Arquivo da categoria ‘Pearl Jam’

“…i’ve been wishing out the days. come back…”

Two years ago, my whole life took a turn. Pearl Jam had always been my favorite band, but my craziness had shrunk a little from all the time since their last South America Tour in 2005. Six years had passed, lots of things happened and I got involved in other less important things AKA family, job and adult life. Jokes apart, seeing PJ again was the best news of that whole year.

I wrote two posts about the two shows I attended that year. and

So why write again two years later?

Since 2005 I’ve been to nine concerts in seven different cities from four different countries. I’ve been abroad three times to see Pearl Jam. I’ve listened to 269 songs and 98 unique performances according to the amazing PJ StatTracker. And since that 2011 tour, those stats are not the most important thing anymore.

Since then, I’ve met people from all over the world. Most of them are incredible and some of them are now my best friends. After meeting a new #PJFam member, it usually feels like I’ve known said person since the 90s. They tell me nice things. They send me gifts. They walk streets of unknown towns with me. They exchange stickers with me. They buy merchandise out of booths with gigantic lines when I really want something. They take me to baseball, soccer, football games, to have lunch or dinner with their families. They drive me from the USA to Canada and from Canada to the USA and from Pearl Jam to Frank Lloyd Wright. They help me buy sold-out concert tickets. They let me pet their dogs and cats. They let me stay at their homes.

I really wish for Pearl Jam to come back. But I wish even more for these special moments to come back. I wish to go back to São Paulo, Rio, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Detroit, London-CAN, Chicago, Spring Green, NYC. To each place I visited for Pearl Jam or where I met any #PJFam.

Today it’s been two years since 11.11.2011. Here’s to reliving all those special moments again, again and again!

I love you all! Be at peace!


Pearl Jam – The End

Publicado: 29/10/2013 em Backspacer, Pearl Jam
“…help me see myself, cause i can no longer tell…”
Five years ago, we decided to adopt a blind kitten. Tina had been subject to a surgery to remove both eyes and was waiting to be adopted for some time. But special needs pets are victims of prejudice, yes! Be it “lack of time”, “lack of knowledge” or any other argument, they are left behind. At first I was worried: how could I help Tina to her food bowl, in and out of bed and litter box, and with all the other everyday stuff if we were just out every day, working?
But what happened was that, besides a very short initial moment while she was getting adjusted and still had stitches on her eyes, Tina didn’t need our help. In fact, she was the one who saved us. She taught us that other animals have, in fact, something less than humans: self pity. Instead of comiserating, of making everything hard, little Tina makes everything seem absurdly simple. She needs help with barely nothing, and reminds us every day that overcoming your challenges is something very simple to do. It’s just about taking a “leap of faith”.
That put, when this other little ball of fur with a kind of “Frankenstein” look came in our lives, we didn’t even blink. Working with some very dear people who give their lives for the animal cause, our blind-kitty-girl has got herself a pair, our blind-kitty-boy. Mike, as we named him, is less than 2 months-old, lighter than 1 pound and fits in my hand. But he’s already a GIANT.
And here’s our invitation: if you want to be bigger, but bigger in your hearts, allow yourselves to learn from a special pet. You’ll be helping an animal in need, obviously. But, much more important than that, you’ll be learning a lot about unconditional love and overcoming your obstacles. Every day.
Say hi to your new friends, Mike!

…and the barrel waits, trigger shakes, aimed right at my head, won’t you help me? help me from myself?
Everyone reaches a moment in their lives where they ask ‘when did this start? Where did it al go wrong?’ We commiserate while we, then, ask ‘why me?’ Or, paraphrasing our dearest Pearl Jam, we conclude ‘there’s no God with a plan and my loneliness is proof’.
Anyway, I’ve reached a point in my life where those questions have no longer any space. And all I’m left with are my own mistakes and how the answers to my questions aren’t wrong at all. It’s just the questions I’d been asking were the wrong ones.
So ‘why me?’ is answered with ‘I made it happen’. And I no longer care when it started to go wrong but just how can I start to re-make it right.
The tears streaming down my face become pearls of wisdom whilst reflecting the sun. So the pain becomes experience. And transforms itself into a beautiful attitude of wanting to be an even better person.
A wise man from my country says ‘the bad things people do to me don’t make me feel bad. The bad things I do to people do.’ That’s my motto now. I’ll be true, I’ll be good. Faithful to you (my friends, my family, everyone I hold dear in my heart).

