The Pearl Jam frontman addressed the various instances of grief he’s experienced, including when nine fans were killed in a stage crush during his band’s 2000 Roskilde Festival set.
Speaking to Lily for her Mind Wide Open video series on IGTV, Vedder said the support of other musicians helped him to cope with the Roskilde incident. He also acknowledged that the “dark lyrics” of her late father’s material – ass was the case with many ’90s grunge acts – was “probably a healthy thing for everybody” because it kindled crucial conversations about mental health.
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Vedder credited The Who‘s Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey for helping him get through the tragedy at Roskilde, since The Who had experienced a similar tragey in Cincinnati when a crush of people led to 11 people dying in 1979.
“There I was in a fetal position, basically, and Pete said, ‘You can handle this,’ and I said, ‘I can’t. I don’t know, Pete, I don’t think I can. I’m losing it.’ And he said, ‘No, you can handle this…’ He empowered me to get my shit together” [quotes via Consequence Of Sound].
Vedder went on to discuss Chris, who died from suicide in 2017. “Your dad… obviously he had the music, and those are some dark lyrics, Kurt [Cobain’s – Nirvana] lyrics, those were some dark lyrics, Layne [Staley’s – Alice In Chains] lyrics, those were some dark lyrics… and these weren’t people going, ‘I’m gonna pretend to write a dark song.’ It was real for everybody.”
He continued, “And then it became kind of like, make fun of the dour grunge groups, and I think people took it personally, because they were like, ‘Yeah, we ain’t fucking around.’”
Vedder also compared grunge’s appeal to that of one of today’s music superstars: Billie Eilish.
“Billie Eilish has a lot of people listening to her… I remember our first record, there’s some sad shit on there, and I’m thinking, ‘Well, this is kind of depressing that tens of millions of people are relating to this.’ But again, it was probably a healthy thing for everybody.”
The band kicked-off their 2018 North American tour at Safeco Field in Seattle on August 8, 2018. It was the first of two sold-out performances billed as ‘The Home Shows’ where the hometown crowd were treated to a 33-song setlist which included rarities, covers of songs by The Beatles and The White Stripes, and a guest appearance from Brandi Carlile.