Did Pearl Jam or Eddie Vedder Do Drugs? (Worst drug use)

It’s impossible not to notice that some of the top musicians from the 1990s grunge scene died of drug abuse or at least had that as a contributing factor. Pearl Jam is one of the few bands left standing, so did Pearl Jam do drugs?

While Pearl Jam members were known to drop acid or smoke pot. But much of their drug use was limited to that, along with heavy alcohol consumption. And much of that was early in their career. Only guitarist Mike McCready had a serious enough drug addiction to go into rehab in 1995.

Of course, those famous fallen grunge heroes include Andrew Wood, Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, and Chris Cornell.

And those who are fans of Pearl Jam know that the band emerged from the chaos of Andrew Wood’s death of a heroin drug overdose. But none of the members, except McCready, resorted to drugs when success was overwhelming.

Pearl Jam’s vocalist Eddie Vedder once said that the reason Cobain didn’t survive, and Pearl Jam did, is due to his own survival instincts. They both had different things driving their music intent.

Drummer Matt Cameron says that Vedder’s decision to pull back from stardom also played a crucial role. He never panicked, and his pragmatic thinking has held the band through the problems, or else they would have been “eaten up by the business” by now.

Pearl Jam’s other members have had their own opinions as to how or why their band survived. They give credit to luck time and again, but drugs are not on the list.

Let us find out in more detail:

Are any members of Pearl Jam dead from a drug overdose?

All Pearl Jam members are alive, including founding members, those who joined later, and drummers who associated with Pearl Jam in the past, such as Jack Irons and Dave Krusen.

The confusion about a band member dying is likely due to the late Andrew Wood.

Pearl Jam band formed in Seattle after Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament’s former band, Mother Love Bone’s singer Andrew Wood died of a heroin overdose.

Pearl Jam consisted of founding members Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, and Eddie Vedder.

Drummer Matt Cameron joined Pearl Jam in 1998, and Boom Gasper has been a touring member since 2002. Besides these, drummers Jack Irons, Dave Abbruzzese, and Dave Krusen are also associated with Pearl Jam.

At present, all these members are alive and continue to work on several projects, with Pearl Jam being close to their hearts.

The fan community keeps hearing rumors of band members’ death making rounds on the internet. But they’re not true.

What was Eddie Vedder’s drug choice?

Unlike his contemporaries, Eddie Vedder has never been known for excessive drug abuse. He is, however, known for being a heavy drinker and cigarette smoker. But Vedder cut back on smoking and drinking in 2013 and says music is his heroin.  

The first notable difference between Eddie and other bands is that the San Diego singer moved to Seattle to audition for lead vocalist.

Beyond this slight difference, Eddie shares that he was the frontman of one of the biggest bands to come out of the grunge scene, and drugs were a part of it, at least when they were getting started.

Eddie reveals that he had plenty of personal turmoil, starting with discovering that his father was not his biological father.

Eddie Vedder has been divorced (in 2000) and has abused drugs and alcohol. But he was able to escape that phase quickly.   

The Guardian wrote that Vedder was torn into two directions like Cobain.

He was grateful for Pearl Jam changing the band’s trajectory and never wanted that change to affect his life so hard. Vedder never let the band’s success get to him.

In addition, Vedder has kept silent about his drug usage, and there is so little of his personal life available for his fans.

But contrary to Vedder, Cobain chose to be more drawn to drugs.

But despite the rivalry in the press between Nirvana and Pearl Jam, were Kurt and Eddie ever friends?

Read my recent article to find why Cobain wanted to warn teens to stay away from drugs, despite his ongoing addiction. And once and for all, we found out if Kurt and Eddie really liked each other.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What drugs did Pearl Jam use?

Of all Pearl Jam members, only guitarist Mike McCready struggled with heroin addiction in the past. Other members have been known to admit to smoking pot, dropping acid, and heavy drinking.  

Vedder is among the few lucky ones who enjoyed being the face of grunge to the broader public for the longest time.

The others, like Cobain and Staley, lost their way before their talent could fully flourish. But were Layne Staley and Eddie Vedder friends?

Read my recent article to find how the death of these two legends impacted the grunge movement. And we’ll discover whether these two icons actually liked each other.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

As told by Washington Post:

“Vedder was not one of the “industry kids they groom on the Disney channel…He wasn’t prepared to be America’s in-demand rock star- it was like being strapped to a rocket ship. But Vedder never fit into this scene”. 

Although the grunge scene was rampant with drug use and Vedder’s personal life was at peril, the musician never turned into depression and avoided hard drugs.

