Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder made his first public comments about the death of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell on Tuesday night (June 6) during a concert in London.
Vedder has played some musical tributes to Cornell during his European solo tour but had not yet spoken about his fellow Seattle rock singer’s death — ruled a suicide on May 18 after a concert in Detroit — at length.
In London he told the crowd at the Hammersmith Apollo that:
“Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate these days. I was thinking about the history of this building and the Bowie history. So I started to think about that and my mind began to wander.
It’s not a good…So I haven’t really been talking about some things and I kind of, now it feels like it’s conspicuous because I lost a really close friend of mine, somebody who, I’ll say this too, I grew up as four boys, four brothers, and I lost my brother two years ago tragically like that in an accident. After that and losing a few other people, I’m not good at it, meaning I’m not, I have not been willing to accept the reality and that’s just how I’m dealing with it.
So I want to be there for the family, be there for the community, be there for my brothers in my band, certainly the brothers in his band. But these things will take time, but my friend is going to be gone forever and I will just have to…These things take time and I just want to send this out to everyone who was affected by it, and they all back home and here appreciate it so deeply, the support and the good thoughts of a man who was a … he wasn’t just a friend, he was someone I looked up to like my older brother.
About two days after the news, I think it was the second night; we were sleeping in this little cabin near the water, a place he would’ve loved. And all these memories started coming in about 1:30 a.m., like woke me up. Like big memories, memories I would think about all the time. Like the memories were big muscles. And then I couldn’t stop the memories. And trying to sleep, it was like if the neighbors had the music playing and you couldn’t stop it.
But then it was fine, because then it got into little memories. It just kept going and going and going. And I realized how lucky I was to have hours worth of…you know, if each of these memories was quick, and I had hours of them. How fortunate was I? And I didn’t want to be sad, I wanted to be grateful, not sad.
I’m still thinking about those memories, and I will live with those memories in my heart and I will love him forever.”
Vedder received a standing ovation after the speech.
Vedder was part of Temple of the Dog, the ad hock group Cornell fronted with Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament that was formed after the death of Andrew Wood, frontman of their former band Mother Love Bone.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.