Edward Louis Severson III, better known as Eddie Vedder, is the vocalist of the american rock band Pearl Jam. Ed, as how he is referred by friends, is also known for a powerful, soft and angry voice, a particular personality and considered to be one of the greatest influences of the 90's.
Since a young person, Eddie has dealt with many phases on his life, specially when he was a teenager, involving his parents. Feeling alone, he discovered his salvation on music and, after discovering the truth about his father, started his life on his own, working on several jobs to support himself.
Eddie has always been a lover of art, and spent his free time recording music. On the 80's, Vedder already had a band, but after leaving it, would soon be contacted by the members of the band he would join at the eve of the 1990 decade, and become part of Pearl Jam. Since that time, he also had worked on few but successful solo career.
Eddie was born on December 23, 1964 as Edward Louis Severson III in Evanston, Illinois. His parents were Karen Lee Vedder and Edward Louis Severson Jr., but since both divorced in 1965 and she married Peter Mueller some time after the separation, Eddie has grown believing Mueller was his true father. Considering this, Eddie was known as Edward Mueller and he also had three step-brothers.
In the decade of 1970, Vedder and his family moved to San Diego, California, the place where Eddie would grow and his life would completely change. At this time, Eddie started his love with surf, and also had his first contact with music, from a guitar he recieved from Karen on his 12th birthday, in 1976. At this point, the world of rock was being dominated by the classical bands Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Who and the beggining of bands like Kiss and Queen. Eddie, who at the time felt loneliness, enjoyed music specially from The Who, his greatest influence, and surfing.
In his late teens, his mother, Karen, once again divorced, and her marriage with Mueller was no more. Despite this fact, Eddie stood with Mueller in
California to not cause him damage on school changes, while his mother and brothers moved back to Chicago. At some point, Vedder discovered that Peter Mueller was not his father, and his progenitor was someone he met when he was very young, but was presented as a friend of the family. By that time, Edward Louis Severson Jr. was already dead, what become a big anxiety to Eddie, since he always missed the truth and now that he knew, he could not access it. This would influence him a long time on his life.
At his senior years, Eddie was on his own and had to support himself. He had a job in a drug store, but had to drop out of high school due working. He then went back to Chicago, where he changed his name to Eddie Vedder, his mother's maiden name, just for then in 1984 go back to San Diego. Until that time he also worked as a waiter.
Already in San Diego, Vedder worked as a security guard in a hotel, and on his free time, recorded music and also surfed. In 1988, Eddie would be the vocalist of Bad Radio, a popular live band who was influenced by Duran Duran and then Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Vedder would soon leave the band and for the rest of 1990 work as a night attendant on a gas station.
During 1990 in Seattle, Mother Love Bone ended after the premature death of vocalist Andy Wood due to drug abuse. After some months, Stone Gossard joined Mike McCready, who would also remember the first of inviting his old friend and former Mother Love Bone comrade, Jeff Ament . The trio needed a vocalist and a drummer for the band they were planning to form.
In San Diego, Eddie worked in a gas station and kept his habit of recording music. He also played basketball and become friend of former Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Jack Irons. Jack was connected with the trio from Seattle, who gave him a record of them to distribute and find a vocalist, and also being invited as drummer. Irons, who didn't want at the time to join the band project, told Eddie about the trio needing a vocalist. Eddie took the Seattle three record, and after hearing and liking their sound, he sent his own record, with lyrics he wrote after surfing. This tape was known as Momma-song, a compilation of three songs that completed a fictional story, based on little facts from Eddie's particular life, of a person who discovered his true father was dead, while he spent most of his life thinking his stepfather was his true progenitor. After an episode of incest, since the mother of the character saw her first husband on her kid, he goes mad and becomes a serial killer. In the end, he pays for his crimes being imprisioned and senteced to death.
Even though the story told on the music was interesting, the aspect that most ashtonished the trio from Seattle was Eddie's incredible voice. His soft but very powerful vocals also amazed Chris Cornell, who become interested on the new guy's talent. Stone, Jeff and Mike invited Eddie to Seattle, and one week later, he was already in the band.
Temple of DogEdit
Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden, still had a project of forming a temporary band in the memory of Andy Wood, whose death also shocked Chris, being "the loss of inocence" of his. Eddie was a shy, introvert and peaceful young man, and quickly became well accepted in the group, but his introspective behavior made some members, as Stone Gossard, take some time to understand him.
The band that would be a tribute to Andy, called Temple of Dog, included Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron, both from Soundgarden, two Mother Love Bone members, Stone and Jeff, their new guitarist, Mike McReady, and also Eddie. This oportunity was not only a chance of singing and recording, but also was a way of freeing Eddie's being from his shyness. Even though Chris is known for his wide, strong and loud voice, Vedder also showed incredible talent and once again surprised his comrades. From now on, Eddie also become very close to Chris, a friendship that would endure until Cornell's 2017 Death. Through Chris, Eddie became more mingled with the group, and also had contacts with the rest of Soundgarden members, and more than ever connecting the growing band with Chris'. Eddie's new band would be known as Mookie Blaylock.
