The rock world has witnessed a lot of rivalries, especially among the bands that emerged in the same era. Even though personal issues were often the triggers, the music industry’s encouragement of competition also fueled some disputes. Competition in the music industry was a direct result of marketization, which ironically goes against rock music’s rebellious nature.
The early ’90s were the years when alternative rock emerged to protest popular music, and ‘alternative’ distinguished the genre from the mainstream. However, due to the inevitable and aggressive intervention of the market, it paradoxically became popular. On the bright side, it helped the bands to convey their criticism through their songs to larger audiences. In those years when marketization swallowed alternative music, two legendary bands began their musical journey in the Seattle leg of the alternative rock scene: Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
A possible collaboration of these two would probably be mindblowing for many rockers. Unfortunately, this was not the case. On the contrary, a long-lasting rivalry began. Everything started when Kurt Cobain shared a criticism about Pearl Jam during a conversation with Rolling Stone in 1993. However, probably no one expected the feud to grow so much, not even Cobain himself. After the events surprisingly flared up, the Nirvana icon would share his regret about the incident in a later interview.
Kurt Cobain’s Later Words About The Feud Between Him and Pearl Jam
The Nirvana frontman was a prominent and overt opponent of the marketization of music, particularly rock. The Pearl Jam criticism in the interview he gave in 1993 was also on this line. He accused them of ‘pioneering a corporate alternative and c*ck-rock fusion,’ and he didn’t even want his band to be considered in the same category as them.
It was probably a fiery expression of his disappointment with the music market, but he did this by targeting Pearl Jam, which was pretty popular at the time. In a later interview with Rolling Stone, Cobain revealed that it was wrong to direct this criticism toward Pearl Jam and that his real issue was with the corporate music industry and Pearl Jam’s record company, which was a part of the industry.
“I don’t want to get into that,” Kurt Cobain said when he was asked about Eddie Vedder. “One of the things I’ve learned is that slagging off people just doesn’t do me any good. It’s too bad because the whole problem with the feud between Pearl Jam and Nirvana had been going on for so long and has come so close to being fixed.”
He continued by saying there was no feud between him and Eddie Vedder and said, “There never was one. I slagged them off because I didn’t like their band. I hadn’t met Eddie at the time. It was my fault; I should have been slagging off the record company instead of them. They were marketed — not probably against their will — but without them realizing they were being pushed into the grunge bandwagon.”
Cobain, who later expressed that he regretted his harsh criticism about Pearl Jam, never actually meant to target Eddie Vedder directly. However, as with many feuds, the media’s speculative circulation of such statements probably contributed to the unexpected growth of events.
Eddie Vedder didn’t seem to have much of a problem with these words either, as evident in an interview he attended after Cobain passed away. He even revealed how much he liked the idea of sitting with Cobain and just jamming together in a basement. Maybe, if they had a chance, and there were no such speculations, we would have witnessed a really good friendship and a legendary musical collaboration.