severson III; December 23, 1964) is an American musician and singer-songwriter, who is best known for being the lead singer and one of three guitarists of the alternative rock band Pearl Jam.


  • You kill yourself and you make a big old sacrifice and try to get your revenge. That all you're gonna end up with is a paragraph in a newspaper. In the end, it does nothing. Nothing changes. The world goes on and you're gone. The best revenge is to live on and prove yourself.
    • This quote was taken from the Synergy's Echoes page ( December, 1991 Houston, Texas, KLOL FM Echoes of Exposure with David Sadoff ).
  • Well, maybe it was just that I wasn't going to like anybody because I had to work and I had to explain to my teachers why I wasn't keeping up. I'd fall asleep and things in class and they'd lecture me about the reality of their classroom. I said, 'You want to see my reality?' I opened up my backpack to where you usually keep your pencils. That's where I kept my bills... electric bills, rent... That was my reality.
    • L.A. Times 5/1/94, "He Didn't Ask for All This".
  • There is a thing that happens when you are not as privileged and you start hanging out with a seedier crowd because you can afford to do the same things, [...] And all of a sudden the big night out is sitting in somebody's trailer, smoking something or getting hold of something to put up to your nose.
    • L.A. Times 5/1/94, "He Didn't Ask for All This".
  • I am not a good enough writer to have an agenda or come up with a message and try to put it into a song, [...] It's more like you write what comes to you... You try to reflect the mood of the songs. Take 'Rearviewmirror', we start off with the music and it kinds of propels the lyrics. It made me feel like I was in a car, leaving something, a bad situation. There's an emotion there. I remembered all the times I wanted to leave...
    • L.A. Times 5/1/94, "He Didn't Ask for All This".
  • You know, [his voice trembling, hoarse, no more than a whisper] I always thought I'd go first. I don't know why I thought that. It just seemed like I would. I mean, I didn't know him on a daily basis -- far from it. But, in a way, I don't even feel right being here without him. It's so difficult to really believe he's gone. I still talk about him like he's still here, you know. I can't figure it out. It doesn't make any sense. I remember when he got sick in Rome -- I didn't realize then that it was actually a suicide attempt -- I was in Seattle. I went out to grab something to eat and I saw the headlines. That he was in a coma. I just freaked out, man. I went home and made some phone calls, tried to find out what the fuck was going on. Then I started pacing the house and started to cry. I just kept saying, 'Don't go, man, just don't fuckin' go... just don't go.' I kept thinking, 'If he goes, I'm fucked.' You know, all these people man, all lining up to say that his death was so fucking inevitable... well, if it was inevitable for him, it's gonna be inevitable for me, too, if this continues. That's why this could be our last show in fuckin' forever as far as I'm concerned. Kurt's death has changed everything. I don't know if I can do it any more. See, people like him and me, we can't be real. It's a contradiction. We can't be these people who just write these real songs. We have to live up to the expectations of a million people. And we can't do that. And then there's a cynical fuckin' media on top of that. Fuck that, fuck 'em. All along the line, they question your fuckin' honesty. No matter what you say, no matter what you do, they think it's an angle. They think it's all a fuckin' game. Because that's all they're used to. That's what they think it is, a fuckin' game. They don't know what's real and what isn't. And when someone comes along who's trying to be real, they don't know the fuckin' difference. So if you say, 'No, I'm not playing your fuckin' game. I want out... I'm not doing this, I'm not doing that...,' they still think you're part of it. They just can't accept that you don't want to be part of it, that you were never part of it. They just think it's an angle. Some kind of fuckin' angle. And that makes it so hard for somebody who's just trying to be honest. So fuck it. And another thing, we never talked about this but it's like you were saying although we were very different people, there was probably a lot we had in common. We had similar backgrounds, yeah, things that happened with our families and shit... I think that's something that comes out in what we wrote in our songs, definitely. It is kinda similar sometimes. But what makes it more similar is the way people responded to what we wrote and sang about, the intense identification. And I think it was maybe a shock to both of us that so many people were going through the same things. I mean, they understood so completely what we were talking about. And this was shit we thought only he and I were ever gonna have to deal with. Because we kinda wrote these songs for ourselves really. Then all of a sudden, there's all these other people who connect with them and you're suddenly the spokesman for a fuckin' generation. Can you imagine that! A... spokesman... for a... generation.
    • about Kurt Cobain’s death, May 21, 1994, Melody Maker.
  • There was a lot of stuff that got said, but none of it really matters. And I like to think he may have had second thoughts about some of the things he said, you know... I mean there's a person we both knew, who told me that Kurt asked about me a lot, like picked their brains about me, this person who knew us both. And I thought that was cool. That made me feel good, you know. Because so much bullshit was getting written about us. And we talked, we talked a couple of times. And this one time, he told me flat-out, just delivered me a whole paragraph on the respect he had for what I did, and he realized it was pure. This was at the MTV Awards. 'Tears in Heaven' was playing in the background, we were slow dancing. I remember going out surfing the next morning and remembering how good that moment felt and thinking, 'Fuck, man, if only we hadn't been so afraid of each other...' Because we were going through so much of the same shit. If only we'd talked, maybe we could have helped each other.
  • Allan Jones: When Kurt went into a coma in Rome, a local Seattle magazine, a small-circulation coffee house rag, carried an article with the headline: "WHY COULDN'T IT HAVE BEEN EDDIE VEDDER?" This was exactly what Courtney Love had told Select magazine, I tell Eddie. He looks absolutely stunned. "Oh," he says, the wind gone out of him, utterly deflated. "That's nice. That's really nice. That makes me feel really good. I wonder why she didn't mention that when I phoned her last night and offered her any help or support I could give her... I really don't know any of these people. I don't know Courtney, I'd never talked to her before. But someone said I should call her and I thought maybe I should. I mean, all this shit that comes up and all this bullshit that flies back and forth in the press that gets italicized and trumped up to make it a bigger deal than it really is, when all that's said and done, there's feelings I have for those people. And the ones that are alive, I need to let them know how I feel.
  • May 21, 1994, Melody Maker.
  • I tell you, man, when our first record came out, I was shocked how many people related to some of that stuff. Something like 'Alive,' so many people dealt with death through that song. Like people dealt with the death of love through 'Black' and so many people dealt with suicide through 'Jeremy.' The kind of letters that got through to me about those songs, some of them were just frightening. It's just so fuckin' weird. You write about this shit, and you're suddenly the spokesman for a fuckin' generation," he laughs, and it's a bitter, scary laugh, nothing funny about it at all. "Think about it, man," he says. "Any generation that would pick Kurt [Cobain] or me as its spokesman -- that must be a pretty fucked up generation, don't you think? I mean, that generation must be really fucked up, man, really fuckin' fucked up..."

