Eddie Vedder Is A Vampire Essay Research

Eddie Vedder Is A Vampire Essay, Research Paper

Eddie Vedder Is A Vampire

Although at first he may seem to be just your average angst ridden lead man

for a popular rock and roll band, Eddie Vedder, the vocalist and lyricist for

Pearl Jam, may very well be a vampire. Although it is impossible to tell,

everything points to his being an immortal. An in depth analysis of his lyrics

shows that Pearl Jam’s second album, ?Versus?, has been used by Vedder as

sounding boards for the complex emotions and change of perspective that come

with one’s transition to vampirism. Other lyricists have used vampiric images

before – for instance Sting, in Moon Over Bourbon Street, which was written in

first person – but Vedder is unique in that his lyrics evolve over time as being

indicative of his vampiric state. Either he has become a vampire, he believes

himself to be a vampire, or he is leading a fictional double life, from which he

draws inspiration for his lyrics.

What exactly is a vampire? Numerous myths, folk tales, and works of

fiction exist on the matter of what makes up a vampire, but if they do exist,

vampires have been incredibly careful to conceal their presence from most people

(supposedly following a law known as the Masquerade), and very little is known

about them definitively. However, some basic facts are common to most sources.

These are: vampires drink blood, vampires live forever if not killed, and

vampires undergo grievous bodily harm if exposed to sunlight; this normally

kills them.

Many other things about vampires, such as their aversion to garlic,

their superhuman abilities, and their prohibition on entering abodes unless

invited, are mentioned in some sources and not others, and so it is unclear as

to how much of this applies to real vampires, and how much is pure myth.

Eddie’s vampiric tendencies became apparent in the lyrics to ?Versus?,

Pearl Jam’s second album. Pearl Jam’s first album, ?Ten?, contains no real

evidence of vampirism, and his lyric writing style is subtly different from that

in ?Versus?. In ?Ten?, the lyrics are often in ballad form, generally relating

tales of normal people. The songs Jeremy, Alive, Deep, and Black were all

number one hits in the U.S. from ?Ten?. Eddie was not writing about himself in

these songs, and was only assuming personas for the narrative, a standard device

for composers of fiction of any kind. Thus, the lyrics were simply Eddie’s view

of the world around him, incorporating characters and situations which he could

relate to.

Eddie’s lyric writing style had change considerably in the second album,

?Versus?. Although he still wrote some songs similar to those on ?Ten?,

expounding upon the specific lives of characters and the situation they

encountered (i.e. Daughter), there is also a tendency for social commentary.

The general trend in ?Versus? is for the lyrics to offer a critical view of

human society, often comparing it to vampiric society. It would seem that at

this stage, Eddie had become aware of the existence of vampires, and had been

offered the chance to become one of them. This is corroborated by the lyrics.

Eddie views Vampires as a different “species” to human, with a different

society, customs, and moral code. Many of the lyrics on ?Versus? are attempts

by Eddie to compare the two ?species?, humans and vampires. A general disgust

with the human race and it’s customs is evident, and Eddie is considering

vampirism as an alternative to all that he dislikes about human existence. The

song Rats is a good example. At first it would seem to be a comparison of

humans with rats, but even a brief glance at the lyrics would indicate that

several qualities are mentioned common to both rats and humans: ?they don’t eat,

don’t sleep?. The correct interpretation becomes clear when one considers

Eddie’s comparison of humanity with vampirism. In the song, the humans are

represented by rats, and vampires by ?they?. It is essentially a list of all

things bad about the human race, which Eddie hopes to rid of through the change

to vampirism:

“they don’t… lick the dirt off a larger one’s feet

they don’t push

don’t crowd

congregate until they’re much too loud

fu#? to procreate ?till they are dead

drink the blood of their so called best friend”

While the last line may appear to contradict the vampiric interpretation, in

fact it strengthens it. Most known vampiric codes strictly prohibit the

drinking of a fellow vampire’s blood (known as ?diablerie?), and tales exist of

vampires being ostracized for it.

Several of the other songs on ?Versus? have vampiric interpretations.

Animal is indicative of Vedder’s disgust with the human race; he’d ?rather be

with an animal? than with a human. W.M.A. is also a song of general disgust

with human society, focusing on the race conflict in the United States of

America. By becoming a vampire, Eddie hopes to distance himself from this sort

of persecution. Essentially Eddie is trying to escape from his responsibility

as a human by becoming a vampire. Indifference shows Eddie’s final

considerations of vampiric society, although he remains cynical. However, it is

clear that he has made his decision (?soon light will be gone? and ?but I won’t

change my mind?). The vampiric implications are the most clear in the second


?I will hold the cradle

?til it burns up my arm

I’ll keep taking punches

?til their arms grow tired

I will stare the sun down

until my eyes go blind

hey, I won’t change direction

and I won’t change my mind?