Early years of Pearl Jam (1991-1992): Rise to successEditAs being described to himself, Eddie was a new kid in town and he would be like this for a while. Mookie Blaylock would eventually become Pearl Jam. After the recording of Ten, Pearl Jam skyrocketed to fame. Eddie's voice was, of course, something that put him on the same point as reference of a singer coming from a band of Seattle, just like Chris Cornell, Layne Staley and Kurt Cobain. The explosion from Ten was felt most in 1992, and the shy and introspective Eddie claimed to felt uncomfortable with the growing responsibility.
The year of 1993 can be considered the last of Eddie being considered naive on his music, and his expositure of personal visions and transparency led fans and industry to put him in a pedestal that he didn't want to be. This responsibility for other's life was something he couldn't deal, and even he got a lot amazed with lots of people on show, like in Pinkpop in 1992, it was a burden he didn't want to carry, since he was a simple young man who wanted to do his art. The fans provided some special role on this negative fame, but nothing could deal what music industry would represent for the band.
FameEditDuring 1994, the band was so famous and well acclaimed that this external fact changed the lead inside the group. The leadership of the band always hovered above Stone and Jeff, but Eddie's personality has conquered the public and all of the attention came to him. His presence has grown so far that "Pearl Jam" and "Eddie Vedder" became different words with almost the same meaning. Eddie feelings started to become much more clear in the lyrics and his music was an extension of them, also a way to escape and tell what was going on inside his mind. The new kid in town who was shy, introvert, pacific and naive had kept his introvert essence, but had become more angry, in a darker personality and also stopped his adventures scaling the structures of the shows. Also, he was not always in good mood when the media wanted to talk to him, so Eddie started an escapism.
During No Code times, Eddie admited on Single Video Theory that he wanted to become unpersonal because of the stalker problems. One of those that was really absurd was when a woman drove her car into his house, but the property's wall prevented major damages. He said "So, you wonder what happened or how did it mutate into this kind of situation?". Besides, Eddie could have control over his music, something that he always wanted but at the cost of high circustances.
Eddie tried, as possible he could, to blend into the crowd. Unfortunately, for him, he had become a famous and an icon of youth, and the decade of 1990 was the time when young bands from Seattle emerged to success. Neil Young was a reference at this time, because in 1995 he toured with Pearl Jam. Eddie found on Neil an example and also an inspiration, and inside the tour he was not considered the same meaning of Pearl Jam, but just the vocalist of the band, something that he wanted to feel once again.
On the next four years, Eddie has developed the personality that has grown but at some point it also left some damage for the band. During the return to wide show presentations and ease on the boycott to Ticketmaster, some of Eddie's actions led the band to a short break to release themselves of the stress.
During and post Roskilde, 2000Edit
On the annual danish Roskilde Festival, nine fans died in the crowd due the quantity of people arriving and already on the audience. This was a shock to all band members, and Eddie, who cried onstage, decided to never play again on festivals. The band had to rethink everything they had done until the time, and Eddie was much more mature than ever. Even in 2000, their shows were not so enthusiastics and the band was facing a neutral time. But at this point, it was harder to put "Pearl Jam" and "Eddie Vedder" on the same meaning, and since they were little forgotten, they, finally, could be understood as an unity. Pearl Jam's struggle with fame had become little when they faced the fragility of life.Eddie describes that in 2000 was born The Birth of "What", since The Birth of "No" happened on Vitalogy times. The question, on Eddie own words was "What are we doing? What do we do to assist the families? And what have we become and what do we do to survive?". Eddie went into a more sentimental, social-realistic, equalitarian and political themes then ever. At this time, all of their politic view on the world they've always shown during their whole career was being propelled by a common feeling inside the band, and of course hovering above Eddie, who was the voice that told all of those things. This events, specially love, individualism and political changes inspired them on Riot Act and Pearl Jam, true extensions of a raw project that was already being developed in Binaural, but Roskilde advanced everything.
In 2006, Eddie starred a comic but significative event. Rolling Stone Magazine, after years of the band boycott to the mainstream musical industry, showed
interest on putting Pearl Jam on cover. The magazine wanted to approach the "return of Eddie Vedder & Pearl Jam return from exile". According to Eddie in June 24, 2006 in a show in Cincinnati, it was concerted that the cover would be a photo of all members of the band. The picture was also taken with all members of the band, but when the magazined was published, only Eddie was on cover. On this show, Eddie used a copy of the magazine to wipe his ass, because, according to him "it was offensive because they asked us again if it would be okay to put the singer guy on the cover, and we said 'no, fuck you, we're a band, we've been a band for almost sixteen years. If you are gonna put a band on the cover, it should be our band who survived plenty."
