Eddie Vedder biography
Born Edward Louis Severson III in Illinois in 1964, grunge rock icon Eddie Vedder formed the band Pearl Jam in 1990. Their first album, Ten, explored themes of depression and suicide, producing the hits "Alive," "Evenflow" and "Black." The band's 1994 tour was canceled in a battle with Ticketmaster over price inflation. Other notable albums include Vs. and Vitalogy, and other major hits include "Daughter" and "Jeremy."
Born Edward Louis Severson III on December 23, 1964, in Evanston, Illinois, Eddie Vedder had a tumultuous childhood. Raised in Chicago, Vedder was just 1 when his parents divorced. His mother quickly remarried and with her new husband ran a small orphanage out of their home. For many years Vedder was led to believe that his stepfather was his biological dad. The angst he felt when he finally discovered the truth fueled much of his later music, including the creation of one Pearl Jam's earliest hits, "Alive."
After dropping out of high school, Vedder adopted his mother's maiden name and moved to San Diego, where he soon immersed himself in Southern California's vibrant surfing scene. He also carried with him a passion for music—bands like the Sex Pistols, The Who, the Ramones and Black Flag were big influences—and Vedder became a fixture at a number of different nightclubs.
While living in San Diego Vedder was a part of several bands, including one called Bad Radio. But the groups never went anywhere.
Vedder was the last member to join the band that would become known as Pearl Jam. In the early 1990s, former Mother Love Bone guitarist Stone Gossard had started a new band that consisted of bassist Jeff Ament, lead guitarist Mike McCready and drummer Dave Krusen. The group still needed a singer. Needing lyrics for some music he and his bandmates had created, Gossard turned to Jack Irons, formerly of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Irons, who lived in Southern California and had become friends with Vedder, passed a demo tape of the group on to the prospective singer. Vedder set to work and composed three songs—"Alive," "Once" and "Footsteps"—to the music. When Gossard listened to Vedder's tape, he immediately called him and invited him up to Seattle to join the group.
Pearl Jam (named for Vedder's great-grandmother Pearl's famous homemade jam) released its first album, Ten, in 1991. The record featured a string of hits, including two of Vedder's original songs, "Alive" and "Once." In addition, it included a hit single, "Jeremy," which was accompanied by a dramatic video that quickly fell into heavy rotation on MTV and powered the album to the top of the charts.
Along with bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden, Pearl Jam blazed a new path for a growing contingent of grunge artists, bringing the genre to the forefront of America's youth culture. As it did, the group explored hard subjects like angst, depression and suicide, giving a voice to a new generation of teenagers and young adults known as Generation X.
Furthering their anti-mainstream stance, Pearl Jam refused to produce any videos for songs from their second release, Vs., which came out in 1993 and featured a new drummer, Dave Abbruzzese. In addition, the band's summer 1994 tour was canceled when the band entered into a heated battle over high ticket prices with Ticketmaster. The dispute was eventually settled in 1995 when the Justice Department sided with Ticketmaster.
The band's third album, Vitalogy, featured yet another new drummer, this time Vedder's friend Jack Irons. Just like the first two albums, the record quickly climbed to the top of the charts and was registered multiplatinum. In 1995 the band teamed up with Neil Young for a European tour. The tour was so successful that Pearl Jam collaborated with Young on his 1995 release, Mirror Ball.
With a relatively low profile, Pearl Jam continued to put out well-received albums throughout the late 1990s, including No Code in 1996, Yield and the live album Live on Two Legs in 1998, and Binaural in 2000. The band released its ninth studio album, Backspacer, in 2009.
Vedder has also contributed to several soundtracks and compilations, including the soundtracks for the films Dead Man Walking, I Am Sam and Into the Wild.
In addition to his musical projects, Eddie Vedder is active in several environmental and pro-choice causes.
In 1994, Vedder married Beth Liebling, co-founder of the Seattle-based experimental instrumental group Hovercraft. The couple divorced in 2000.
In 2010, Vedder married his longtime girlfriend, Jill McCormick, at a small ceremony in Hawaii. The guest list included Sean Penn and singer Jack Johnson. Vedder and McCormick are the parents of two girls, Olivia and Harper Moon.