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Pearl Jam Singer Eddie Vedder Remembers the Advice Neil Young Gave Him That Saved the Band

Eddie Vedder has collaborated with a number of other musical artists. He sang with Bruce Springsteen and the late Chris Cornell. Another musician Vedder became close to is Neil Young. Young mentored Vedder when Pearl Jam was new on the scene in the early ’90s.

Vedder was a guest on The Howard Stern Show on Nov. 2. When Stern asked Vedder what he learned from Young, the Pearl Jam frontman shared one bit of wisdom that stuck with him. 

When Pearl Jam met Neil Young

Pearl Jam and Neil Young crossed paths playing benefit concerts. Young took an immediate liking to Vedder and the band.

“He took our whole band under his wing, I guess it was right around that second record,” Vedder said. “Then we ended up getting closer and closer over the years. It started by playing Bridge School, the first time, I think, was ‘92. And then he really tapped into the energy of our group, so much so that after we did a certain benefit. I think he went into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. I think he played with Crazy Horse on that. And then we did a DC benefit together.”

Neil Young was Pearl Jam’s rock n’ roll godfather 

Young and Pearl Jam performed together and recorded together. All the while, Vedder said Young led by example. 

“We did one song together called ‘Act of Love’ and then he decided to try to make a whole record with the group,” Vedder said. “Everything he taught us at the time resonated and came at a time when we needed to be taught. We needed a North Star and a bit of a compass and he provided both. The best teachers are ones where you just kind of learn from example. Just in his stories, you’d figure out a few things.” 

Neil Young gave Eddie Vedder this advice personally 

Vedder recalled a moment he had alone with Young during one of those sessions. Vedder set the scene. 

“I do remember one time we were at the ranch, at his place, and we took a walk,” Vedder said. “It’s kind of that famous fence line. Smoking a joint, we sat down near this little pond. This was right before the second [album, Vs.], somewhere in that time.”

Young was concerned about Vedder leaving Pearl Jam and going solo.

“He said, ‘Hey, just so you know, there might be some people that’ll try to pull you away from this group but you guys, the sum is greater than the parts. Remember that. I ‘m sure that’s probably already happened to you,’” Vedder said. “I thought no, I’m good with these guys. Actually no, no one’s singled me out yet.”

Stern pointed out the irony of Young’s advice considering he left Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young himself.

“Looking back on that story, I realized that a few years later,” Vedder said. “I think we’re loyal people and that we’ve been rewarded in different ways and it kind of comes in waves.”

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