Backspacer and lifeEdit
During the years that gave context to the development of Backspacer, Eddie had some time to solo work. Also, all the politic and sentimental background around the band's life has grown into a more positive, hopeful and realistic view of life. The times around Backspacer are background to a mature Eddie, who is more than ever a man of his family and for sure tries to build a better way to live not only for him or his band, but now to his family.
Into the WildEditIn 2007, actor and friend of Eddie Vedder, Sean Penn directed a film called Into the Wild, a movie about escapism, living life at its best, simplicity, survival and living real experiences. For this movie, Eddie contributed with a namesake album with eleven songs that also approached the themes of the movie in a folk style. In this album, Vedder also covered two songs, "Hard Sun" and "Society," originally written by Indio and Jerry Hannan respectively. The album was well recieved and Eddie won a Golden Globe Award for Guaranteed in 2008, a song that also was nominated for Grammy Awards in the same year for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media and World Soundtrack Award for Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film. In 2009, Rise was nominated for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Solo in 2009's Grammy.
On May 31, 2011, Ukulele Songs was released, a compilation of songs by Vedder, that he played on his ukulele. Themes of loneliness and living simply, pervaded the Into the Wild and also love themes are in the album, following all the philosophy that was recorded in Backspacer.
PersonalityEditDuring his early years in Pearl Jam, Eddie was a shy, introverted pacifist, and an overall sensitive person. Always quiet, but polite, Vedder was an inspirational character and was easily friends with other Seattle singers, such as Chris Cornell with whom he sang on a Temple of the Dog song. Even though it was his standard behavior, Vedder's lyrics have always described social confines, personal decisions and critical themes, so his actions did not always match his outward personality. During a tour in Vancouver when then-named Mookie Blaylock opened a show for Alice in Chains in January 11, 1991, a security guard began treating a drunken young man in the audience with excessive force. The guard was being overly aggressive with the young man and the audience.Eddie watched the violence and became angry with the misuse of power. While singing Breath, Vedder unleashed his inner rage --- angry, intense and uncontrollable. This persona escaped into the concerts, with intense screaming, along with scaling the stage and rafters among other items. In the 1992 and 1993 shows, Eddie climbed many different kinds of heights, such as wires, metal structures, speakers, camera cranes, sliding down numerous times with no professional equipment. After the climb, he dangled his body from wires and swung on them, then climbed higher before jumping into the mosh pit, crowd surfing.Stone stated that it would be more than he could handle after Andy Wood's death, if Eddie died in one of those stunts. Mike knew that Eddie's death would be the end of the band. As for Eddie himself, he recalls the antics as funny memories that connected him with the energy of the crowd. The burgeoning success precipitated Eddie's introversion, so he stopped scaling the stages. Also, Pearl Jam stopped doing videos and some interviews, to preserve their personalities inside music, but growing some kind of exile too. Even the long-haired Eddie has become in a different style, on his clothes and even when talking. Vedder clearly showed no love for the music industry, except while recording. While some feel that Vedder's voice peaked between 1991 and 1992, in some shows Eddie complained in some instances of being very tired. As a result of his agitation and motion, he was getting weary too quickly, especially while singing songs like "Black." In 1992, during the Magnuson Park concert, Eddie said that they stopped playing "Black" for a while because it was excessively taxing to sing. However, after 1992, Eddie learned more singing techniques for longevity, so he could wail louder and vocalize such tenuous songs such as "Black" with less fatigue. In many songs, Vedder seemed to release his inner demons with extensive screams, thus improving his talent.
With shorter hair than usual, between 1996 and 1998, Eddie used a new singing style, but with the same personality. Still a quiet but intense person, he never gave up his political views, with which a vision that the whole band shared. Known for strong and left/liberal positions, Eddie has been an atheist and approached this theme in many songs.
After the Roskilde tragedy, Pearl Jam's vocalist became more interactive than ever with the audience, and worried much more about life and politics. Along with all other band members, Vedder wanted to do a more unpredictable show, and kept strengthening as a political influence. In 2002, Eddie appeared with a Mohawk, which was reminiscent to his Bad Radio days. Following that, he adopted his now-standard appearance with longer hair and a beard.
Even today, Eddie continues performing with interactive concerts, with personalized set lists (except for some song staples), and bidding the audience to sing, along with visiting in the aisles at times. Also, Vedder drinks wine and at times, shares with fans nearest the stage. Often, he expresses his experience with the city or country, at times attempts to speak the language of the country. Often, he inspects the audience to see the fans' song requests. Even though Eddie stopped climbing and jumping in the crowd in 1992, his showmanship increased in a way that maintains and creates new fans.