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 dealed 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 today. 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, Sean Penn directed a film called Into the Wild, a movie about escapism, living life at its best, simplicity, survivial and living 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. On this album, Vedder also covered two songs, Hard Sun and Society, originally written by Indio and Jerry Hannan.
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 Eddie that were played on his ukulele. Themes of loneliness,the simplicity that was present on Into the Wild and a big presence of love themes are in the album, following all the philosophy that was recorded in Backspacer.
PersonalityEditDuring his early years in Pearl Jam, Eddie has been a shy, introvert, pacific and sensitive person. Always very quiet, but also polite, Vedder was an inspirational character and was quite easy to put him inside their friendship circle, specially after hanging out with Chris Cornell. Even though those were his standard actions, his lyrics has always approach social, personal and critic themes, and that actions not always matched his outside personality. During a tour in Vancouver where Mookie Blaylock opened a show for Alice in Chains in January 11, 1991, a security guard was treating someone in the audience with excessive use of force. The young man was drunk but they were being overly aggressive with the audience, and Eddie was watching everything and getting angry with the abuse of power. While singing Breath, Vedder unleashed his inner side --- angry, intense and uncontrollable. This person within would show up in all shows, with loud and intense screams, movements, words and actions specially while climbing the stage. About climbing on stages, Eddie has done it numerous times during 1991 and 1992, and has scaled different kinds of heights with no professional equipment. Climbing on wires, metal structures, speakers, camera cranes, sliding down wires and swinging on them, jumping on the crowd from heights and always getting higher. Stone stated that if he died in one of those attempts, and he could have died, it would be more than he could take since Andy Wood's death. For Mike, it would be the end of their career and for Eddie, himself, it's a funny memory that was the greatest form of contact with the energy of the public. The growing success has made Eddie become once again more introvert and he stopped scaling the stages. Also, they stopped doing videos and even some interviews, in a way preserving 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. More impatient, he clearly showed no time for the industry, except while recording.
While his voice was at a peak between 1991 and 1992, in some shows Eddie complained in some musics of being very tired. Due to his agitated actions and screams, he was getting weary too quickly, specially while singing songs like Black. In 1992, during the Magnuson Park concert, Eddie said that they stopped playing the song for a while cause it was very hard to sing. But after 1992, Eddie's voice mixed more technique, and he screamed louder and sang songs like Black with less fatigue. The development of songs with extensive screams also increased and this was on the context with Eddie improving his talent.
With shorter hair than usual, between 1996 and 1998 Eddie used a new style but the same personality. Still a quiet, pacific but intense person, never gave up about politic views, a vision that the whole band shared with him. Known for strong and left/liberal positions, Eddie has been an atheist and approached this theme in many songs. In the year of 2000, Eddie used a medium hair with discolored tips. At this time, he adopted a beard.
After the Roskilde tragedy, Pearl Jam's vocalist became more interactive than ever, and had much more worried views about life and politics. With all other members, wanted to do a more unpredictable show, and kept growing as more political influence. At 2002, Eddie appeared with a shorter hair close to Bad
Radio times, a style he developed after a uncommon mohawk. After that, discolored his whole hair and then, would adopt a standard appearance with long hair and beard.
Eddie kept the habit of interactive concerts, with random setlists (except for some songs), always drinking a bottle of wine, a speech on the language of the place, watching if fans request songs, letting the audience sing and many other ways to include the fans with the band. Even though Eddie stopped the climbing and jumping in the crowd in 1992, his personality changed in a way that kept his relationship with the audience intact.