What Eddie Vedder's Former Bandmates Have Said About Him

Eddie Vedder has been one of the most influential popular music figures in the world for more than 30 years. He was born on December 23, 1964, in Evanston, Illinois, before eventually moving to Southern California. It was there that he established himself as a talented singer with various local bands throughout the mid- to late 1980s. It was around this time that the Seattle grunge scene was kicking into high gear, and it wasn't long before Vedder was about to get in on the ground floor of a rock music revolution. Through his friend Jack Irons (a founding member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), he met guitarist Stone Gossard, who was looking for a singer for a new band he was putting together in the Emerald City. Gossard and the other band members were impressed with a demo tape Vedder sent them, and Pearl Jam was formed, soon becoming one of the biggest bands of the 1990s.

Even if Vedder had only ever played with Pearl Jam, his place in rock 'n' roll history would be secure. However, he's worked on a variety of projects throughout his career, both as a solo artist and as a contributor to other artists' works. Because of the wide range of endeavors he's been a part of, Vedder has collaborated with countless talented musicians. Over the years, many of these musicians have publicly talked about what it's like playing with the legendary singer.

Jeff Ament

Jeff Ament is one of the founding members of Pearl Jam. But before he and the band dominated the 1990s, he spent much of the 1980s laying the foundation for the Seattle grunge explosion. Ament was born March 10, 1963, in Big Sandy, Montana, started playing bass guitar while still a teen, and eventually moved to Seattle. It wasn't long before he joined Green River, a band whose sound influenced the growing alternative style that was still in its formative years, before moving on to Mother Love Bone with fellow bandmate, guitarist Stone Gossard. Mother Love Bone further developed the grunge sound with their 1990 release, "Apple," but it was Ament and Gossard's next band, Pearl Jam, that really brought the Seattle style to the masses.

Ament has branched out into other projects outside of Pearl Jam, such as playing in the band Three Fish and cultivating a solo career. However, Pearl Jam has always been his main gig, and Ament has maintained a close relationship with Eddie Vedder. He gave the Independent some insight into Vedder's immense musical talent and their unique collaborative process, saying, "If you're laying down a drum part or singing, singing in particular, the mastery of Ed, and what a poet he's become, and how good and how fast he is. You really start to understand how special of a guy he is."

Stone Gossard

Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard is a Seattle boy through and through, having been born there on July 20, 1966, and even attending the city's prestigious Northwest School. His early days saw him playing with numerous local bands who signified that the alternative rock movement was right around the corner, including the Ducky Boys, March of Crimes, and Green River, an especially impactful band during grunge's developmental era. The band didn't last long, but Gossard teamed with bandmate Jeff Ament to form Mother Love Bone, the short-lived supergroup Temple of the Dog, and ultimately Pearl Jam. Gossard has been with the iconic group since its inception but has dabbled in side projects, including his other band Brad, establishing his own record label, and striking out on his own as a solo act.

Gossard is an extremely talented and prolific musician, yet he still looks up to his longtime bandmate Eddie Vedder, whom he refers to as his "muse" in an interview with Kerrang, where he laments not being able to write more songs with him due to their differing creative approaches. "The way Ed really operates, the way that he loves to get music, is for something that's immediate for you coming in at a time when he's ready to connect with it. He likes to be in the process with you. So, if I send him 30 ideas, it's just too much information for him to manage; that's just not how his brain works."

Matt Cameron

Matt Cameron grew up in San Diego and got into drumming when he was only 9 years old. He eventually moved to Seattle, Washington, during the early days of the alternative and grunge scene that was growing there. The first serious band that he joined after his arrival in the Emerald City was Skin Yard, with whom he recorded a full album. However, his first long-term gig was playing drums for Soundgarden, and together they helped crystallize the grunge sound and bring it to the masses with a string of hit albums, including "Badmotorfinger," "Superunknown," and "Down on the Upside." Even though Soundgarden disbanded in 1997, Cameron embarked on a series of varied projects, such as starting the band Wellwater Conspiracy and appearing on the solo albums of Geddy Lee and Tony Iommi.

