Chris Cornell, who died shockingly last month at age 52, was close with all of the members of Pearl Jam. The musical contemporaries were friends as well as peers who respected each other’s craft and musical output. Cornell had recently performed with Mike McCready and Pearl Jam member Jeff Ament explained why the artist’s death hit him so hard in his first comments after the news broke.
But the band’s leader Eddie Vedder was perhaps the closest to Cornell, and paid tribute to his dear friend at a London concert on Tuesday night. No video of the speech has surfaced as of yet (which doesn’t come as a surprise considering Vedder is strictly against any audience filming at his shows) but simply reading the statement is enough to wipe you out emotionally. A full transcript of his comments, courtesy of a Pearl Jam message board, can be found below but the most emotional pieces are the points where Vedder compares his departed friend to a brother, and recalls his state of mind just a few days after the tragedy occurred.
Noticeably, Vedder never explicitly mentions Cornell by name but it’s clear who is speaking of and thinking about throughout the tribute. Both musicians clearly had a bond that could last through thick or thin, just like actual family members, and Vedder’s discussion of how happy he is to have even had a friend like that in the first place is a beautiful sentiment in the face of an unimaginably tough grieving period. Eddie wrapped the speech with the simple message “I will love him forever” which is as relatable a sentiment as can be found in the speech, especially for those who have lost a close friend or family member.
The full transcript is as follows:
Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate these days. I was thinking about the history of this building and the Bowie history. So I started to think about that and my mind began to wander. It’s not a good…
So I haven’t really been talking about some things and I kind of… now it feels like it’s conspicuous because I lost a really close friend of mine, somebody who…(applause).
I’ll say this too, I grew up as 4 boys, 4 brothers and I lost my brother 2 years ago tragically like that in an accident and after that and losing a few other people, I’m not good at it, meaning I’m not…I have not been willing to accept the reality and that’s just how I’m dealing with it (applause starts).
No, no, no, no.
So I want to be there for the family, be there for the community, be there for my brothers in my band, certainly the brothers in his band. But these things will take time but my friend is going to be gone forever and I will just have to…
These things take time and I just want to send this out to everyone who was affected by it and they all back home and here appreciate it so deeply the support and the good thoughts of a man who was a … you know he wasn’t just a friend he was someone I looked up to like my older brother.
About two days after the news, I think it was the second night we were sleeping in this little cabin near the water, a place he would’ve loved. And all these memories started coming in about 1:30am like woke me up. Like big memories, memories I would think about all the time. Like the memories were big muscles.
And then I couldn’t stop the memories. And trying to sleep it was like if the neighbors had the music playing and you couldn’t stop it. But then it was fine because then it got into little memories. It just kept going and going and going. And I realized how lucky I was to have hours worth of…you know if each of these memories was quick and I had hours of them. How fortunate was I?! And I didn’t want to be sad, wanted to be grateful not sad. I’m still thinking about those memories and I will live with those memories in my heart and I will…love him forever.