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EDDIE VEDDER

Your Horoscope According To Shit Eddie Vedder Did

Look to the stars for thoughtful insight into your month ahead.

by Ben Boddez

Illustration by Erik Grice

As the cosmos continue to shift and Venus comes into frame, we find ourselves moving into Taurus season. Ruled by the aforementioned planet of desire, it’s a time for figuring out what exactly it is that you want – and then going to get it. And while that might be what the stars are telling us, when it comes to stars of the rock variety, there aren’t many that embody the spirit of the bull more than Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. Known for being admirably outspoken and non-conformist, Vedder’s greatest moments almost always found him living life the way he saw best. With a new Pearl Jam album, Dark Matter, out now — this is your horoscope according to shit Eddie Vedder did. 

Taurus:
(April 20 – May 20)

Pearl Jam’s success as a band certainly spoke volumes to the diehard fan base that they managed to cultivate, because Eddie Vedder simply refused to participate in many of the things that a popular band were meant to do. Whether it was creating music videos or even participating in interviews and press in the early days, the reasons behind it ranged from not wanting to create by committee, preferring to stay true to the band’s vision and nobody else’s, as well as a strong distaste for many of the things that come with fame. Vedder once said that his biggest issue with the band’s growing profile was “what happens when a lot of these people start thinking you can change their lives, or save their lives or whatever, and create these impossible expectations that in the end just start tearing you apart.” While a Taurus can become known for their reliability, don’t overextend yourself to please others. If you’re worth it, they’ll come around anyway.

Photo: Danny Clinch

 

Gemini:
(May 21 – June 20)

Vedder was known to give 100 per cent and not back down when it came to the decisions made in his music career, but he embodied a Gemini’s impulsiveness in all aspects of his life as well. A huge surfer – in fact, as we’ll discuss later, the name of the band may actually be a surfing reference – Vedder wanted to attempt a Diana Nyad-esque feat while out on the waves. Despite being swept out to sea and rescued while on a surfboard ten years earlier, his love of all things nautical led him to get into an outrigger canoe and try to paddle from the Hawaiian island of Moloka’i to neighbouring Oahu in 2005. As told by famous Hawaiian Jack Johnson – because Vedder had actually been hanging out with the soft-rock titan’s father at the time – Vedder’s boat hit a rough patch and capsized, leaving him stranded at sea and pushed by currents out of the elder Johnson’s sight. A couple minutes later, local fishermen came to his aid to bring him back to shore. Gemini, if you’ve hit a setback doing something you love, it doesn’t mean you should stop.

 

 

Cancer:
(June 21 – July 22)

A Cancer can often be known to run on nostalgia, and when it comes to professional sports, there aren’t many experiences that inspire a certain kind of wistfulness and historical weight like being at a MLB team’s baseball diamond. Known to be a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan – even releasing a 2008 single, “All The Way,” longing for a championship – Vedder told a story on The Artist and the Athlete podcast about breaking into Wrigley Field after hours for some batting practice. After joining the afterparty when a 2016 Cubs victory sent them to their first World Series in a record-breaking 106 years, general manager Theo Epstein took Vedder to the park at 3:30 a.m. to take a couple swings. Who knows – maybe his magic helped the Cubs snap their historic curse when they took home the title eleven days later. Cancer, like the lyrics of “All The Way” state – if you feel like you’ve been waiting forever, know that someday, with a little magic, it’ll all come together.

