Grunge rock fans have been waiting for Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder to address the passing of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell for weeks now, and at Tuesday night’s concert in London, England, he delivered in an emotional speech to a rapt audience.
Vedder and Cornell were both members of Temple of the Dog, a Seattle-area grunge band founded in 1990. The pair were very close, and are considered two of the founding fathers of the grunge rock movement. Cornell committed suicide at the age of 52 on the night of May 17 following a concert.
While no video or audio was recorded when Vedder informally paid tribute onstage (Vedder has a strict “performance etiquette policy” that bans recording at his concerts), the Pearl Jam website posted the full transcript to their public message board. You can read it in its entirety below.
Here’s video of the audience’s reaction to Vedder’s speech.
Vedder had also paid tribute to Cornell through a variety of songs played at a recent solo show; he altered the lyrics of certain songs to better reflect the situation, including Pearl Jam’s Long Road, Fugazi’s I’m So Tired and Neil Young’s The Needle and the Damage Done.
Apparently Vedder never once referred to Cornell by name, calling him “my older brother” and “a really close friend of mine.”
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…(applause).
I’ll say this too, I grew up as 4 boys, 4 brothers and I lost my brother 2 years ago tragically like that in an accident and 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 (applause starts).
No, no, no, no
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 … you know 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 neighbours 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, 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.
Eddie Vedder is currently doing a small solo tour through Europe before wrapping up at the end of June. Cornell was laid to rest at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles in a private ceremony on May 26.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.
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