Pearl Jam – Low Light

Publicado: 03/02/2013 em Pearl Jam, Yield

“can i be here all alone? clear a path to my home. blood runs dry, books and jealousy tell me wrong. i will feel calm. voice blows by. low light, car crash”

This week Yield, Pearl Jam’s 5th studio album, turned 15. It was the first album after I became this big a fan. I’ve always liked Pearl Jam, but being born in 1981 I was too young to really know what good music was when Seattle became the center of the rock music world. Some years later, by the time No Code had come and Yield was coming, I became obsessed. Still am, which can be proved by the posts on this blog.

Low Light, one of my favorites from that album, is a beautifully written song. Especially when you’re prone to feeling alone. Throughout the years, Pearl Jam has always helped me feel part of something. It’s not like I’ve always had problems belonging, but this band was a constant. My hair has been shaved, has lacked style, and then has abandoned some parts of my head forever, my weight has gone up and down and up again, I’ve been into some specific sports, some videogames, some series or some other music… but Pearl Jam was always there for me.

This is a moment when I’m tasting what I’ve heard so many times in my life: feeling alone is not necessarily connected to having people around. It’s not necessarily connected to being professionally succesfull, or having many opportunities to enjoy yourself. Sometimes that one thing that doesn’t connect makes you move to a place that no one can access. And it hurts feeling alone. Not being able to trust. Feeling like nothing will ever be the same. Knowing you’ll have to focus on superficial things because your inner self is melted.

So it feels like a car crash. Shattered glass, retorted metal pieces, screams. I can hear my own voice crying for help. But no one else is here. I’m here all alone. I’ll have to let the blood run dry and clear a path to my home. The map is, once again, Pearl Jam.

“the waiting drove me mad. (I’m) finally here and I’m a mess…”

@Renato_BOI @felipemallms and @fbartelle before the concerts at Music Midtown Festival, Atlanta-GA

Yet again, this blog is supposed to be about lyrics. And yet again I’m allowing myself to break this rule. But it’s FKKN (oops, sorry) Pearl Jam, so it’s OK that I do it.

Some months ago I decided it was time to have another one of my dreams come true. I was going to the US to see Pearl Jam. And I got two friends to go with me. So we planned a week in Florida (Miami and Disney World) to get us ready and then we headed to Atlanta, GA for the two-day, open-air Music Midtown Festival. Piedmont Park’s lawn was where they set the stages. For us, used to the poorly organized and free of any comfort festivals in Brazil, this place was fantastic. The whole atmosphere was another thing to thank for during those two days.

Day one was all about Joan Jett, an idol of anyone who likes the real Rock ‘n’ Roll spirit due to her story and her music, and Foo Fighters. I had never seen the Foos live, so that was a nice warm-up for day two. Dave was as funny and all-around entertaining as always and the set was solid. Opening with the fast’n’furious White Limo, they had a sequence that included many hits like All My Life, My Hero, The Pretender and Learn To Fly. Grohl joked that they were a cover band and they included Van Halen, Pink Floyd, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Joan Jett, who joined them for Bad Reputation. My personal favorite Hey, Johnny Park! was played that night.

Joan Jett at Music Midtown Festival, Atlanta-GA. Picture by Fernando Bartelle

See more of my Joan Jett pictures at

Foo Fighters at Music Midtown Festival, Atlanta-GA. Picture by Fernando Bartelle

See more of my Foo Fighters pictures at


Day two was what this was all about. Starting with the #PJFamily meeting during the weekend. This post is dedicated, primarily, to my partners in crime @felipemallms (my friend since the 90’s who once again proved to be a great friend), @Renato_BOI (who I didn’t know that much but proved to be as great a friend as any can be!) and my beautiful wife @ferbortolon (who was always great telling me to go even though she couldn’t), and also to @J88Ryan (who we met in Miami, and unfortunately couldn’t be at the festival), @Jay_Worrall (who came all the way from England!) and @MaddNessFoSho (who still claims not to say “the-morrow”), @tonyatawana (the best writer you could ever want to meet!) and @Tammarpra (her awesome partner and, like her, enthusiastic first-time PJ show attendant), @meninakk (who we only met for a couple, though great, minutes), @PhishNoC and @onamovingtrain (this great, lovable couple of crazy Pearl Jammers from TN), @anestha (who also came from Brazil for the Festival and shared the Foos concert with us), and even @Jeffyrocks24, @Rafy1974, @spagbals, @Vedder_Girl77 and @bowlofj0kes, along with all the rest of the #PJFam all around the world (who, each for one special reason, I never got to meet but love anyway). You amazing people made any effort and sacrifice I had to make to be there well worth it. Thank you so much!