 

Leo:
(July 23 – August 22)

When it comes to the origins of the name Pearl Jam, there seem to be quite a few different stories – mostly due to Vedder having a joke at the expense of fans’ assumptions that the name must be a reference to sperm. With a Leo’s flair for embellishment, Vedder has said that this isn’t true, but they enjoy leaning into the lie simply for humour’s sake. While the band actually started out with the name Mookie Blaylock, instead titling their debut Ten after the NBA star’s jersey number, Vedder has given three explanations for the Pearl Jam moniker. A long-standing story that he’s now admitted is partially false is that his grandmother, who really is named Pearl, was famous for her jam recipe. Another relates to surfer slang – “pearl” refers to submerging the nose of your board. The most corroborated story seems to be bassist Jeff Ament suggesting Pearl as a new band name to mixed approval, ultimately adding “Jam” after the band marvelled at a Neil Young concert full of 15-20 minute jam sessions later that day. The main takeaway from all of this, Leo, is simple: call your grandma. 

 

Virgo:
(August 23 – September 22)

Ever the quintessential rockstar, Eddie Vedder was a major source of inspiration for then first-time director Bradley Cooper while remaking A Star Is Born in 2018. Since Cooper played the mentor figure of rocker Jackson Maine, who ultimately boosts Lady Gaga’s character to pop stardom, he sought Vedder’s expertise when it came to properly embodying a rock icon with decades of experience. Although the pair hung out together for a couple of days, Cooper absorbing his essence enough to pick up a Best Actor nomination, he didn’t get much out of Vedder when it came to tangible advice. Vedder revealed in an interview with Howard Stern that he only informed Cooper of an unexpected biggest quibble with on-screen rockstars: “Make sure your guitar covers your balls at all times,” he said. “I think sometimes the guitar gets a little high. It looks more like a bib.” That sounds like a Virgo’s attention to detail – like Vedder, don’t be afraid to point out your little annoyances. 

 

Libra:
(September 23 – October 22)

While there are myriad artists these days – like Zach Bryan, Maggie Rogers, and most famously, Taylor Swift – voicing their sincere displeasures with Ticketmaster and creatively attempting to get around their monopolizing practices, Pearl Jam brought the fight to their doorstep far ahead of their time. Taking the risk of dulling their impact as a fledgling band, Pearl Jam took it as far as heavily impacting their own touring potential, refusing to play in any venues that would have been supported by Ticketmaster in 1994 after learning about their indiscriminately random service charges. The band eventually took them to court and placed caps on their ticket prices, tipping the Libra scales which allowed more fans access into the arena. Despite being ultimately unsuccessful, Vedder and his band started the discussion and turned more eyes on the company’s practices – hopefully opening the door for the Swifties to finish the job. Libra, check out some smaller-scale local shows this month.

 

Scorpio:
(October 23 – November 21)

When it comes to standing by one’s beliefs, a Scorpio and a Taurus would likely get along well – except, of course, when those beliefs clash. The album artwork of Pearl Jam’s sophomore album, Vs, featuring an angora goat peering through the wires of its enclosure, has an interesting history. It was based on Vedder and his bandmates feeling like caged animals while being pressured to score a hit as big as their debut, but Vedder was also feeling literally caged in while recording in paradise. Relocating to a recording studio in a peaceful, remote rural valley in Nicasio, California, Vedder was quoted as saying “I fucking hate it here … I’ve had a hard time … How do you make a rock record here?” The goat photograph was snapped by bassist Jeff Ament, who referred to the band’s label dealings with strong terms: “We were slaves.” Guitarist Stone Gossard added of the Vs title, “For me, that title represented a lot of struggles that you go through trying to make a record … Your own independence—your own soul—versus everybody else’s,” and the album booklet includes a drawing Vedder sketched during an agonizing business meeting that reads “I will never trust anybody again.” Scorpio, if that cage is lowering, get out fast.

 

Sagittarius:
(November 22 – December 21)

A Sagittarius is the life of the party, and Eddie Vedder’s well-chosen friendships were a huge part of his success. While working the night shift at a gas station in the 1980s, Vedder’s interest in playing basketball led him to befriend Jack Irons, a former drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Bonding over music, Irons heard Vedder’s distinctive voice and let him know that a band he knew was on the hunt for a singer. Handing him their demo tape, Vedder mined personal inspiration about being lied to about the whereabouts of his real father, now deceased – though the character in the songs he wrote over the demos, future Pearl Jam tracks “Alive,” “Once” and “Footsteps,” ultimately becomes a serial killer as a result. Winning over the band – Temple of the Dog, a retroactive supergroup formed from the future Pearl Jam lineup and Chris Cornell – Vedder met a lifelong friend and collaborator, laying down his first professionally-recorded vocals on “Hunger Strike,” a duet with Cornell. Tell your story to anyone who will listen, Sagittarius – you never know where it might lead you. 

 

 

Capricorn:
(December 22 – January 19)

Longtime fans will know that one of Eddie Vedder’s most signature looks has to be his brown corduroy jacket. More than a costume, it was a personal favourite clothing item of his, the same one being worn throughout the band’s rise to fame on their 1992 tour. While the original jacket was ultimately bought for an exorbitant price and now hangs in the Hard Rock Cafe – not to mention the look itself being imitated by scores of fans – the initial price point was actually a mere $12. Vedder once commented on the irony of a jacket that became part of the face of the nascent grunge movement turning into a quick cash-in for fashion outlets after seeing a replica of his favourite outerwear being sold for $650: “The ultimate one as far as being co-opted was that there was a guy on a soap opera, predictably patterned, I guess, after the way I was looking those days, with long hair and an Army T-shirt. A guy, more handsome than I, parading around on General Hospital.” A Capricorn might fall into the hustler mindset at times, but remember to be thankful for what you already have. 

Eddie Vedder performing at Lollapalooza on August 15, 1992. (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

Aquarius:
(Jan. 20 – Feb. 18)

Known for being some of the most unique and progressive members of the Zodiac, there were likely quite a few Aquarians wearing one of Pearl Jam’s most iconic pieces of merchandise back in the day. We’re of course talking about the “Choices” shirt, featuring the slogan “9 out of 10 kids prefer crayons to guns” on the back. Meant to be a comment on gun control, one of the many social issues that Vedder has expressed passion about, the band actually updated the shirt in 2020 to now read “10 out of 10 kids” on an orange backdrop. All proceeds went to support the Wear Orange campaign to end gun violence and the band’s own Vitalogy Foundation, which funds many forms of social change. Although the original shirt’s message prompted some initial confusion, it’s been nothing but a force for good throughout the years – regardless of the reception, that’s the way to be, Aquarius. 

 

Pisces:
(February 19 – March 20)

One of Pearl Jam’s longtime fan-favourite tunes is “Black,” off their debut album Ten. Showing both a Piscean sensitive soul and early signs of a career-long desire to shamelessly stick it to the labels trying to capitalize on his star power, Vedder refused to make the song a single after the label’s request, citing its personal nature and emotional power. “It’s about first relationships. I’ve heard it said that you can’t really have a true love unless it was a love unrequited. It’s a harsh one, because then your truest one is the one you can’t have forever,” Vedder said. He also expressed that he felt the feelings behind it would be cheapened if it were given the music video treatment that other singles received, with a decisive “fragile songs get crushed by the business.” Vedder even called into radio stations to make sure the song was not being played. Pisces, don’t let anyone take advantage of your strongest emotions this month.

 

Aries:
(March 21 – April 19)

One of Aries’ greatest qualities is their leadership skills, and when it comes to Vedder’s outspoken personality, it wasn’t only with regards to his own career: he’s repeatedly stood up as a leader in many areas of philanthropic pursuits. Just some of the causes that Pearl Jam have firmly stood behind – and funded – over the course of their career include support for Crohn’s disease, which afflicts guitarist Mike McCready, abortion rights, enacting a carbon neutral policy for the band’s exploits, anti-war efforts, encouraging fans to vote, Hurricane Katrina relief, Habitat for Humanity, the Red Cross, renewable energy, and calling out George Bush by name in more than one of their songs. We know it’s hard out here, Aries, but for a cause you believe in, anything counts.