Pearl Jam’s Musician and Activist Eddie Vedder : ‘Black’ + Interview



Eddie Vedder Talks Music, Activism

Pearl Jam exploded onto the Seattle music scene in 1991 and has been fending off celebrity ever since. The group’s debut album, “Ten,” reached No. 2 on the pop charts and has sold some 12 million copies, but the band shunned endorsements and shied away from almost all self-promotion, even refusing to make videos for a time. Close to two decades later, it’s clear they didn’t need the hype. In a 2005 USA Today readers’ poll, Pearl Jam was voted the greatest American rock band of all time. They’ve managed to take up causes from health care to antitrust, even testifying before Congress in a Justice Department probe into Ticketmaster. Currently at work on their ninth studio album, Pearl Jam is re-releasing “Ten” in four new and expanded editions that include six bonus tracks. Lead singer Eddie Vedder, 44, spoke about the reissue, balancing music with activism, and life as a father of two. Excerpts:

How has Pearl Jam changed in the years since “Ten” was first released?
Eddie Vedder: I think in so many ways we’ve grown up, but I think in music you’re also able to hang on to a part of youth that in a normal job you’d have to surrender. In a way, it was a blessing that we didn’t have families at the time, because we could give everything to the music. But I never thought we’d have to actually look back and answer questions about 20 years ago.

How much of this has become about activism for you, and how much is still about music?
I think it’s always been a balance. I think music is the greatest art form that exists, and I think people listen to music for different reasons, and it serves different purposes. Some of it is background music, and some of it is things that might affect a person’s day, if not their life, or change an attitude. The best songs are the ones that make you feel something. But it’s really a balance, because part of it is just, well, you’re a rock-and-roll band. But what happens is you learn that a rock-and-roll band can be a whole lot of things.

Has the way you pursue activism changed?
Back [in our early days] it was very knee-jerk: You’d want to kick out a stained-glass window to get your point across. Now you try to deliver better business plans to corporate entities so they can still make a profit, but do it without destroying land or culture.

Has having a family changed your views about celebrity?
I don’t really have too many views on it, to be honest. [Laughs] Seattle’s very close-knit, and I don’t feel any different, even though I have a different job than some of the other parents at school. How else do I answer that?

Well, what’s it like to be a rock star?
You know, rock stardom … I have a hard time discussing that because I don’t really accept it. It’s not really that tangible. What’s really bizarre is how it’s used as a thing—you know, “He’s the rock star of politics,” “He’s the rock star of quarterbacks”—like it’s the greatest thing in the world. And it’s not bad, but it’s just different. I don’t understand it. Cause I’m going, “Well—am I that?” I want to be the plumber of rock stars.

How do you keep your music relevant?
I think by pushing the boundaries, by not doing something you’ve already done, and pushing each other as bandmates to create in a new way.

Do you miss that Seattle heyday of the early ’90s at all?
I think what we miss is the bands all showing up at each other’s shows, and five people being up onstage, and then the next night the same people that were up onstage being in the audience and vice versa. Everyone was very supportive of each other. And, you know, there were some great f–king living-room parties as well. And it still happens, it’s just a little less.

Does that community you talk about still exist?
You know, it’s amazing how few bands are able to keep it together. But I’d like to think there’s still a number of us who, for lack of a better word, are slaves to rock and roll. It’s in us and we need it. And I think it’s trickier now because a lot of us have to be a little bit more grown up. We’re parents and we’re figuring out how to do both. Because as much as I would dedicate my life solely to music, I wouldn’t sacrifice the kids’ upbringing to do it.

You recently had a second daughter.
Yep, she’s 4 months old. She was born on Bruce Springsteen’s birthday. So my one kid’s 4, my other kid’s 4 months, I’m 44 —it’s all lining up nicely here.

Do you still wear a lot of flannel?
I’m not wearing one today, but I sure was wearing one yesterday.


British MP: West Should Not Make False Threats Against Russia

West and US should not make false threats against Russia in taking an unrealistic position on possible military action in Ukraine, British MP said

West and US should not make false threats against Russia in taking an unrealistic position on possible military action in Ukraine, British MP said

WASHINGTON, September 24 (RIA Novosti) – The West and the United States should not make false threats against Russia in taking an unrealistic position on possible military action in Ukraine, Liam Fox, conservative MP in Great Britain and former UK Defense Minister, stated Tuesday.

“I think it’s very important not to pretend that you can or will do things that you clearly won’t,” Fox stated. “Making false threats, I think, is a big problem. We have to look at different ways of dealing with the Ukrainian situation.”

In late August, President Barack Obama stated that the US was “not taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem.”

In his visit to Washington last week, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko requested lethal military assistance, which the White House declined.

Moreover, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s seven-point peace plan for Ukraine is based on the premise that there is no military solution for the country’s challenges.

Fox noted that there are four key questions to ask before seriously threatening military action, the first being the question of what the intended outcome would be.

“Number two, could such an outcome be engineered? Number three, could we possibly engineer it? And number four, how much of the outcome do we want to own?”

“I find in Ukraine it is very difficult to answer those questions,” the British MP concluded.


NATO Violated Each and Every Item of Its Agreement With Russia

Some Western analysts say it was the Alliance itself which “has violated nearly each and every paragraph of its agreement with Russia, which has stabilized Europe for a certain time

Some Western analysts say it was the Alliance itself which “has violated nearly each and every paragraph of its agreement with Russia, which has stabilized Europe for a certain time


MOSCOW, September 16 (RIA Novosti) – NATO’s Secretary General has accused Russia of being unwilling to build a partnership with the organization, but some Western analysts say it was the Alliance itself which “has violated nearly each and every paragraph of its agreement with Russia, which has stabilized Europe for a certain time”.

“We have tried long and hard to build a partnership in a way that respects Russia’s security concerns and is based on international rules and norms… Regrettably, Russia has rejected our efforts to engage. Instead, Russia considers NATO, and the West more broadly, as an adversary,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a Carnegie Europe event that marked the end of his mandate as NATO chief.

He also added that Russia “has trembled” all of the agreements that kept the peace in Europe and beyond.

But German government consultant and publicist Christoph Horstel has argued that it was quite the opposite.

“I have re-read the NATO-Russia act right before this interview and I see very clearly, there is no thorough discussion necessary, that the paper in fact is dead”, he told Radio VR.

He attributes this death to NATO and accuses the organization of murder. “NATO has violated nearly each and every paragraph of this important paper, which has stabilized Europe for a certain time. And it has done so since at least, 2003, when Iraq was infected by an unauthorized invasion,” Horstel added.

Christoph Horstel also commented on the new round of sanctions against Russia and the fragile ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.

“Russia has made sure and made it possible that there are successful negotiations going on between the [southeastern] republics and the Kiev regime, in spite of all the mistakes and terrible killings this regime has carried out in its [southeastern] republics,” he said. “And still, the sanctions are coming. So, in fact, I feel that the policy of sanctions is now completely void of any real connection to the Ukrainian issue, where Russia is in a very good position and NATO has made itself against any law – against the UN Charter, and against any kind of international treaty they have signed.”

“What we have here is that the sanctions have come to Russia, because Russia is to be subdued, and pushed into obedience by NATO. That is the plan behind that,” he added.

Horstel also explained that what we have here is “the declared will of Washington to disturb the peace in Europe”. The US, he said, has no interest whatsoever in any person living in Europe or in Russia. They have no interest whatsoever in the well-being of the countries and the peoples living here. He adds that they definitely have a power-related and a greed-related interest in disturbing Russia’s relationships, in order to compel Russia to be obedient or start a conflict.

That, he says, could very well be an armed conflict.

It has been openly declared by foreign policy analysts and planning think tanks in the US that Russia’s delivery of raw materials and energy production to the EU must be put to a halt, he said. They want to disturb it and they want to stop it.

“Asked about a way out of the present deterioration of relations with EU and NATO countries for Russia, Horstel strongly urged use of the tool-box for “public diplomacy” or, as he put it: “people-to-people relations”. In his explanation Horstel quoted Russian president Vladimir Putin in stating to German TV ARD, that there are about 650 foreign agent NGOs in Russia – whereas Russia maintains just two NGOs in western countries. This misbalance must be stopped immediately, Horstel said. “I appeal to all EU governments to open their minds, hearts and policies to allow this Russian effort to blossom”, Horstel added.”