Getting back to the Festival, we got there just in time to see Garbage. This band has been among my favorites since the mid-90s. They were fantastic, especially Shirley Manson, who is just incredible. A very entertaining concert throughout.

Garbage at Music Midtown Festival, Atlanta-GA. Picture by Fernando Bartelle

See more of my Garbage pictures at


Right after Garbage we had a little time to relax, since I don’t care about Ludacris, and came back before Florence + The Machine. It’s not the kind of music I would usually enjoy, but I like them. Florence has a beautiful voice and her apparent happiness during the concert is something that doesn’t go unnoticed. The bad notes go to some of the fans around us who were plain pain in our asses.

Florence + The Machine at Music Midtown Festival, Atlanta-GA. Picture by Fernando Bartelle

When Pearl Jam were about to start their show, we were at a wonderful place in the crowd. Right in front of Mike, less than 8 rows from the rail. The closest I’ve ever been. The set went as follows (thanks to and the official Pearl Jam Forums).

01. Why Go (Stone’s guitar rig fails for most of the song.)
02. Save You
03. Animal

(Ed says it is a great night to be in Atlanta and he has never seen the city from this perspective, referring to the location where the festival is being held. He also goes to comment on how great Florence And The Machine were and how great Florence and audience crowd sang. He invites the crowd to sing as much as they can tonight.)

04. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In a Small Town
05. Corduroy
06. Got Some

(Ed decides he will take a moment and describe what the next song is about. He talks about the various kinds of love, like first love and the love in the early part of relationship and love that lasts for years. He also says that the band has deep and long lasting love and that yes, men can love men. He says this next song is about the kind of love that is “ocean deep, long lasting love that surrounds you.”)

07. Amongst The Waves
08. Wishlist
09. Better Man/Save It For Later-(Charley, Cox, Morton, Steele, Wakeling)
10. Do The Evolution
11. Even Flow

(Ed reminds the audience that it is an election year and encourages everyone to vote and make sure they have the proper ID because some states have new voter ID laws. He also lists the kind of ID that will and won’t work. When he gets to gun registration ID working while student ID’s won’t the crowd cheers a little and some boos are heard as well. Ed says that “in Florida that comment got a much bigger reception. Florida and Arizona seem to be in some sort of bizarre arms race with each other.” He then tells the audience that voting is your right.)

12. Know Your Rights-(Jones, Strummer)
13. Nothingman
14. Supersonic
15. Jeremy
16. Porch

(During Porch Ed goes down into the pit and runs along the front and up the center barricades)

Encore Break 1

(Ed says they are going to play as long as they will let them. He thanks Gus for putting on the festival and is happy that back after not being around for a few years.)

17. Crazy Mary-(Williams)

(During Crazy Mary Ed goes down by the barricade again. He also playfully messes with one of the video screen cameramen)

18. Given To Fly-(dedicated to a friend of Mike McCready’s named Steve Gleason)

(Ed mentions that “many of the songs we wrote and recorded were done right here in Atlanta with local hero Brendan O’Brien who is here tonight and is a great friend. This is what we secretly call him behind his back. The Fixer”)

19. The Fixer
20. Rearviewmirror

Encore Break 2

(Ed thanks the audience for behaving so well. He points out a young boy that is down in front and comments that if kids and small women can be down in front and be okay it says a lot about the audience taking care of each other. He then, jokingly, asks the boy if he would like some wine, Ed goes onto to thank all of the friends they have acquired over the years the band has been together. He also thanks the local crew that worked the festival and the bands long time touring crew. He says the band has been together for a long time and it speaks to their friendship that have never broken up or had really hateful arguments. He introduces the band and says he hates to repeat a story but he wants to tell the story about watching PJ20 with a friend who commented that “Jeff Ament is such a bad ass” and Ed couldn’t agree more.)

21. Unthought Known
22. Black
23. Alive
(Ed says. “they tell us we only have two minutes left so we are going to play this as fast as we can.)
24. Rockin’ In The Free World-(Young)

That said, I have to say this was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and that I’ll definitely do that again as soon as possible. We loved the Festival (even though they rushed PJ out because of public transportation hours – hey, people, you JUST DON’T DO THAT. We’d rather walk home and have a couple more songs!) and the city of Atlanta (can you believe that Georgia Aquarium thing??).