This verse deals with one’s conversion to vampirism, the exact process of which

isn’t known for sure, but Eddie’s version seems to confirm the most popular

rumors, which hold that a vampire (the sire) must first drain the prospective

vampire’s blood, killing the victim, who then must drink of the sire’s blood, or

remain dead forever. Thus, the conversion from human to vampire involves dying,

but remaining animate after death. This is what Eddie is describing in the

second verse, although he has varied the cause of death for the sake of poetry,

and in keeping with the Masquerade. The chorus, however, shows an increasing

cynicism with vampirism: ?how much difference does it make??.

Indifference was Eddie’s last song before his conversion, a romantic

attempt to crystallize his last thoughts as a human. The reality turned out to

be much less sedate, as is evidence by Blood. Apparently the bloodletting

wasn’t as clean as imagined: “my blood… drains and spills, soaks the pages,

fills their sponges”. The song, musically primal and violent, is as much a

homage to Eddie’s last remaining drops of human blood, (”It’s my blood” repeated

over the thrashing guitars and drums), as it is to his violent conversion. The

greatest indication of Eddie’s vampirism, though, is on the lyric sheet of ?

Versus? before Blood, on which Eddie scribbles:

?This meeting is driving me crazy… changing me

I will never trust anyone again…

[unintelligible]… in a different light… Biting the bullet


You’ve blocked out the sun

You’re killing my only flower

I’ve studied this question… now I study this answer?

Although the exact events of Eddie’s conversion can only be guessed at, it was

obviously a harrowing affair, and one which affected Eddie deeply. It seems

that Eddie’s perception had forever changed, which is evident in further songs

about vampirism on ?Versus.?

Three other songs on Versus would seem to have been written after

Eddie’s conversion to a vampire: Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small

Town, Leash, and Rearviewmirror.

Rearviewmirror is the companion song of Blood, dealing also with Eddie’s

conversion. However, while Blood is a description of the encounter at which

Eddie was changed, Rearviewmirror relates Eddie’s feelings after he has had a

chance to adjust to his new condition. Throughout the song, a car trip is used

as an analogy of Eddie’s transformation, “I took a drive today, time to

emancipate”. Eddie remains cynical about the experience, ?I’m not about to give

thanks, or apologize,” and he describes his transformation once more in


“I couldn’t breath

holding me down

hand on my face

enmity gauged

knotted by fear

forced to endure

what I could not forgive

head at your feet

fool to your crown

fist on my plate

swallowed it down”

The last four lines reflecting Eddie’s diminutive status when compared to his

sire, especially during the humiliating conversion. Since drinking from his

sire was necessary, the wrist was obviously offered (”fist”). After the

conversion, vampires remain physically the same as before, hence “it wasn’t my

surface most defiled”. Eddie obviously fled his sire after the meeting:

“I gather speed

from you fu#?ing with me

once and for all

I’m far away

hardly believe

finally the shades are raised”

The last two lines reflect the new perspective that Eddie has gained from his

newfound state.

Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town is a relatively sedate

song, and relates Eddie’s thoughts on seeing an old friend, someone whom he had

only known before his conversion. The vampiric link is tenuous, and relies on

the fact that physically Vampires remain exactly as they were when first

converted: “lifetimes are catching up with me, all these changes taking place,”

implies that Eddie has already noticed how others around him have changed, while

he hasn’t: “I changed by not changing at all.” The irony is that he has changed

more than anybody else.

Leash is also a look back at Eddie’s former life, comparing humanity and

vampirism from the other side of the fence. “Troubled souls untie, we’ve got

ourselves tonight,” and, “we got the means to make amends,” would seem to

indicate that Eddie is ready to make a life without life, entering a vampire

society and leaving humanity behind. However, he has trouble adjusting and

hence, “I am lost.” However, he is confident of eventually settling down: “will

myself to find a home… we will find a way, we will find a place.” At the end

of the song, Eddie sings, “the lights, the lights” displaying his newfound

sensitivity to sunlight, and then sings, “I used” with the same melody as he

sang, “I proved to be a man,” leading to the obvious statement, “I used to be a


“Versus” represents the early stages of Eddie’s vampirism, from his

initial consideration of the idea, to his conversion and subsequent

disillusionment, and his beginning to come to terms with what has happened to

him. However, several other songs not related to vampirism are also featured on

the album, either written before Eddie begun brooding over the matter, or as a

form of artistic relief from his transformation physically, mentally, and

emotionally. Also, the order of the songs on the album isn’t chronological,

something which may have something to do with the Masquerade, but probably has

more to do with the arrangement of songs


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