  • Let me be as weird as I fuckin' like. It's my fuckin' life.
    • May 21, 1994, Melody Maker.
  • Vedder has a variety of comments about God and/or belief, at one point he was saying, "When you're out in the desert, you can't believe the amount of stars. We've sent mechanisms out there, and they haven't found anything. They've found different colours of sand, and rings, and gasses, but nobody's shown me anything that makes me feel secure in what happens afterwards. All I really believe in is this moment, like right now."
    • Rolling Stone, Oct 31 1991, "Right Here, Right Now".
  • JG: Can I ask what your feelings are about God?
    EV: Sure. I think it's like a movie that was way too popular. It's a story that's been told too many times and just doesn't mean anything. Man lived on the planet -- [placing his fingers an inch apart], this is 5000 years of semi-recorded history. And God and the Bible, that came in somewhere around the middle, maybe 2000. This is the last 2000, this is what we're about to celebrate [indicating about an 1/8th of an inch with his fingers]. Now, humans, in some shape or form, have been on the earth for three million years [pointing across the room to indicate the distance]. So, all this time, from there [gesturing toward the other side of the room], to here [indicating the 1/8th of an inch], there was no God, there was no story, there was no myth and people lived on this planet and they wandered and they gathered and they did all these things. The planet was never threatened. How did they survive for all this time without this belief in God? I'd like to ask this to someone who knows about Christianity and maybe you do. That just seems funny to me... (sic) Funny strange. Funny bad. Funny frown. Not good. That laws are made and wars occur because of this story that was written, again, in this small part of time.
    • March 23, 1998, Janeane Garofalo interviewing Eddie Vedder for CMJ New Music Report at Brendan's, on the Lower East Side.
  • "Later he tried to keep a straight face as he mockingly confessed: 'While we were away, I found God.' He rambled on about the Bible before concluding, 'We found God. He was right in our stomachs...'"
    (The rambling had to do with finding a Bible in every hotel room, "Every hotel has Holy Bibles.")
    • July 23, 1998 Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page C3.
  • I really like Chris [Cornell]'s records and I think he's the best singer that we've got on the planet. I first met Chris when I moved to Seattle, and we started hanging around. I didn't know what musicians did with their life, and I quickly realized that what he did on a Friday night was to get a 12-pack of shitty beer and chase his dog around on the mud for four hours in the forest. That was about an exciting an epiphany as I had! I haven't seen him in town for a while, but I have taken over the whole dog-chasing practice – me and my Hawaiian mutt. The beer's gotten slightly better too.
  • It was during that same week that I was up there [In Seattle rehearsing with Pearl Jam]. Day four maybe, or day five, they did a Temple [of the Dog] rehearsal after our afternoon rehearsal. I got to watch these songs, and watch how Chris [Cornell] was working, and watch Matt [Cameron] play drums. It got to "Hunger Strike" - I was sitting in the corner, putting duck tape on a little African drum. About two-thirds of the way though, he was having to cut off the one line, and start the other. I'm not now, and certainly wasn't then, self-assured or cocky, but I could hear what he was trying to do, so I walked up to the mic - which I'm really surprised I did - and sang the other part, "Going hungry, going hungry." The next time I was up, he asked if I'd record it - so it was just me and Chris in the same studio that we made [1991's] Ten record. I really like hearing that song. I feel like I could be real proud of it - because one, I didn't write it, and two, it was such a nice way to be ushered onto vinyl for the first time. I'm indebted to Chris time eternal for being invited onto that track.
  • One of the first people I met outside of the group [Pearl Jam] was this next human and I had no idea how he would affect my life and my views on music and my views on friendship and what a big impact he would have. These guys [the other members of Pearl Jam] know him much longer than me and his impact is profound. I'd like to introduce with great pleasure my old neighbor, Chris Cornell.
    • Eddie Vedder introducing Cornell during a Pearl Jam concert on September 4, 2011

