Eddie Vedder has changed his tune on how to live rock star life. The Pearl Jam frontman, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with longtime bandmates Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron, Stone Gossard, Dave Krusen and Mike McCready, said he is lucky and grateful to still be…well, alive.
In his Rock Hall acceptance speech, Vedder, who shot to fame with the 1991 Pearl Jam hit “Alive,” apologized to his long-suffering bandmates for his wild and crazy behavior back in the day.
“I want to publicly apologize, you know, all of the, making our bandmates, making my bandmates suffer,” Eddie said.
“For the singer who was flapping down the rafters and hanging off of bikes and jumping off of balconies. They really didn’t deserve that. But, you know, they didn’t know that the person that they gave the job to, that their singer was really an Evil Knievel.”
Vedder added: “I swear, I used to be able to hold my whole body up with one finger. But if the music wasn’t playing, I couldn’t do it with both hands.”
In the ’90s, climbing stage scaffolding, swinging from ceiling rafters, and stage diving from towering camera cranes were all part of Eddie Vedder’s repertoire. One of his craziest stunts came at Pearl Jam’s 1992 set at the Pinkpop Festival in Landgraaf, Netherlands. Vedder did a massive stage dive from a camera mast into the crowd during a wild performance of the song “Porch.”
Eddie Vedder’s penchant for rafter climbing and stage diving was documented in the 2011 documentary, Pearl Jam Twenty (you can see a clip below). In the documentary, Vedder said he was always looking to take things to the next level, even if it meant risking his life.
In his speech, Eddie also gave a shout-out to his wife, former fashion model Jill McCormick, who suffered through the latter part of his high-risk rock star years.
“When I think about high altitudes, I think about my wife, Jill,” Eddie said. “Honey, I thought you were sitting down in front. But, it’s so important, you know, especially if that kite gets way higher in the air, you really have to trust the person holding the line. And that person has to be loyal and believe in you and have to have the strength to reel you back, so my wife, Jill, I thank you. And… I’m looking forward to all our beautiful days on ground together.”
An outspoken activist, Vedder got a little political in his speech, warning fans that “climate change is real” and appealing to the crowd to “not be the generation the history of the world will look back on and wonder why they didn’t do anything humanly possible to solve the biggest crisis in our time.”
Vedder was genuinely moved by the Rock Hall honor, and his all-grown-up speech shows he has come a long way regarding awards ceremonies since his wild early days. Pearl Jam fans may recall Eddie’s apathetic reaction to winning a Grammy Award in 1996. After Pearl Jam won the Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance, Vedder delivered a short, backhanded speech, saying: “I don’t know what this means. I don’t think it means anything.”
After Eddie Vedder and the other members of Pearl Jam delivered their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acceptance speeches, they took the stage to perform blistering versions of “Alive” and “Given to Fly” as well as a crowd-assisted rendition of the classic Pearl Jam song “Better Man.”
You can see Eddie Vedder talking about his death-defying stunts in the Pearl Jam Twenty clip below.
[Featured Image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]