Were Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder Friends?

Kurt and Eddie friends lg

Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder almost single-handedly conquered the Seattle-grunge scene. But there are a lot of pre-internet rumors of a feud between the two. It made me curious to know: were Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder friends?

Here is what I found:

Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder became friends prior to Cobain’s death in 1994. But there had been tension and negative comments from Cobain when both Nirvana and Pearl Jam were first beginning to become successful. But much of the perceived rivalry was amplified by the media.  

A 1992 MTV Music Awards video on YouTube shows Eddie and Kurt hugging each other, which speaks volumes about their friendship.

In addition, Eddie appeared for a three-hour interview on The Howard Stern Show. Part of the show saw Vedder accepting that they did have a “little bit of a difficult relationship with reality when both started enjoying phenomenal success.”

Let us explore how the band members feel about the rivalry.

How did Kurt Cobain feel about Pearl Jam?

Kurt Cobain was never a fan of the band Pearl Jam. He hated the band because they lacked the underground purity of Nirvana and he called them “corporate puppets” who were trying to jump on the alternative bandwagon. However, after becoming friends with Eddie Vedder, he later regretted his comments.

Kurt gave out this statement during an interview with Flipside in 1992. He explained that he also rejected an opportunity to support Guns’ N’ Roses.

Cobain added: 

“We turned down Guns’ N’ Roses. I have strong feelings towards Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains and bands like that. They’re obviously just corporate puppets….. especially Pearl Jam. I can’t really call Pearl Jam’ macho’ but it’s not the kind of stuff that I am into.”

A year later, Cobain still didn’t grow to be Pearl Jam’s fan but admitted that his comments might have hurt Vedder, and he wasn’t going to do that anymore because he liked Vedder.

Kurt Cobain told MTV in 1993 that: “I always hated their band. We’ve had a few conversations on the phone. I really like Vedder. I think he’s a really nice person.” 

After this interview, Cobain formed a friendship with Eddie Vedder. He also told Rolling Stone:

“I slagged them off because I didn’t like their band. I hadn’t met Eddie at the time. It was my fault; I should have been slagging off the record company instead of them. They were marketed. Not probably against their will. But without them realizing they were being pushed into the grunge bandwagon.”

If you notice closely, Cobain’s remarks were never against Vedder. He just thought that Pearl Jam wasn’t as genuine or artistically pure as Nirvana.

Did Pearl Jam and Nirvana play together?

Pearl Jam and Nirvana toured together with The Red Hot Chili Peppers for a handful of shows in December of 1991, but they never played together after that. 

The three bands headed for a tour organized by MTV in 1991 that lasted less than a week in December for New Year’s Eve.

This leg of the mini-tour couldn’t have been better with legendary bands sharing the same stage with their latest release. Pearl Jam was the opener with one solid performance of a version of “Alive” by young Eddie Vedder.

According to Rolling Stone, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam:

“overshadowed local icons Grateful Dead, who by that point held a two-decade stronghold on being the show in town when it came to New Year’s Eve. This young, hungry trio of bands came to town and blew that to smithereens. It was the musical equivalent of upstaging the pope at The Vatican.” 

The trio owned the night, witnessing an ever-cheerful crowd. The bands presented extraordinary renditions of their songs.

Did Eddie Vedder pay tribute to Kurt Cobain?

Eddie Vedder paid tribute to Kurt Cobain in the middle of his performance at Fairfax, Virginia’s Patriot Center during the evening of the day Cobain died, saying: “none of us would be here tonight if it weren’t for…Kurt Cobain.” 

He also paid tribute 1 week later when Pearl Jam performed on Saturday Night Live.

The grunge scene influencers had their differences when both released their albums Ten (Pearl Jam) and Nevermind (Nirvana) practically at the same time.

The competition for commercial success gave rise to a media-fueled feud. 

