I am not a huge fan of Grunge. Being from Southern California, it hit us late and I just didn't get it. After it was firmly seated in the annals of music I got into it, but if the truth be told still not a huge fan.
I live in Seattle now, the home of Grunge. I have played pool with Chris Cornell and Stone Gossard without really getting the significance of these two gentlemen.
There is one exception to this: Eddie Vedder. This man is a champion of the people. We aren't friends and I don't know him. I have met him in passing a handful of times, all during very significant times in my life, one more so than the others.
When I was a “youngun” I worked for the Ramones, they were fantastic and horrible times, but even more so horrible has been the passing of all but one of the original members. I attended Johnny Ramone's funeral in LA. It wasn't a shock and there was no love lost between Johnny and I. That however didn't make it any less sad. It was heartbreaking. I didn't cry, for some reason having so many of my previous bosses at the funeral made me uncomfortable, and so I held myself in check.
I returned home to Seattle a few days later, still feeling sad and tense. I work in a bookstore in Seattle and both Eddie and Stone often stopped by to shop. About two weeks after the funeral, Ed came in with his daughter. They were going to see the Curious George movie. I asked him how he was doing and, he shrugged looked at the floor and said “remembering the good times.” You see he and Johnny were very, very close. Then he looked up at me with those penetrating eyes and said, “You were there too, how are you doing?”
I did the exact same thing, looked at the floor and shrugged. “I can't cry,” I whispered. “I want to but I can't”
He hugged me hard and said, “Don't be so hard on yourself.” Then the tears came . . . finally I was able to release the sadness. I didn't sob, in fact the tears ran in silence, but they ran.
He smiled and said, “See you soon,” and he was gone off to see a movie with his child.
I have seen him maybe 3 times since that day in October of 2004. He is always kind.
I owe Eddie a lot for that day.