The 57-year-old singer — whose third solo album, Earthling, comes out Friday — reflected on his formative years in San Diego and Seattle in a new interview with the New York Times. “You know, I used to work in San Diego loading gear at a club,” he said. “I’d end up being at shows that I wouldn’t have chosen to go to — bands that monopolized late-’80s MTV. The metal bands that — I’m trying to be nice — I despised.”
Vedder specifically took aim at hedonistic hard rockers Motley Crue. “‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ and Motley Crue: [expletive] you. I hated it,” he said. “I hated how it made the fellas look. I hated how it made the women look. It felt so vacuous.” He did, however, spare a few kind words for another Sunset Strip mainstay: “Guns N’ Roses came out and, thank God, at least had some teeth.”
The Pearl Jam frontman contrasted the late-’80s Los Angeles hard rock scene with the burgeoning alternative explosion in Seattle, which he found to be more progressive and inclusive. “But I’m circling back to say that one thing that I appreciated was that in Seattle and the alternative crowd, the girls could wear their combat boots and sweaters, and their hair looked like Cat Power’s and not Heather Locklear’s — nothing against her,” Vedder elaborated. “They weren’t selling themselves short. They could have an opinion and be respected. I think that’s a change that lasted.
“It sounds so trite, but before then it was bustiers,” he continued. “The only person who wore a bustier in the ’90s that I could appreciate was Perry Farrell.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx did not take Vedder’s comments sitting down. “Made me laugh today reading how much the singer in Pearl Jam hated @MotleyCrue,” he tweeted. “Now considering that they’re one of the most boring bands in history it’s kind of a compliment isn’t it?”
Vedder kicked off his Earthling tour on Thursday at New York’s Beacon Theater, joined by an all-star band including former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, RHCP drummer Chad Smith and Jane’s Addiction bassist Chris Chaney. His new solo LP is also a star-studded affair, featuring contributions from Ringo Starr, Elton John and Stevie Wonder.
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