It’s been over three years since the death of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, and rock star Eddie Vedder is finally opening up about the grief he felt following the devastating loss.
On Monday, in his first-ever appearance on The Howard Stern Show, the Pearl Jam frontman first revealed that his half-brother, also named Chris, died in a climbing accident a year prior to Cornell’s passing.
“That one took me down so hard, and my brothers, and my mom,” said Vedder. “And I seriously didn’t know if I was going to get out of that one. It really hurt me to think about what my daughters were witnessing, but there was no hiding it and it was a dark place and I just couldn’t deal with the reality.”
Vedder was still reeling from the loss when he received word of Cornell’s death. “When it happened with Chris, I’ve had to be somewhat in denial,” he said. “One way I was even able to do it, and I don’t think I had a choice. It’s just like, I was terrified of where I would go if I allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel or what I instinctively wanted to feel or how dark I felt. Because I didn’t see him that often in the last 10 years, probably only like four, five times and usually at a gig or something, I just kind of–I still haven’t quite dealt with it.”
Vedder and Cornell were alternative rock giants that made the Seattle grunge scene a cultural phenomenon. In 1991, the two collaborated on the hit single “Hunger Strike” by Seattle supergroup Temple of the Dog. Both led their respective bands to global success, but Vedder’s fondest memories are of their lives away from the spotlight.
“I’ll get stronger as time goes, but we were close, and it wasn’t just because we were playing music,” Vedder told Stern. “We were neighbors. I would hang out with him outside of the band even more than the band guys, and I didn’t know that many people in Seattle. So, we would go on crazy hiking adventures or we would go mountain biking or we would chase the dog in the rain drinking shitty beer. It was cool because it had nothing to do with anything like being around other music people or some kind of LA life.”
Pearl Jam has tentative plans for a European tour in June 2021 in support of their latest album Gigaton. For more on Vedder’s interview with Stern, watch below: