EDDIE VEDDER Biography - Musicians

 
 

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EDDIE VEDDER

Name: Edward Louis Severson III                                                           
Born: December 23, 1964 Evanston, Illinois, U.S.                                           
                                                                                           
Associated acts Pearl Jam, Surf and Destroy, The Butts, Indian Style,                     
Bad Radio, Temple of the Dog, Hovercraft, The What, C Average, Neil                       
Finn and Friends                                                                           
                                                                                           
Eddie Vedder (born December 23, 1964) is the lead singer and one of three                 
guitarists for the rock band Pearl Jam. He is notable for his deep baritone               
vocal style, and for being a cultural icon of alternative rock.                           
                                                                                           
Vedder was born Edward Louis Severson III in the Chicago suburb of Evanston,               
Illinois, the son of Karen Lee (nĂŠe Vedder) and Edward Louis Severson, Jr.               
His parents divorced in 1965, when Eddie was a year old. His mother soon                   
remarried a man named Peter Mueller, and young Eddie was raised believing that             
Mueller was his biological father.                                                         
                                                                                           
In the mid-1970s, the family, including Vedder's three younger half-brothers,             
moved to San Diego County, California. It was at this point that Eddie, who had           
received a guitar from his mother on his 12th birthday, began turning to music             
as a source of comfort. His mother and Mueller divorced when Eddie was in his             
late teens. His mother and brothers moved back to the Chicago area, but Eddie             
remained with his stepfather in California so he would not have to change high             
schools.                                                                                   
                                                                                           
It was not until after the divorce that Eddie learned the truth about his                 
parentage. Mueller was really his stepfather. Eddie had met his biological                 
father briefly as a child, but had believed that Severson was merely an old               
friend of his parents. By the time Eddie learned the truth, Severson had died of           
multiple sclerosis. (This is expressed in the song "Alive" on the album Ten.)             
Eddie's already bad relationship with his stepfather became increasingly                   
strained. He eventually dropped out of San Dieguito High School and joined the             
rest of his family in Chicago. He also changed his name to Eddie Vedder, "Vedder"         
being his mother's maiden name.                                                           
                                                                                           
In 1984, Vedder returned to San Diego with his girlfriend, Beth Liebling. He               
kept busy recording demo tapes at his home and working various jobs, including             
positions as a night attendant at a local gas station and a contracted security           
guard at the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla.                                               
                                                                                           
Vedder had several stints in San Diego area bands. One included future Rage               
Against the Machine and Audioslave drummer Brad Wilk. Another one was a Red               
Hot Chili Peppers cover/tribute band. In 1988, the rather shy singer became               
the vocalist for the San Diego progressive funk-rock band Bad Radio. During his           
time with Bad Radio he premiered the song "Better Man", a song based on the               
relationship between his mother and his stepfather. This song would later become           
a hit for Pearl Jam.                                                                       
                                                                                           
After leaving Bad Radio in 1990, Vedder's friend and former Red Hot Chili                 
Peppers drummer Jack Irons gave him a demo tape from a band in Seattle that was           
looking for a singer. Vedder recorded vocals for three of the songs, which later           
became Pearl Jam's "Alive", "Once", and "Footsteps". Vedder wrote the song                 
lyrics as a mini-opera which he called the "Mamasan trilogy". The songs tell the           
story of a young man who, like Vedder, learns that he had been lied to about his           
paternity and that his real father is dead ("Alive"). He grows up to become a             
serial killer ("Once"), and is eventually imprisoned and sentenced to death ("Footsteps"). 
                                                                                           
After hearing the tape, guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament invited             
Vedder to come to Seattle to audition for the band that soon became Pearl Jam.             
They were instantly impressed with his unique sound. Very soon after joining               
Pearl Jam, even before recording Ten, Vedder was brought in to provide backing             
vocals on the Temple of the Dog album, a tribute to late Mother Love Bone singer           
Andrew Wood that featured members of both Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.