Cameron eventually returned to his grunge roots when he joined Pearl Jam in the late 1990s, appearing on every album they've released since. While playing for one of the biggest rock bands of all time may be a daunting proposition, Cameron told Seattle Today that it was actually a fairly easy transition into Pearl Jam's ranks, largely due to the kindness of Eddie Vedder. "Eddie was just a total sweetheart. Still is, you know? He was just so welcoming. I mean, they all were, but he really wanted to make sure that I was good." That's pretty nice of Vedder to do that, especially considering the band tends to play musical chairs with drummers.

Jerry Hannan

Jerry Hannan is a folk rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist who first made a name for himself as half of the Mad Hannans, a duo that he formed with his late brother Sean in 1996. While cultivating a reputation as a solo musical artist, Hannan also ventured into film and theater, largely due to a friendship he struck up with Sean Penn. The song "DaDaDa" from his 2003 album, "Sounds Like a Story," was featured in Penn's movie "The Pledge," and the two even acted alongside one another in Sam Shepard's play "The Late Henry Moss."

Penn also reached out to Hannan to write a song for his 2007 film "Into the Wild." The song, "Society," featured the musical talents of Vedder, who also wrote most of the film's soundtrack and actually performed every song. In an interview with Rob Janicke, Hannan recounts how he received a call from Penn telling him that Vedder liked his song and was told to fly to Seattle right away to record. While the meeting between the two musicians was a little slow-moving at first, the recording session went incredibly smoothly. "His voice sounded so great in my headphones, I couldn't believe it," said Hannan. "We really only worked for 15–20 minutes. It was probably the smoothest, easiest recording of a song I've ever done... Then we went and sang songs in a local dive bar, trading off with the $50 nylon string guitar I had brought up to record the song."

Dave Krusen

Hailing from Gig Harbor, Washington, the young Dave Krusen picked up drums because of his love of classic rock bands like the Who and Led Zeppelin. He played with local musicians as a teenager, but his first big break came in 1990 when he was asked to join a little band that had just formed in Seattle called Pearl Jam. The following year saw them unleash their first album, "Ten," and it soon became a huge hit as part of the grunge phenomenon that had caught the world off-guard. Krusen's time with the band didn't last long, but he kept himself busy with stints in other bands like Hovercraft, Diamond Star Halo, and Candlebox.

Krusen remembers the first time he met Eddie Vedder quite clearly, telling Rolling Stone that, "I was very surprised to hear such a massive voice. As soon as he started singing I was struck by the uniqueness of his voice... He was right into the fire. It was like, 'Nice to meet you. Here we go.' My impression of him right off the bat was that he was a really hard worker, a great voice, and a cool dude." While Krusen only recorded one album with Pearl Jam, his contributions to the band were immortalized when he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with them in 2017, and even hit the stage with them in 2022 when their drummer at the time, Matt Cameron, contracted COVID-19.

Boom Gaspar

Boom Gaspar's path from laid-back Hawaii-based keyboardist to playing with one of the biggest rock bands in the world is a surprising one. Born into a musical family, he picked up the keyboard while young and dove into R&B and blues. Gaspar's first big break came in the 1970s when he performed with legendary bluesman Albert Collins in Seattle. But he soon returned to his more humble life in Hawaii, playing with a variety of local acts, most notably the Mackey Feary Band. It was several decades before Gaspar got his next taste of stardom; he struck up a friendship with CJ Ramone — who lived on and off in Hawaii at the time — who introduced him to his friend Eddie Vedder.

The two musicians hit it off, and their jam sessions soon led to Vedder asking Gaspar to join Pearl Jam. Gaspar was more than happy to accept the offer, but the funny thing is, he didn't even know who Pearl Jam was. In an interview with the Honolulu Advertiser, Gaspar said he agreed to join the band not because he wanted to become famous, but because he thought Vedder was a cool dude, saying, "I thought he was a swell guy. We kept acquainted from time to time at the surf spot and enjoyed each other's company... I knew him as my friend Eddie. I didn't know how big he was. I just loved him for how he was ... and how he came off to us."

Corin Tucker

It seems that, from a young age, Corin Tucker was destined to become one of the vanguards of the Riot Grrrl movement, the early-1990s trend that blended indie rock with feminism and politics. She was born on November 9, 1972, in Eugene, Oregon, to a progressive family, with a father who dabbled in music and had a vinyl collection that ranged from socially conscious artists like Bob Dylan to rabble-rousing acts like the Velvet Underground. Tucker became a musician herself and played in a band with her high school friends, eventually immersing herself in the Olympia, Washington, college music scene. It was there that she met Carrie Brownstein; the two frequently jammed together before forming Sleater-Kinney, one of the most important indie rock bands of the last 25 years.

