Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder has discussed the terrible tragedy that occurred at the band’s set at 2000’s Roskilde festival, an accident in which nine fans died in a stampede during the band’s set. Vedder also explained the effect it had on the band and how the disaster could have marked the end of their career.
The topic is as pertinent as ever following the recent events that happened at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival. Although Vedder’s book was published before Astroworld, there are still grim parallels that can be drawn, and more importantly, lessons to be learnt.
In his recent autobiography, I Am Mine, which Louder transcribed, Vedder said: “There was at least one person in the band, I remember, that thought maybe we should never play again”.
He explained how the tragedy affected each member of Pearl Jam greatly, saying: “We all had to process something that we all went through as individuals, but also with the help of each other”.
Vedder continued: “I kind of disappeared into Europe. (I) had my own way of getting through it, which was taking Spanish guitar lessons from people who didn’t speak English. That was just a way to focus and be around people that I couldn’t understand for the most part. That way, I was able to be around people, but since I didn’t really know what they were saying, it felt very peaceful and calm.”
The band would return to the stage later in 2000 in Virginia, but understandably, the band had struggles with moving on. “Our nerves were pretty heightened the night before,” Vedder recalled. “We had a brief soundcheck and it felt a little strange, looking out at empty seats… it had a different meaning”.
Vedder concluded the segment by revealing how he channelled his emotions into writing a new song. He revealed: “It started feeling very tenuous. There was so much emotion going on, I thought, ‘I can harness this, I gotta do something.’ I had a small tape recorder, and that’s when I recorded and figured out the song ‘I Am Mine’. It was all about getting ready for that first show, and hoping we’d all be safe the next night.”
Listen to a clip of Vedder’s audiobook, I Am Mine, below: