This week I traveled to Washington with my girlfriend Kim to visit some of her extended family. We started in West Seattle—home of Amanda Knox, AKA Foxy Knoxy, and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, AKA Steady Eddie.
I was a big fan of Pearl Jam in high school, but I always found Eddie’s lyrics a little too self-righteous and conceited: “She lies and says she still loves him/ Can’t find a Vedder man.” “Who does this Vedder guy think he is?” I would wonder while taking bong hits between classes, “God’s gift to *COUGH* beautiful women in dead end relationships?” As it turns out, it is beautiful women who are God’s gift to Eddie. Kim’s cousin Raina’s family lives next door to Chez Vedder.
“His wife is a supermodel,” she told me. “My mom doesn’t like the tiny clothes she wears. She’s always yelling, ‘A boy’s T-shirt is not a dress!’” Apparently Raina’s mother is also irritated when she sees Eddie paddleboarding on the Puget Sound without a life vest. “He’s gonna die!” her mom shouts, putting down her binoculars. I imagined Eddie waving to her and singing, “Hey, I’m still alive” with a friendly yarl.
As we drove out of town, I reflected upon Eddie’s life of supermodels with no pants and paddleboards with no vests. It’s the glamorous grunge life I always dreamed of, and still do, now that I know it’s indeed attainable. Life may be hard now, but hey—It Gets Vedder.
We drove up I-5 for about 40 minutes to Marysville to stay with another cousin of Kim’s at another beautiful house on the water. It’s a quiet life up there: No supermodels and no rock stars. I’ve been called a rock star, but I never believed it. I’m not rich, I’m not famous, and the only time I got laid after playing a show was when I got mistaken for the guy from The Big Bang Theory. That story is only partly true; I did get mistaken for Jim Parsons, but I didn’t get laid.
In Marysville, Kim and I sat with her uncle Steve around his backyard fire pit on a dark, misty evening. He pointed at some bright lights to the west, across the Sound. “A Boeing test site,” he told us, “the largest building in the world.” “Bigger than Eddie Vedder’s house?” I anxiously pondered. The rock star myth was again being shattered in my mind.
I remembered that I’d actually met Eddie Vedder about 10 years ago at a Sleater-Kinney show at the Crystal Ballroom. He was very friendly and even offered me some advice, as my music career was still in its infancy. His guidance was honest and genuine, and I don’t remember a single word of it. I’d been drinking, and it was loud as hell in the venue—not the ideal situation for a heart-to-heart.
It doesn’t bother me, though; I wouldn’t have followed his instructions anyway. I’ve always followed my own path—knowing it won’t lead to a fancy home on the beach—and not caring. So if you see me at a show, feel free to say hi. But if you want to offer me advice, you’d be Vedder off saving your breath.