Eddie Vedder Reveals What Pearl Jam Classic Was Written In Bathroom


Earlier this week, Pearl Jam members Eddie Vedder and Stone Gossard performed at the Pierre Hotel in New York at a UJA-Federation of New York Music Event honoring Michele Anthony, the 2017 Music Visionary of the Year. Anthony is the EVP of Universal Music Group. Variety posted a recap of what Vedder said at the event, including the story behind writing Pearl Jam’s “Daughter.”

Vedder held up a ukulele. “So this here is a ukulele,” he said, “and this is an example of how supportive Michele is. I said ‘Michele, I have a record I wanna put out. It’s gonna be all ukulele songs.’ And she said [hesitantly], “Oh, great!” I pictured her hanging up the phone and saying ‘Motherf—er!’ — but she’s supportive, and I’m touring the world playing this little ukulele, it fits in the carry-on on the plane. So this song is a love song I wrote for my wife. I said, ‘Can I play it for Michele?’ and she said ‘For Michele Anthony? Absolutely!’ And the only other person she gave me permission to sing it to was Barack Obama.”

Vedder then performed “Without You,” and afterward was joined by Pearl Jam guitarist Gossard for “Daughter.”

He began with another dedication. “One of the reasons we still keep playing 25 or whatever years later is because of some of the sacrifices she’s made and her encouragement,” he said. “She has this talent of working with difficult artists. And I was thinking about that the other night and I thought, ‘Well, what does that mean? There’s a separation between difficult and different, and in those early times we were fortunate to have this steamroller of success. We did have an opportunity to do things in a way that we felt would be beneficial for us and for the listener and for even the industry, if they were able to break out of a certain mold or defined trench or concrete plan. But we couldn’t have done any of that, or even attempted any of it, without [her] support and intellect, and a captain to help us navigate a North Star to set our compass. Because at one point the compass started spinning and that was when the news was getting really good but — it was so good it was tough.

“I remember one day she came to where we were staying in this little hotel in Boulder, where was it? [He looked to Anthony in the crowd.] Oh, it was a Holiday Inn in Amherst? [Laughter] And before soundcheck we had a great talk, it was very supportive and it kind of reset some things mentally and allowed me to get back on track and really think about the art and writing and singing. And then we wrote this one in the bathroom, and then we played it on the bus late that night. The one thing about a Holiday Inn — the acoustics in the bathroom [are great]! (Laughter) And I thought about this: the thicker the towels are, it’s bad for the sound.(Laughter) But if not for you, were might not have survived these times and those times. So uh, there’s just so much to say, we’ll just sing a song. Thank you, Michele — my sister, our sister.”

Vedder and Gossard then performed “Daughter.”