The Riot Grrrl movement took place concurrently with the nearby grunge movement, so it's no surprise that Tucker would team up with Eddie Vedder at some point. The two sang together on John Doe's 2008 EP "The Golden State," and Tucker handled background vocal duties on Vedder's soundtrack for "Into the Wild." In her interview with AfterEllen, Tucker opened up about her frustrations dealing with fame and how Vedder helped her cope, saying that "touring with Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam helped with that experience. Eddie is one of the most famous people I can think of and he was so gracious with people and understands that role very well. I think that helps."

Andrew Watt

Andrew Watt is something of a wunderkind. As a guitarist, record producer, singer, and songwriter, he's established himself as both a legitimate solo artist and a collaborator of some of the biggest names in the music business, and the guy hasn't even achieved middle age yet. After years of developing his talents, Watt ended up in the supergroup California Breed with singer-bassist Glenn Hughes (of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath fame), drummer Joey Castillo (formerly of Queens of the Stone Age), and later drummer Jason Bonham, the son of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. His skills as a producer are also respected, winning him a Grammy Award for "Producer of the Year, Non-Classical" in 2021.

Considering how much Watt's achieved in his still-young music career, it's no wonder he caught the attention of veteran singer Eddie Vedder. The grunge icon tapped Watt to produce and contribute some of his musical prowess to his 2022 solo outing, "Earthling," and Watt was even brought on as part of the album's touring band. Of course, for all his expertise, Watt still absorbed quite a bit of wisdom from Vedder, telling Variety that, "The way he lives his life is something I hope I can achieve one day. I learned so much about patience and craft. He taught me a lot about what I'd call liftoffs — when a song just seems to keep getting better and more euphoric and reaching for higher landings."

Glen Hansard

Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, Glen Hansard was so musically talented at a young age that even his teacher instructed him to forget about his studies and pursue a creative career. He honed his talent as a performer and songwriter on the streets, eventually recording a demo that led to signing a deal with Island Records. While his first two albums weren't massive sellers, they did help Hansard and his band, the Frames, cultivate a loyal following that's persisted for decades. Hansard achieved more mainstream success with a separate career as an actor, culminating in the lead role in the 2007 film "Once," for which he won an Oscar for the song "Falling Slowly," with Markéta Irglová.

Eddie Vedder may be more established as a hard rock musician thanks to his time in Pearl Jam, but his side projects have seen him venture into more folk-oriented territory, making him a natural creative partner for Hansard. The two teamed up to provide some songs for Sean Penn's 2021 film "Flag Day," and Hansard joined Vedder's touring band to support his 2022 solo album, "Earthling." Their friendship started when, after a fan died by suicide at a concert Hansard was performing at, Vedder reached out to him to offer some consolation; Hansard told the Independent that "he just wanted to know if I was OK, which was incredibly kind of him. We spoke for an hour each night for a week. He's a beautiful soul, Eddie, really deep. He's helped me."

Eddie Spaghetti

Eddie Spaghetti is primarily known as the bassist and frontman for the Supersuckers, who developed a devoted following for their unique blend of hard rock, punk, and country. The band came together in Tucson, Arizona, in 1988 but relocated to Seattle where the local music scene was far more hospitable to independent rock bands. Though the Supersuckers experienced their fair share of ups and downs throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, they always maintained their fanbase, even when they took a hiatus as Spaghetti embarked on a solo career. One of the highlights of their career was teaming up with Eddie Vedder for a cover of "Poor Girl" by the punk band X for 2000's "Free the West Memphis 3," a compilation album whose sales benefited the legal defense of the West Memphis Three.

Spaghetti has remained friendly with Vedder since then, and he has even recounted how the Pearl Jam singer supported him during his fight with throat cancer and made sure he received high-quality treatment. In a 2016 interview with Louder, Spaghetti said, "No one has been more supportive than Eddie Vedder... He was really concerned about the treatment I was getting because it's my throat, which is my livelihood, and I'm really grateful to him for coming out and sticking his neck out for me. It's not like I hit up, he just did it."