Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder defends anti-war comments

Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder has released an anti-war statement following comments he made on stage last Friday during a concert in Milton Keynes, England.

“What the f***? What the f***?”, Vedder began during an extended version of “Daughter” at the UK show, the final stop on the band’s European tour in support of “Lightning Bolt.” “We can have this many people having a peaceful time. We can have modern technology. We can reach our friends. We know what they’re thinking before they’re thinking it. The advertisers know what we’re thinking before we’re thinking it. We have technology – all this in our hands, but the same time that something this positive is happening, at the same f***ing time, not even that far away, [people are] f***ing dropping bombs on each other. What the f***ing f***?”.

“I swear to f***ing God, there are people out there who are looking for a reason to kill!,” he continued. “They’re looking for a reason to go across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them. They should get the f*** out, and mind their own f***ing business. Everyone wants the same goddamn thing: to live our lives, to have our children, eat, procreate, draw a painting, make some art, listen to music, f*** some more, have another baby, eat, work, eat, work, love, love, love, everyone’s the f***in’ same! So why are people at war? Stop the f***ing s***, now! Now! Now! We don’t want to give them our money. We don’t want to give them our taxes to drop bombs on children! Now! No more! Now!”

Vedder then launched into Edwin Starr’s anti-war classic, “War”, and as “Daughter” drew to a close, he dropped to his knees and said, “Please, please, please, we beg of you, please, please, please.”

The Pearl Jam singer didn’t mention any specific countries during the speech, but some have interpreted it as singling out Israel over their ongoing fight with Hamas militants – despite the number of current conflicts around the globe.

On Wednesday, Vedder posted a follow-up to his onstage comments; here is his statement in full:

Imagine That -- I’m Still Anti-War.

Most of us have heard John Lennon sing

“You may say I’m a dreamer,… but I’m not the only one.”

And some of us, after another morning dose of news coverage full of death and destruction, feel the need to reach out to others to see if we are not alone in our outrage. With about a dozen assorted ongoing conflicts in the news everyday, and with the stories becoming more horrific, the level of sadness becomes unbearable. And what becomes of our planet when that sadness becomes apathy? Because we feel helpless. And we turn our heads and turn the page.

Currently, I’m full of hope. That hope springs from the multitudes of people that our band has been fortunate enough to play for night after night here in Europe. To see flags of so many different nations, and to have these huge crowds gathered peacefully and joyfully is the exact inspiration behind the words I felt the need to emphatically relay. When attempting to make a plea for more peace in the world at a rock concert,we are reflecting the feelings of all those we have come in contact with so we may all have a better understanding of each other.

That’s not something I’m going to stop anytime soon. Call me naïve. I’d rather be naïve, heartfelt and hopeful than resigned to say nothing for fear of misinterpretation and retribution.

The majority of humans on this planet are more consumed by the pursuit of love, health, family, food and shelter than any kind of war.

War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on.

With all the global achievements in modern technology, enhanced communication and information devices, cracking the
human genome, land rovers on Mars etc., do we really have to resign ourselves to the devastating reality that conflict will be resolved with bombs, murder and acts of barbarism?

We are such a remarkable species. Capable of creating beauty. Capable of awe-inspiring advancements. We must be capable of resolving conflicts without bloodshed.

I don’t know how to reconcile the peaceful rainbow of flags we see each night at our concerts with the daily news of a dozen global conflicts and their horrific consequences. I don’t know how to process the feeling of guilt and complicity when I hear about the deaths of a civilian family from a U.S. drone strike. But I know that
we can’t let the sadness turn into apathy. And I do know we are better off when we reach out to each other.

“I hope someday you’ll join us,…”

Won’t you listen to what the man said.

— Eddie Vedder

Vedder's speech starts at 4:10 in the following video...

See also:

VIDEO: Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder drinks wine from fan’s shoe in Sweden
Pearl Jam reveal story behind Let It Go cover
VIDEO: Pearl Jam covers Let It Go from Frozen
Pearl Jam tops the hennemusic Hot 10
Search Pearl Jam at hennemusic