Were Eddie Vedder and Layne Staley Friends?

Layne Staley Eddie Vedder lg

The Seattle grunge scene from the 90s produced some of the greatest voices in the music industry, but the most distinctive of these belonged to Layne Staley and Eddie Vedder. Their fans want to know: Were Eddie Vedder and Layne Staley Friends?

Here’s what I discovered:

Layne Staley shared a great friendship with Pearl Jam’s lead singer Eddie Vedder. Staley had first met Vedder around 1991, around the time Staley was on hiatus from Alice in Chains and working on the side project Mad Season with Mike McCready of Pearl Jam.

As reports then stated, the hiatus took place when Staley’s drug addiction began circulating in the media communities.

The atmosphere gave rise to intense pressure in the group. Band member Jerry Cantrell stated it was “very frustrating, but we stuck it out.” Drugs worked for Staley for years, but soon they turned against him, isolating him from his friends in his final days.

Let us dig deeper and discover the truth about Vedder and Staley’s friendship:

What happened to Layne Staley?

34-year-old singer Layne Staley died of a drug overdose of heroin and cocaine in his Seattle apartment in 2002. He was acutely aware that he was soon going to die. And he hadn’t left his apartment in weeks, and it was approximately 2 weeks after his death before he was found.

In his last interview, months before his death with a journalist Adriana Rubio, Staley admitted:

“I know I’m dying. I’m not doing well. Don’t try to talk about this to my sister Liz. She will know it sooner or later…I know I’m near death. I did crack and heroin for years. I never wanted to end my life this way. I know I have no chance. It’s too late.”

The most painful thing about this interview is the sense of hopelessness that drove Layne to isolate himself from the world entirely. By the time Layne passed away, he was physically & emotionally crippled. He pushed away his loved ones.

In his final days, Staley lost his appetite, and his health deteriorated rapidly. Layne began looking like an 80-year-old version of himself. And it was frightening.

Finally, On April 19, 2002, Staley was discovered dead in his apartment lying on the couch. His body decomposed partially.

His fans mourned the death of their favorite star and still remember him for his legendary voice.

What did Eddie Vedder think of Layne Staley?

Eddie Vedder held high regard for singer Layne Staley. The pair liked and supported each other. Vedder considered Staley, a master at conjuring emotions in his songs. Vedder says that he misses Staley to this day.

Not just for Eddie Vedder, but Staley’s skills were highly acknowledged by critics as well.

According to Far Out Magazine, Staley could convey intense vulnerability and encompass power all at once. His journey being in Alice in Chains speaks of his raw, honest, and authentic expression.

If you hear his isolated vocals, you can identify the complexity and texture in every single tone.

Staley seems to have left a catharsis behind him. It is hard to ignore his talent that matched his stretched personality. His fellow band members and fans remember him as a “hilarious guy, full of life, and it was really sad to lose him.”

But Staley’s death left a far deeper schism in Eddie Vedder’s mind. Vedder was deeply hurt.

Eddie was moved to tears when he paid a heartbreaking tribute to his deceased friend by singing Man of the Hour at the Chicago, IL Wrigley Field on August 22, 2016.

What song did Pearl Jam write about Layne Staley?

Pearl Jam wrote a song titled “04/20/02” about Layne Staley. The date is significant for Vedder as this was the day he learned about Staley’s death. And due to Vedder’s deep love for Staley, the song holds a special touch for Vedder.

Reportedly, Staley had died weeks earlier before the police found his body on April 20, 2002. Eddie Vedder was shocked to discover the truth.

To relieve what he was feeling, he penned down a song. Pearl Jam’s guitarist Stone Gossard stated:

“Vedder stayed in there, didn’t work on anything else, and worked this song up.”

A Billboard journalist further said:

“In the song, Vedder lashes out at the singers of unnamed bands copying the style of Staley, who died after battling drug addiction for years. The song contained some deep lyrics and highly personalized content.”

Vedder felt a great void in his life after Staley left the world. Millions of fans witnessed the heart-touching moment when Vedder paused his concert to pay tribute to Staley.

He told the crowd: “It’s the birthday of a guy called Layne Staley tonight, and we’re thinking of him tonight too. 49 years old”. 

Eddie Vedder continues to pay tribute to his departed friend’s soul whenever he gets the chance.

Did Eddie Vedder ever perform with Layne Staley?

Eddie Vedder performed with Layne Stayley at the 5th-anniversary party for RIP magazine in 1991. Other than this, the powerful duo is also rumored to have collaborated to compose a song called Alone.

But Pearl Jam themselves put out a song called “Alone” on their Lost Dogs compilation. But it’s credited solely to Pearl Jam and there’s no voice on it that sounds like Staley.

And Downface and even Creed have songs on YouTube discredited to Staley and Vedder. I was unable to find a credible source of the song that was clearly both of them.

But it may be out there.

However, there are many shining examples of great friends in the music industry like Vedder and Staley. Another name that comes to my mind is Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder.

Luckily, I covered that for you in my recent article. Did they really hate each other as the pre-internet rumor mill had us believing back then?

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Are Eddie Vedder and Jerry Cantrell friends?

Eddie Vedder and Jerry Cantrell have been and continue to be friends since they used to be roommates. Both used to live in Kelly Curtis’ house in Seattle in the early 90s.

A hilarious photo of Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder kissing Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell began surfacing on the internet in 2016.

The moment immediately took the fans back to the days when the artists used to be roommates.

In a podcast, Cantrell laughingly talked about being roommates with Vedder and said: Yes, Eddie was a good roommate.

You cannot underestimate the 90s Seattle grunge bond if you are a music lover.

It was the time when popular bands worked together and helped each other out. Among those famous names, Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, Jerry Cantrell, Layne Staley were quite common. All these prominent figures could be seen together, sharing the same platforms every now then.

Chris Cornell, Jerry Cantrell joined Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder for a grunge summit in L.A. The grunge fever survivors hung out together and looked back decades ago.

Thankfully for fans, it was like a reunion when Mike McCready, Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Matt Cameron came together to talk about the musical integrity that makes them glad in the first place.

Curious to know if Eddie Vedder was also friends with Chris Cornell?

Read my recent article where I take a deep dive into their world. Obviously, most people know they collaborated together on Temple of the Dog. But how close were they? And did they maintain a friendship until Cornell’s tragic death?

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Tribute To Layne Staley (Pearl Jam - 4/20/02)

Conclusion

Layne Staley may have withdrawn from his friends and family, but he was never abandoned by those who deeply cared for him. Among these names, Eddie Vedder’s name shines.

According to Staley’s mother’s statement: Staley was never far from the love of his family and friends, who filled his answering machine and mailbox with messages and letters.

Contrary to common misconceptions, just because he was isolated doesn’t mean we didn’t have sweet moments with him.

His friends remember Layne as a lighthearted guy with a great personality.


Image by Ally Laws from Pixabay

Other images which require attribution:

Eddie Vedder byVersusLiveQuizShow and He’s Back by Joe Lillibridge are licensed under CC2.0 and were cropped, edited, merged, and overlaid on another photo with a text overlay.

Jeff Campbell

Hi, I'm Jeff Campbell, a former DJ, music journalist, musician, and music lover. I'm old enough to have seen all the cool bands and young enough to still remember them.

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