Eddie Vedder Says Bandmate Thought Pearl Jam Should Never Play Again After Festival Deaths

Eddie Vedder reflected on the aftermath of the Roskilde tragedy — where nine people were killed during a crowd surge during Pearl Jam’s June 2000 set at the Danish music festival — in an excerpt from the singer’s recent Audible Original, I Am Mine.

(As Vedder’s contribution to Audible’s Words + Music series was announced in August, his new comments about Roskilde predated the Astroworld tragedy, where at least 10 people were killed and hundreds more injured following a crowd surge at Travis Scott’s Houston festival.)

In the excerpt, via Louder, Vedder talks about the band’s return to touring on a U.S. leg two months after the Roskilde incident. “There was at least one person in the band, I remember, that thought that maybe we should never play again,” Vedder said, “and if that’s something the rest of us didn’t feel, it still was not something that could be easily dismissed.”

Vedder continued, “We all had to process something that we all went through as individuals, but also with the help of each other.” The singer himself “disappeared into Europe” following the Roskilde tragedy, taking Spanish guitar lessons.

Pearl Jam would ultimately return to the stage in August 2000 in Virginia Beach. “Our nerves were pretty heightened the night before,” Vedder said. “We had a brief soundcheck and it felt a little strange, looking out at empty seats… it had a different meaning.”

Amid a pre-show thunderstorm, Vedder added, “There was so much emotion going on, I thought, ‘I can harness this, I gotta do something.’ I had a small tape recorder, and that’s when I recorded and figured out the song ‘I Am Mine.’ It was all about getting ready for that first show, and hoping we’d all be safe the next night.”

“I Am Mine” would go on to become the first single off Pearl Jam’s 2002 album Riot Act, as well as lend its name to Vedder’s Audible Original. In another excerpt from the Words + Music installment, Vedder reminisced about the time he held a flashlight for Joe Strummer while the Clash legend rolled a spliff.

Listen to Vedder’s I Am Mine for free with a 30-day free trial to Audible here.