Read my recent article to see how Pearl Jam sold-out stadiums with only two albums under their belt. But over the years, has Nirvana surpassed Pearl Jam’s success and sales?

Just click that link to read it on my site.

But as time went on, both the singers found common ground as they were in the same situation. Both were high-profile rock bands with millions of fans around the world.

Deep down, both had mutual respect for one another. And even if there was an underlying difference in their relationship, it all went away as the news of Cobain’s death broke out.

The night Cobain passed away, Pearl Jam was performing a concert at Patriot Center.

He paused in the middle and paid tribute to Kurt Cobain. Vedder mentioned the tragedy several times throughout the show.

One week later, on 16th April 1994, after performing on Saturday Night Live, Eddie Vedder opened his shirt to reveal the letter “K” drawn on his T-shirt over his heart to pay a quiet salute to departed singer Kurt Cobain.

Are Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder friends?

Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder are friends, and their friendship goes back to 1995. At present, they are working together on a new project announced by Hardy SXM via a tweet. 

On the second episode of Bruce Springsteen’s Apple Music Hits show, Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder discussed their journey into music. Dave Grohl naturally said he was devastated after his former band Nirvana’s lead vocalist Kurt took his own life.

Lost and grief-stricken, Dave found new hope in Foo Fighters. 

Read my recent article to check out how Dave gets along with his current bandmates. After all, almost everyone from the original Foo Fighters lineup is gone. So is Dave hard to work with?

Just click that link to read it on my site.

In that same episode, Bruce asked Dave about his brotherhood with Vedder. Dave revealed that he briefly played with Vedder in Mike Watt’s band in 1995 on the tour that saw Foo Fighters play live for the first time.

That tour saw both Vedder and Grohl play in Watt’s band, but the Foo Fighters opened, as did Vedder’s wife’s band, where Vedder played drums.

That would have been an epic tour to catch!

2020 brought another milestone between Eddie Vedder and Dave Grohl’s friendship as they announced their collaboration to form a new sub-group.

This is the line-up:

  • Dave Grohl (Drums)
  • Flea (Bass)
  • Tom Morello (Guitar)
  • Eddie Vedder (Lead vocals

How did Eddie Vedder react to Kurt Cobain’s death?

Eddie Vedder was profoundly shocked to hear Kurt Cobain’s death. He informed the audience of Cobain’s death during a Pearl Jam show the night of his death, and a week later, on Saturday Night Live, he appeared with the letter “K” drawn on his shirt over his heart.

Pearl Jam enjoyed tremendous success with their second album’s release.

The commercial success of Pearl Jam led both of the artists to indulge in a hot and cold relationship. But their relationship was never hostile to the point that they would stop reacting to each other’s ill-health.

Kurt and Vedder reportedly came to amicable terms before Cobain’s death. Eddie mentioned in various interviews that he became friends with Kurt, which he could never forget. And when Vedder heard the news about Cobain’s death, he was deeply hurt.

According to Vedder’s fan community:

“For many days, Vedder did not react to the death news in front of the media. The saddened feelings could be seen many times in the live concerts with some mentions of Kurt eventually.”

What Kurt Cobain Really Thought About Eddie Vedder | Rock N Roll Stories

Conclusion

The music industry is a competitive arena where artists and singers are always up against each other. In such a situation, it is pretty hard to imagine two contemporaries being friends.

The same can be said with Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder.

Their relationship started with resentment, which even included giving negative statements to the press. But the duo soon doused the fire, realizing it was painful to degrade each other’s bands.

Reportedly, the singers never had any personal vendetta against each other. However, they may have had difficulty understanding each other in the initial years due to media.

But on a personal level, they both considered each other lovely human beings. Unfortunately, this friendship ended as quickly as it blossomed when Kurt committed suicide.


Photos that require attribution:

Kurt and Eddie Vedder by MEDIODESCOCIDO are licensed under CC2.0 and were cropped, edited, merged, and had a text overlay added.

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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