Pearl Jam Singer Eddie Vedder Opens up About Coping With Depression

Eddie Vedder’s songs have been anthems for teen angst through the decades of music. Pearl Jam’s landmark “Jeremy” spoke to suppressed rage, and other songs like “Alive” and “Better Man” spoke to personal stories from Vedder’s childhood. Fans clearly related, making those songs and others classics. 

Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder
Eddie Vedder | Getty Images/Getty Images for All In WA

Vedder opened up about how he’s coped with Depression since his childhood. Vedder appeared on the online show In the Coop with Keith Levenson via Rolling Stone to help raise money for Levenson’s Fustercluck charity. Fustercluck is raising money to help people in the music industry out of work during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Eddie Vedder realized music helped him cope with Depression even before Peal Jam 

Pearl Jam released Ten in 1991. Even before he joined the band, Vedder realized that music had been part of his mental health practice all his life. 

Eddie Vedder at Wembley
Eddie Vedder | Samir Hussein/WireImage

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“For some of us, it’s everything and I’m talking about before I even knew how to play an instrument,” Vedder told Levenson. “I talked to somebody about some mental health issues and every answer I had going back to a young kid or deepest darkest Depression. It ended up, I didn’t anticipate this, but every answer I gave was that music helped me through it. This band helped me through it, that band helped me through it, that song helped me through it.”

Now people tell Eddie Vedder that Pearl Jam music helped them 

Music has come full circle for Vedder. He’s made a career of it since 1991, with many Pearl Jam albums as well as solo albums and tours. During his In the Coop interview, Vedder told stories about playing with members of The Who too. He also shared how he’s gotten to see his music provide the same comfort for others that music provided him.

“I know that from incredibly being on the receiving end of some people saying that you really helped me during a trying time with a certain song that you wrote,” Vedder said. “They’re kind of compelled to tell you that.”

Eddie Vedder turns it around too

Vedder appreciates the healing power of music, but he also recognizes that music alone is no cure. Having relied on music as a tool to combat Depression himself, Vedder is also careful to empower those fans who thank him for his songs. 

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“I always try to tell them, ‘You did the work. The music maybe just was a little bit of a life raft for a minute there,’” Vedder said. “But I know what they’re talking about because I went through it myself. We’re talking from Quadrophenia to Talking Heads to The Germs to Sex Pistols, Ramones. It was a complete lifeline and so does music matter? Yes.”

How to get help: In the U.S. and Canada, text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 to reach a crisis counselor for support.