Stone Gossard revealed that Pearl Jam stopped doing drugs pretty early. And as for Vedder, he swore never to use such substances.

Vedder told Los Angeles Times:

“I drink as much as the average person does- I have never had any troubles with addiction or substance abuse.”

But of course, that’s only if the average person polishes off a bottle of wine a night, as Vedder used to be known to do. He certainly seemed to finish that bottle I saw him drink when I saw Pearl Jam in 2014.

But these days, he seems to be drinking a lot less.

Is Pearl Jam the same as Mother Love Bone?

Pearl Jam is different from Mother Love Bone, but both bands do share 2 members, guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament. The two formed Pearl Jam after the overdose of Mother Love Bone’s singer, Andrew Wood, in 1990.

Andrew Wood’s charismatic lyrics and ready-to-rock personality elevated Mother Love Bone from a local favorite to potential nationwide success.

But his untimely death forever prevented the world from seeing his potential.

According to an entertainment website, Wood seemingly knew his way around combining 80s bombast, a sprinkle of 70s glam, and a bit of introspection and honesty of later grunge.

But there’s also no doubt that if it weren’t for Wood’s death, Pearl Jam would never have formed. And the world might not ever have heard of Eddie Vedder.

On the other hand, Vedder’s music is famous for its range of styles, from punkiness to unabashed balladry. Vedder says that through their tenth album- Lightning Bolt, they have explored the spectrum of possibilities in music.

And one of Vedder’s first appearances came with doing the tribute to Wood called Temple of the Dog with the late, great Chris Cornell.

But were Vedder and Cornell friends?

Luckily, I covered that for you in my recent article. After all, it’s widely known that the 2 collaborated on the Temple of the Dog song “Hunger Strike”. But if they were friends, did Vedder go to Cornell’s funeral?

Just click that link to read it on my site.

How many grunge musicians have died?

The most notable members of grunge bands that have passed away include Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden (and Audioslave), Layne Staley and Mike Starr of Alice in Chains, and Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone. 

But that’s hardly a complete list.

The Seattle grunge scene was filled with powerful voices of iconic musicians who outpoured the grief in alternative rock style. The biggest names rocked at the time, but they went away too soon.

Here is the list of some other voices that rocked the 1990s grunge scene but are now dead.

  • Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age – died likely from liver failure in 2022, after years of alcohol and drug abuse
  • Kristen Pfaff of Hole – died of a drug overdose in 1994.
  • Stefanie Sargent of 7 Year Bitch – died because of drinking and drug use in 1992.
  • Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots – died of a drug overdose in 2015.
  • Natasha Shneider of Eleven – died because of cancer in 2008.
  • John Baker Saunders of Mad Season – died of a drug overdose in 1999.
  • Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon – died of a cocaine overdose in 1995.
  • Wes Berggren of Tripping Daisy – died of a drug overdose in 1999.

Why did so many grunge musicians die?

Grunge music was a genre of rock music that emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

It was popularized by bands such as Nirvana, who released their debut album Bleach in 1989. The faces of Grunge, such as Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, and Chris Cornell, became icons of the era. Unfortunately, many of these musicians died young due to drug overdoses or suicide.

The music industry had a lot to do with the deaths of these grunge musicians.

Many were pushed to their limits by record labels and producers who wanted them to produce more albums and tour more often. This pressure caused many of them to turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the stress.

The lifestyle of grunge musicians also contributed to their early deaths.

They often lived on the road for months at a time, which led to unhealthy habits such as substance abuse and lack of sleep. This lifestyle was not conducive to good mental health, which is why so many grunge musicians died young from suicide or drug overdoses.

In addition, many grunge musicians had underlying mental health issues that were exacerbated by their lifestyle and the pressures of the music industry.

Kurt Cobain suffered from depression for much of his life, while Chris Cornell struggled with addiction for years before his death in 2017. That being said, it’s worth noting that controversy surrounding both their deaths exists to this day.

But the grunge scene isn’t the first time the Seattle music scene was rocked by drug use, overdose, and death.

Jimi Hendrix is perhaps the most famous musician from Seattle to have died in the 1960s and 1970s. He was found dead in London in 1970 due to an overdose of sleeping pills. His drug use had been a problem for years, and he had been arrested multiple times for drug-related offenses.

Pearl Jam Interview with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show 2015


Pearl Jam evolved at a time when grunge music was heavily associated with promoting drugs among the audience.

And while almost all the bands were falling prey to substance abuse, Pearl Jam members passed this phase early in the years.

The band is going strong, and the band members seem to have a promising album up ahead.

Photo which requires attribution:

Pearl Jam @ O2 by Paul Hudson is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, and had a text overlay added.

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