Some pictures and videos follow:

Eddie Vedder at Music Midtown Festival, Atlanta-GA. Picture by Fernando Bartelle

See more of my pictures at


So, Pearl Jam was, obviously, the higher high of these 10 days. It was the reason why it all happened, it was the main motivation in getting together with many amazing, unforgettable people, it was in the bottle of beer I got from my dear friend Joe, it was in the music we shared while having lunch with Maddie and Jay, it was on the radio we listened to on our long ways from the hotel to the city… I just have to thank Pearl Jam once again.

See you all around very soon!




By Priscila Roque – Born in 1982, she’s a Portuguese-descendent Brazilian post graduate in Cultural Journalism who discovered Pearl Jam at 13. Since then, 14 shows were attended in several cities around the world such as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Berlin, Lisbon and London.

English version by Fernando Bartelle – @fbartelle –

He’s lost his father, who he barely knew, during his teens and directed his displeasure towards the leadership of one of the most loved bands on the rock scene from the last twenty years. PRISCILA ROQUE explains how paternity issues echoed on the professional trajectory of a musician famous for his political approach with Pearl Jam, but who also claims for a pure love while composing soundtracks. Who is the real Eddie Vedder after all?


Lessons of life and family issues, two of the most cliché movie themes may also be unusual subjects when connected to this rock star who surfaced in the beginning of the 90s. Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam’s frontman, created hits that concerned, mostly, political issues or depressive, rebellious feelings, exactly the same themes that molded the grunge movement on that decade. However, besides the group, still in action, Vedder – as opposed to fellow Americans Kurt Cobain (Nirvana lead singer, passed in 1994), Layne Staley (Alice in Chains frontman, who died in 2002), or Chris Cornell (Soungarden) – drafted a side career as a lyricist and soundtrack performer. The highlight of this tendency is that most songs are dedicated to movies which try to show human values.


Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam’s voice since 1991, had a complicated childhood and carries a tough family background. Registered by his step father as a baby, he didn’t know his biological father. In fact he had already seen him once, despite not knowing about it. And, like in the movies, he only found out the guy was his father when he passed away due to multiple sclerosis. Eddie was then a teenager. The man was Edward Louis Severson, Jr., a musician from San Diego. A little before his father’s death, Eddie – who adopted his mother’s last name Vedder – got his first guitar. Influenced by The Who’s songs, he started dedicating himself to the instrument, which he referred to as his only company at the time.

By the end of the 80s he joined the band Bad Radio, with whom he recorded Better Man – song to be a hit with Pearl Jam as a single of the album Vitalogy in 1995. During the shooting of VH1’s show Storytellers, the musician revealed he composed the song while still on school. On several Pearl Jam shows he also stated it was about the man his mother had married. “Memories back when she was bold and strong / And waiting for the world to come along / Swears she knew it, now she swears he’s gone / She lies and says she’s in love with him / Can’t find a better man” he tells us in one of the passages.

In 1983 Vedder got involved with Beth Liebling, whom he would marry eleven years later. Some people say this relationship also rendered strong inspiration to his work with Pearl Jam. However, love lyrics weren’t a highlight in the group’s career back then. In 2000 the couple broke up and, from then on, an intense change was perceptible on his lyrics and musical style. Among political compositions, that Pearl Jam never let aside, Eddie, by the time of the divorce, started playing the Hawaiian instrument ukelele (originated from the ‘cavaquinho’ took by Portuguese people to Hawaii) and thus composing some songs that would mark a new moment for himself and the band. Can’t Keep, that would make Pearl Jam’s Riot Act record in 2002, and Broken Hearted, part of his second solo album Ukelele Songs in 2011, came. The feeling of rupture is clear on the latter: “I’m alright, it’s just tonight / I can’t play the part / I’m alright, it’s alright / It’s just one broken heart”.

Now, being 47 years old, he’s a father of two girls, Olivia (born in 2004, she can be seen on the Immagine in Cornice DVD) and Harper (name “borrowed” from Ben Harper, Eddie’s good friend, born in 2008) and sealed his union with  model Jill McCormick. What can be referred to as the musician’s “second moment”, started at the beginning of this century, provided Pearl Jam with a new identity and several contributions to movie soundtracks. Whilst his name was recalled for contributions on Singles (by Cameron Crowe, 1992), a movie about Seattle’s youth routine, or The Basketball Diaries (by Scott Kalvert, 1995), inspired by the punk controversy of Jim Carroll, Vedder opted for a diversion going to movies like I Am Sam (by Jessie Nelson, 2001), a story about the relationship between a mentally challenged father and his daughter, or Big Fish (by Tim Burton, 2003), which speaks of a father and son trying to make amends towards the end of the road.


