Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder had a complicated relationship throughout their career. The frontman of Nirvana Kurt Cobain and Pearl Jam Eddie were the pioneers of the early grunge scene in the rock world. Kurt never did back off from insults towards Pearl Jam.
In 1992 at the heat of their career, Cobain expressed his dissatisfaction. He expressed, “Those bands have been in the hairspray/cockrock scene for years and all of a sudden they stop washing their hair and start wearing flannel shirts, It doesn’t make any sense to me. There are bands moving from L.A. and all over to Seattle and then claim they’ve lived there all their life so they can get record deals. It really offends me”
But that was until Cobain met Vedder in person. He, later on, confirmed that there was no feud between them. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he said, “I hadn’t met Eddie at the time. It was my fault; I should have been slagging off the record company instead of them. They were marketed, not probably against their will, but without them realizing they were being pushed into the grunge bandwagon.”
The rivalry was there for sure. In the 90s, the grunge scene was very big. Nirvana and Pearl Jam were also very big, which suggested rivalry between the two bands. While Kurt was open to criticism, Vedder was more diplomatic. He never did make any obscure comment about Nirvana or Kurt. Vedder always had soft spot for Kurt Cobain. He praised Cobain in many interviews and paid tribute to the singer on many occasions.
On April 16th, 1994, Pearl Jam appeared on Saturday Night Live to play songs for the promotion of their third studio album, Vitology. There, Eddie paid his tribute with guitar. We can see ‘KURDT” on the headstock of Vedder’s guitar. Kurt has also been honored as “Kurt Kobain” in the liner notes for Bleach and Nevermind. In the end, Eddie also lifted his jacket to reveal ‘K’ written on his heart, which was a tribute to his peer, Cobain.
The feud between the two bands was meaningless. Eddie, later on, revealed that he regrets not connecting with Kurt on a more personal level. While speaking with SPIN magazine in 1995, Eddie reflected on his difficulties with fame. He realized that Kurt had big-time appreciation towards him. He pointed out that he wanted a more intimate relationship with him. He shared his regret in the following way.
“That’s exactly how I feel right now, which is just weird. Sometimes—I don’t sit around and think about it all the time by any means – I wish that Kurt and I had been able to, like, sit in the basement a few nights and just play stupid songs together, and relate to some of this. That might’ve helped us to understand each other, that he wasn’t the only one, or that I wasn’t the only one.
We kind of knew that in the back of our heads, but we certainly never… I mean, we had a conversation on the phone, but we didn’t really address that. Courtney told me later that he was so excited about a song he’d written with Pat Smear about beans. And that was exactly where I was coming from at the time. I don’t want anything to do with this larger-than-life bullshit.”
He also once said that he ‘couldn’t imagine a planet without’ Kurt. Speaking on his Audible Original ‘I Am Mine’ he revealed what it was like to read the news of Cobain when he almost died from an overdose.
He said, “I think I went to get a pack of smokes at the gas station and in the paper was the thing about Kurt almost dying. He was in Italy. He took too many pills or something, And by the time I got home, I had a freakout, like a crazy breakdown, just going like ‘No, no, no.” He continued,
“I couldn’t imagine the planet without him on it. I was totally terrified and I didn’t even know him that well and we only had a few conversations or passing by here and there and a couple of voicemails or whatever,”
“Man, I just thought like, ‘Oh please don’t let that be true. And please don’t let that be true,’ And then he survived that. And I was so grateful.”
Cobain died the following month by suicide in his Seattle home. But with all his confessions, if there would have been more time, they could have become great friends. Eddie also talked about how he often refrains from talking about Cobain’s death as he is great friends with Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl. Nevertheless, Eddie and Cobain would have become great peers if they had the chance they wanted.