Eddie Vedder Explains Why Grunge Was So Dark With Chris Cornell’s Daughter Lily
On what would've been Chris Cornell's 56th birthday, his daughter Lily Cornell Silver launched a series called Mind Wide Open, which features guests discussing mental health and related topics. Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder was the guest on her most recent episode, and he shed a bit of light on why grunge artists had such dark themes in their songs.
Cornell was a very close friend of Vedder's, and he's been a familial figure to Silver throughout her life. They've still remained close after the passing of her father in 2017, so this episode in her series was a very special one. He shared stories of the two singers traveling into the woods in the middle of the night, of the night Pearl Jam learned Silver was born right before they went onstage and more.
Guns N' Roses' Duff McKagan was another recent guest on Silver's show, and Vedder agreed with some of the points he had made about the height of success being some of the toughest times for artists, when logically, you'd think it would be the opposite.
"Your dad, we talk about music or art as a release or a place where, I think they call it homeostasis, where you can get to that level of just feeling energized and clear of mind," Vedder reflected to Silver. "Obviously he had the music, and those are some dark lyrics. Kurt [Cobain]'s lyrics, there are some dark lyrics. Layne [Staley]'s lyrics, there were some dark lyrics."
"These weren't people going, 'Oh I'm gonna pretend to write a dark song,'" he continued. "That was real for everybody."
The frontman acknowledged that it when grunge got popular, it became a joke to mock those bands for releasing such somber music. "But I think people took it personally because they were like, 'Yeah we ain't fuckin'... this is actually heavy. And that's probably why everybody seemed to like it, it's like they needed it. Like, 'Yeah, this guy is speaking for me.'"
Vedder noted Billie Eilish as an example of a contemporary artist who's developed a massive following, but is known for having gloomy subject matter within her songwriting.
"I remember out first record because there's some sad shit on there, and I'm thinking, 'Wow, this is kind of depressing that tens of millions of people are relating to this,'" he said laughing.
Watch the full episode below.
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