Grunge was born in the end of the 80s, but would only become popular at the beginning of the following decade. Bands such as The Melvins, Mudhoney, Green River and Mother Love Bone, that showed rebelliousness in dark and pessimistic lyrics (sometimes privileging the strength of a single word) sang through dirty, less refined notes, flowed against the forces of hard rock, popular in the 80s, which was based upon the glam looks (tight clothes, shaped hairstyles, makeup) and mixed compositions of love and orgies – cases of Kiss, Whitesnake, Mötley Crüe and Bon Jovi.

After the death of Mother Love Bone’s singer Andy Wood (caused by a heroin overdose), bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard joined singer Chris Cornell and drummer Matt Cameron, from Soundgarden, to create the Temple of the Dog, a tribute project to the deceased friend. Eddie Vedder joins the scene then, recommended by Jack Irons, Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s drummer at the time, together with young guitarist Mike McCready. The harmony was remarkable in a way that, after the project’s only album was released in 1991 and the members of Soundgarden were back on the road, the others stood together and formed Pearl Jam.

The three songs to mark the foundation of the band are Alive, Once and Footsteps. They had been sent to Eddie Vedder without any lyrics as an “admission test”. Rumor has it that Vedder left for a surfing session and came back with the lyrics, extremely personal, ready to go.

When questioned about their thoughts after the first recordings with the singer, all other band members are unanimous to say: Eddie is intense. He sang his familiar traumas, sometimes as a whisper, sometimes at the top of his lungs, like if the pain was coming from the inside. These three compositions merge his own story with that of a serial killer, making a whole plot. However, even though approved, they weren’t listed in their original order in the band’s first album, Ten. Once would open the record while Alive was chosen as the first single, and Footsteps became a B-side on the Jeremy single.

In Zurich, during a concert in 1992, Eddie Vedder would tell the crowd about the strong relation between the three songs and how they composed a trilogy called Mamasan. “The next three songs… We’ve never really played them together, but they go together. You wanna hear about it? I’ve never told anybody about this before. I don’t wanna ruin any interpretations of the songs that you have, but it’s about incest and it’s about murder…. The third song takes place in a jail cell so this is our own little mini-opera here”.

In the beginning of their career, Pearl Jam were just a little short of releasing an album a year. Ten (1991), Vs (1993) and Vitalogy (1994) marked the band’s first moment, with compositions regarding reality, even the political one, always pierced by revolt. Even Flow, another song from the first album, talks about life on the streets. “I thought I’d throw in a bit of street education while you still have an open mind. Right across the street there’s a little homeless community that lives under the bridge. You should just know that those people ain’t all crazy and sometimes it’s not their fault”, Vedder would say before playing Even Flow at Bayfront Amphitheater, Miami in 1994.

Vitalogy unveiled a new language that would become a constant in the form the band shows their work: more refined and well though artwork to complement the music. The record itself was inspired by an antique book of life being faithful in many senses, including the format. It brought, along with body sketches and home-made recipes, Pearl Jam’s third studio album on its last page.

The next albums came at two-year intervals: No Code (1996), Yield (1998) and Binaural (2000). All of them have sophisticated artwork on digipack boxing. This is the moment when the band surrendered to experimentalism, floating afar from fellow Seattleites. Folk, Blues and World Music “contaminated” some compositions that kept, however, their hard guitar notes. Do the Evolution, released in 1998, brought the band back to the parades, once again with harsh words about our society and its reality, anticipating the problematic beginning of the 21st century: “I am ahead, I am advanced / I am the first mammal to make plans / I crawled the earth but now I’m high / (…) It´s evolution”.

