Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder recently discussed late Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley and late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell’s dark lyrics in an interview with Lily Cornell Silver on the ‘Mind Wide Open’ podcast. Alternative Nation transcribed Eddie and Lily’s remarks.
Vedder said, “Your dad and I talked about music or art as a place of release, or I think they call it homeostasis, where you can get to that level of feeling energized, or clear of mind. Your Dad and nature, obviously he had [his] music and those are some dark lyrics. Kurt [Cobain]’s lyrics, those were some dark lyrics. Layne [Staley]’s lyrics [too].
These weren’t people going, ‘I’m going to pretend to write a dark song.’ It was real for everybody. It became a thing to make fun of the dour grunge groups. I think people took it personally. They were like, ‘We weren’t fucking around.’ That’s probably why people liked it and seemed to need it. ‘This guy is speaking for me. I feel these things.'”
Lily added, “And there’s so much power in that vulnerability, and allowing others to connect with your own human experience.”
Eddie shot back, “Billie Eilish has a lot of people listen to her. I remember our first record, because there is some sad shit on there. [I remember thinking], ‘Wow, this kind of depressing that tens of millions of people are relating to this.’”
Lily told Eddie, “You didn’t necessarily want it to be that way.”
Eddie responded, “Who knew? It was probably a healthy thing for everybody. But going back to your Dad, he would pick me up at like 6AM. It was still dark out, and we’d go grab a quick breakfast, we’d drive out to the middle of fucking nowhere, and start walking into the middle of nowhere, some crazy rainforest, the Olympic Peninsula. I couldn’t even figure out how he knew where he was going.
I don’t think anybody else would know. You would have to be a trapper or something. Then he timed it perfect, we were out there for a long time. We went swimming in the coldest ice pools and we climbed these green mountains and then onto this rock mountain.
The rocks [started] crumbling. All of a sudden, we were both just like two Spiderman impersonators hanging onto the side of this thing, not being able to move. Just stuck and 50 feet above the fucking valley floor.
We just started laughing. They had just finished Badmotorfinger, one of my favorite records of all time by any group, and then our record. We just started laughing almost to tears. The situation was so ridiculous. Nobody knew where we were. I’m like, ‘Did you tell Susan [Silver] where we were going?’ He was like, ‘Shoot, yeah, I didn’t. I think she’s in Detroit or somewhere.”