Although most of us are familiar
with Eddie Vedder the songwriter, the origins of this enigma are relatively
unknown. Where did it all come from? What were his influences ? What did
his first songs sound like? What were they about?
Eddie's musical influences in the past were very diverse. Motown, punk,
and classic rock were all a part of his life growing up. His primary musical
taste as a kid was the punk rock coming out of England in the late seventies.
The Sex Pistols, Ramones, Black Flag were all big influences. While other
people were listening to Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, etc., Eddie was on
the punk side of the fence. However, there were a few exceptions to this;
primarily the Who. The Who played a huge role in Eddie's life while growing
up in Chicago and San Diego. The Tommy Boy and Quadrophenia albums simply
blew him away. Pete Townsend was a huge influence on his guitar playing
style and attitude, as well as Daltrey's stage presence and intensity.
Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend were not only role models to Eddie, but
they introduced him to a new way of life. A way to vent his frustrations
and anger of growing up without receiving the kind attention he wanted
and deserved. It was the ultimate catharsis; rock and roll.
In the eighties, Eddies musical taste turned to more of the commercial
rock and roll genre bands that released singles scoring high on the pop
charts. At that time, he was in awe of U2's Bono. He was Eddie's musical
mentor of the time, and he followed every move the band made. According
to Eddie, when he was younger he had the opportunity to meet Bono in a
hotel lobby in Chicago. Bono was so nice to him, and even gave him a hug
after they talked for a short time.
From the first day I met Eddie, all I would hear about was U2. In fact,
he would wear small U2 buttons with pictures of Bono on his dark leather
jacket. I remember laughing to myself when I first saw them. I thought
it was going a little too far; kind of like what a 12 year old girl would
wear to an early eighties Duran Duran concert. But hey, I think we all
did things in the 80's that we're embarrassed by!! He collected many magazines,
newspaper articles, and videos of the band. There was no question that
he was obsessed with the band.