Riot Act, the seventh studio album, hit the stores in 2002 bringing along news to the band. Keyboard player Boom Gaspar was invited to join Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder adopted the ukulele in several compositions. Love Boat Captain launches a more open form of speaking about love. The lyrics are dedicated to the nine fans who died at a Pearl Jam concert during Roskilde Festival (in 2000). Eddie Vedder sings “Lost nine friends we’ll never know / Two years ago today”. In the end, All You Need is Love, by The Beatles, is remembered: “I know it’s already been sung / Can’t be said enough / Love is all you need / All you need is love”. On an interview to the Baltimore Sun, in 2002, the frontman explains “It feels a little strange talking about love that openly, but if you can’t do it now, when can you do it? Love is one resource that the corporations aren’t going to be able to monopolize. Which means there’s hope for us human beings yet.”

The eighth and ninth studio albums from Pearl Jam, released in 2006 and 2009, respectively, are part of the band’s independent era. Political lyrics pledge against war and the government of George W. Bush. World Wide Suicide (2006) is an incitement: “It’s a shame to awake in a world of pain / What does it mean when a war has taken over? / (…) World over, it’s a worldwide suicide”.

During an interview to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, in 2009, Eddie Vedder said that the band’s latest studio album, titled Backspacer, contained songs with lyrics inspired by the 2004 American elections. “The night Obama was elected, I wanted to dance on the street. The day after was special. It was a dry, clear day in Seattle, people were happy and the few who hadn’t voted for him were spotted at first glance: sad, disappointed, pathetic“, said the singer; the new found hope oriented the album’s compositions. That becomes clear during The Fixer: “Fight to get it back again”.

The drummer subject is another relevant topic in the band’s trajectory. Up until Matt Cameron, who joined the band in 2000 being a former Soundgarden member, Dave Krusen, Matt Chamberlein, Dave Abbruzzese and Jack Irons rotated as members of the group.


“It’s a mystery to me / We have a greed with which we have agreed / And you think you have to want more than you need / Until you have it all you won’t be free / Society, you’re a crazy breed / Hope you’re not lonely / Without me”. With these words Eddie Vedder sings, in Society, his version to the story of Christopher McCandless, a young man in his early twenties who couldn’t conform to the values of society living his youth in the early nineties. His goal was to find a place where men and other animals could live in complete harmony with nature. He wanted to survive solely of what his hands could provide him with. Producing without sacrificing others, no destruction for consumption. The short path he chose to be his inspired the book Into the Wild, written by Jon Krakauer in 1998 and, later, the homonymous movie directed by Sean Penn that hit the theaters in 2007. Connected to Vedder by a strong complicity, Penn elected his friend to compose and produce the soundtrack to his motion picture. The musician’s words not only worked as a new narrative to the movie, but also as his first solo album.

The recognition of Into the Wild came naturally. Eddie Vedder succeeded to solidify himself as a soundtrack lyricist, and sprinkled his own style on Pearl Jam’s following studio album Backspacer. Part of the latter, the song Just Breathe resembles the melodies in Tuolumne and Guaranteed. All of them start with a soft guitar strum, inspiration from the Into the Wild work.

In the beginning of 2010, a song called Better Days surfaced, without warning, on the internet. Nobody knew, then, where it came from and if it could be, eventually, a B-Side from Pearl Jam’s last album. The answer came a while later with the release of a trailer to Eat, Pray, Love (by Ryan Murphy, 2010). The movie, headlined by Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem is based on a homonymous bestseller book by Elizabeth Gilbert, that talks about the pleasure of gastronomy, the power of praying and the balance of true love. “My love is safe for the universe / See me now I’m bursting / On one planet so many turns / Different worlds / (…) The future’s paved with better days”, says the main song from the soundtrack. The thematic is a little off what was already known with Pearl Jam. However, it highlights a curious connection between the subjects of every movie Eddie Vedder has accepted to be a part of throughout his career: life lessons.

His debut as a lyricist of soundtracks is very far away from the love thematic. In 1992, two Pearl Jam songs were put on SinglesState of Love and Trust and Breath. Eddie even played a small part in the movie as the drummer from a Seattle grunge band. There, the songs channeled all of grunge’s style, both on the lyrics and the music, due to the fact that the movie was about a familiar reality to Pearl Jam and other rock stars – rebelliousness, depression and suicide. “Trigger shakes aimed right at my head / Won’t you help me?”, says one of the songs. The Basketball Diaries wasn’t any different. This 1995 movie is a type of punk revolt inspired by Jim Carroll’s autobiography. Pearl Jam contributed covering one of Carroll’s biggest hits, Catholic Boy, with a Runaways-influenced course of dirty guitar riffs and screamed lyrics coming right from the end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s. Up to this point the band’s relationship with motion pictures was strictly musical, since the stories circled around other rocker’s lives.