PEARL JAM Chris Cornell *Hunger Strike* PJ20 night 2 @ Alpine Valley Temple of the Dog 9/4/2011. YouTube (5 September 2011).

  • Sometimes it's hard to concentrate these days. I was thinking about the history of this building [Eventim Apollo] and the Bowie history. So I started to think about that and my mind began to wander. It's not a good...So I haven't really been talking about some things and I kind of... now it feels like it's conspicuous because I lost a really close friend of mine, somebody who...I'll say this too, I grew up as 4 boys, 4 brothers, and I lost my brother 2 years ago tragically like that in an accident and after that and losing a few other people, I'm not good at it, meaning I'm not...I have not been willing to accept the reality and that's just how I'm dealing with it (applause starts). No, no, no, no. So I want to be there for the family, be there for the community, be there for my brothers in my band, certainly the brothers in his band. But these things will take time but my friend is going to be gone forever and I will just have to...These things take time and I just want to send this out to everyone who was affected by it and they all back home and here appreciate it so deeply the support and the good thoughts of a man who was a... you know he wasn't just a friend he was someone I looked up to like my older brother. About two days after the news, I think it was the second night we were sleeping in this little cabin near the water, a place he would've loved. And all these memories started coming in about 1:30am like woke me up. Like big memories, memories I would think about all the time. Like the memories were big muscles. And then I couldn't stop the memories. And trying to sleep it was like if the neighbors had the music playing and you couldn't stop it. But then it was fine because then it got into little memories. It just kept going and going and going. And I realized how lucky I was to have hours worth of...you know if each of these memories was quick and I had hours of them. How fortunate was I?! And I didn't want to be sad, wanted to be grateful not sad. I'm still thinking about those memories and I will live with these memories in my heart and I will...love him forever.
    • Talking about Chris Cornell for the first time since his death during a concert in London on June 6, 2017.

Read Eddie Vedder's Moving Tribute to 'Older Brother' Chris Cornell. Rolling Stone (7 June 2017).

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