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Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder Talks Grief and Mental Health with Lily Cornell

“His and his family’s support around my series means so much to me. He has always been like an uncle to me and is one of the pillars of support in my life.”

Eddier Vedder appeared on Lily Cornell's IGTV series 'Mind Wide Open'.


Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder is the latest guest to feature on Lily Cornell Silver’s IGTV series, Mind Wide Open, where the pair discussed overcoming grief as well as her late father, Soundgarden frontman, Chris Cornell. 

“I am thrilled that Ed offered to do Mind Wide Open,” Lily said in a statement announcing the episode.

“His and his family’s support around my series means so much to me. He has always been like an uncle to me and is one of the pillars of support in my life. I know how impactful his voice is to people around the world and I deeply appreciate everything he stands for, so I am really excited for others to watch and hear his insights.”

Eddie Vedder, who has known Lily her entire life as her mother Susan Silver once co-managed Pearl Jam, spoke to the young mental health activist about his own struggles with mental health, as well sharing fond memories of his good friend, Chris Cornell.


Speaking of recurring dark themes throughout grunge music lyrics in its heyday, Vedder said:

“Your dad, we talk about music or art as a release or a place where, I think they call it homeostasis, where you can get to that level of just feeling energised and clear of mind,” he reflected to Silver.

“Obviously he had the music, and those are some dark lyrics. Kurt [Cobain]’s lyrics, there are some dark lyrics. Layne [Staley]’s lyrics, there were some dark lyrics.”

“These weren’t people going, ‘Oh I’m gonna pretend to write a dark song,'” he continued. “That was real for everybody.”

He continued, “I remember our first record because there’s some sad shit on there, and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, this is kind of depressing that tens of millions of people are relating to this.”

The Pear Jam rocker also revealed that he had been informed Cornell had welcomed his baby girl into the world just moments before going on stage at for what would become the 1999 Roskilde Festival tragedy, in which nine fans were crushed to death at the music festival.

“It’s interesting, Roskilde, where there were issues with weather and the crowd, and a horrific situation where lives were lost in front of the barricade… it’s crazy to talk to you about it, because right before we went on stage… we got the news that our great friends Chris and Susan had just had a child,” Vedder recalled.

“And her name was Lily, and we kinda cried some tears of joy… This was I think less than 15 minutes before we were gonna go on.”

Following the festival tragedy, Vedder credited The Who‘s Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey with helping him get through it, since The Who had experienced a similar tragedy in Cincinnati in 1979 when a crush led to the death of 11 people.

“There I was in a fetal position, basically, and Pete said, ‘You can handle this,’ and I said, ‘I can’t. I don’t know, Pete, I don’t think I can. I’m losing it.’ And he said, ‘No, you can handle this…’ He empowered me to get my shit together”

In the post accompanying the show, Lily wrote: “I am honoured to be joined by a guiding light in my life, Eddie Vedder of @pearljam. We discuss societal and political impacts on mental health, Eddie’s own experiences, and the importance of activism and empathy.

“Reminder to register to vote if you haven’t already! To learn more about the importance of voting, especially in the upcoming November election, check out organisations such as @whenweallvote@headcountorg, and @rockthevote.”

Mind Wide Open was launched by Lily Cornell Silver as a means to educate others about the stigma surrounding mental health issues, with former guests including Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, yoga teacher Monique Minahan, and author Laura van Dernoot Lipsky.