Dead Man Walking (1996), directed by Tim Robbins and starred by Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, gives us some clues as to how Eddie Vedder’s soundtrack career effectively started. A friend of Tim’s, Susan’s and Sean’s, Vedder was invited to compose specifically to the movie staged in Louisiana, which tells the story of a nun (Sarandon) becoming the spiritual guide of a man (Penn) about to be executed for murdering two young people. The musician contributed Long Road and sang Face of Love, written by Pakistani Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Pearl Jam’s frontman never considered himself a poet, but claims to be sensitive to the point of perceiving what’s around him in order to transform that into music. Long Road is like a report from a person approaching the end of life. “I will walk the long road / We all walk the long road…” he says, towards the end, leaving us the comfort of knowing we will all have the same end.

Curious it is to realize that Long Road was even chosen as the background in two other occasions. After the terrorist attacks to the twin towers in New York in 2001, some musicians gathered to produce the show Tribute to Heroes and raise funds to the ones who suffered with the tragedy. Eddie Vedder was present and sang Long Road along with Neil Young, dedicated to those who paid with their lives. Long Road was also requested by Ryan Murphy to be a part of Eat, Pray, Love.

The friendship between Eddie Vedder and Tim Robbins resulted, as well, on a fun duet with Susan Sarandon. Vedder was called to record a song with the actress for the movie Cradle Will Rock (by Tim Robbin, 1999). The plot, centered in the 30s, reflects directly on the musical style of the duet, named Croon Spoon.

Paternity-related subjects were always present in the musician’s life. Before the 2000s, Pearl Jam compositions made that clear. After the beginning of the new millennium, Eddie Vedder became a father. Around that time, he got an invitation from Jessie Nelson, director of I Am Sam, to record a cover of The Beatles’ You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away. Fittingly, the plot has Sean Penn (again!) playing a mentally challenged father fighting for his daughter’s custody. The John Lennon song (signed Lennon/McCartney as it was habitual with The Beatles), got a new interpretation on this film. “ If she’s gone, I can’t go on / Feeling two-foot small / Everywhere people stare / Each and every day / I can see them laugh at me / And I hear them say” – those could very well be the main character’s words, feeling excluded by society.

In 2003, the subject was once again a part of Eddie Vedder’s life. Tim Burton, another of the musician’s close friends, showed him an early draft of his latest production, Big Fish. He, then, asked for a Pearl Jam song. The movie was intense to the singer, since he was facing a son and a father trying to come close to each other with the impending death of the latter. Eddie Vedder vanished for two days, wrote the song, and then met with the band with everything ready. The result was Man of the Hour, which appears on the credits, after the final scene of son holding father’s body on his arms. A perfect goodbye: “And the road the old man paved / The broken seams along the way / The rusted signs, left just for me / He was guiding me, love, his own way / Now the man of the hour is taking his final bow / As the curtain comes down / I feel that this is just goodbye for now”. This song had such a great impact on Vedder’s life that, years later, he would take it to the stages after the death of his good friend Johnny Ramone. Before playing it, Eddie mentioned the musician and replaced the word “father” with “Johnny”.


Life lessons, like the tribute to a good old friend or the story of someone shattered by war, were constant during Eddie Vedder’s career. In 2007 he was called to perform The Who’s Love Reign O’er Me, for the homonymous movie by Mike Binder. As the song titled the movie, it’s there on both bands’ versions, reinforcing the theme of love. In the story, the September 11 attacks once again touch Vedder, since one of the characters suffers for having lost her family in the tragedy and finds on a friend a new reason for living. On this same year, Eddie met Tomas Young, a young soldier gunshot wounded in Iraq who becomes paralytic and whose story of difficult adaptation to his “new body” is told in the movie Body of War (by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro, 2007). Inspired by this story, Vedder wrote No More, a protest song. “I speak for a man who gave for this land / Took a bullet in the back for his pay / Spilled his blood in the dirt and the dust / And he’s come back to say / That what he has seen is hard to believe / And it does no good to just pray / He asks of us to stand / And we must end this war today / With his mind he’s saying NO MORE / With his heart he’s saying NO MORE / With his life he’s saying NO MORE WAR”.

The path walked by the musician, parallel to Pearl Jam, did not cross these subjects alone. Away from war or family crisis, life lessons important to him, Eddie Vedder also contributed to surfing soundtracks, being the sport one of his biggest passions. Here we have the songs Goodbye composed especially for the documentary A Breakdown Melody (by Chris Malloy, 2004), entirely played on the ukulele, and Big Wave, recorded by Pearl Jam for their eighth studio album and given to animation movie Surf’s Up (by Ash Brannon and Chris Buck, 2007).

I’m Not There (by Todd Haynes, 2007) also had a Vedder contribution. For this motion picture, a sui generis biography of Bob Dylan, Eddie re-recorded All Along the Watchtower, a song that was covered by several artists, besides Dylan himself, but better known on its Jimi Hendrix version.

Three other movies also had Pearl Jam songs, although not original tracks; only songs given to the respective soundtracks. They are: Not For You for the documentary Hype! (about the 90s Seattle scene, by Doug Pray, 1996); Who You Are and Hard to Imagine for Chicago Cab (by Mary Cybulski and John Tintori, 1997) and Go for Remember Me (by Alan Coulter, 2010). These songs had more secondary roles to the movies as opposed to their original album recordings.

Observing these 21 years of Eddie Vedder’s professional career, it’s possible to see that the old story about his father, though seemingly rusted and on a distant past, is more present than one could realize at first thought. During the last decade of the 20th century, Eddie shows an intense revolt with the paternity issue; later it’s clear how he changes and matures, when the pain transforms into love. And that’s something to witness on both the nature of his songs and the movies in which he was involved.


“and now I rub my eyes, for (they) have returned”


Tomorrow six months will have passed since the closing of Pearl Jam’s tour in Brazil. It was the second time their world tour was passing through our country and the second time we had a chance to attend some concerts. Coincidentally or not, both years were not exactly easy financially speaking, so there was no way we could tour around the country with them. Which I would blindly do given any remote chance.

In 2005 I was an active member of Ten Club, so both I and my wife Fernanda got special tickets that weren’t that special in the end. We attended the Porto Alegre gig and then one of the Sao Paulo nights. The shows were awesome, of course and, even though we would relive the whole setlist many times later through the boots and the pictures, the experience itself was over with the last notes.

In 2011 I was not an active member of Ten Club and I had been a little sloppy with my true obsession with Pearl Jam for a while. I had become an adult and needed to pay the bills. I somewhat stopped listening to music altogether and became unconsciously a less happy person because of that. When the tour was announced, though, the old spark was lit and my passion was back like it had never left. In fact it had never left me, not even for a minute.

We only had enough funds to attend our home town show, the last of the tour. Every Pearl Jam fan knows that the closing gigs are always special, so I was almost OK with that. But weeks before they arrived to Brazil I got to know I was needed in Rio for my job, and I’d be there on the day of the show. When it comes to fanaticism we don’t measure our acts, so I managed to buy a student’s half-priced entrance (the only one available at that moment) and, since my wife wasn’t with me, called a local friend to have some company. The concert was magical as you can read on a previous post from the time:

Back in Porto Alegre, we couldn’t wait for them to come. My wife Fernanda was the founder of Pearl Jam’s first Fan Club in Brazil back in 1991, so she had some sleeping fanaticism of her own to go along. We took my younger sister with us and made her “PJ Conversion” official. The concert was on 11.11.11, a special day in every mean. Even more because in September is our anniversary.

To celebrate our 12 years together, we booked a table at Sheraton for breakfast. Being the same hotel PJ had stayed back in 2005, we hoped to at least see them. It was a lot better. When we were finishing our 2-hour-long breakfast, Stone Gossard was suddenly two tables to the left. I went over there, thanked him for the show and all the good moments throughout the years and got him to sign my ticket. No pictures, though, they kindly asked me.

After some more time, and since none of the others came, we went downstairs and waited for them in the lobby. After about half an hour Boom Gaspar came down. Another chat and autograph. We decided to split, so I went outside and Fernanda stayed inside. When the band was leaving, Fernanda asked Eddie Vedder for a picture, kindly taken by a security guy with her cellphone. Mike McCready took a picture of us people on the outside (later to be published on his twitter account) and Ed shook our hands for some minutes, thanking each and every one of the fans for their presence.

A truly magical week, and a day we will never forget. Some of the registered moments are attached to this post as to illustrate how grown-ups can easily go back to being teenagers for some time. And be damn proud of that! Cheers and Rock On!

After the show, with the newly acquired T-Shirt

The ticket with Stone’s and Boom’s autographs

Eddie Vedder heading for the van and airport

Picture taken by Mike McCready