It’s no secret that Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder is an outspoken, politically conscious dude, a grunge rocker from Seattle who doesn’t mince his words and won’t sit idly by when the system—in his opinion—is broken. As Vedder would say (via Backspacer’s first single), “I wanna put a bit of fixin’ on it.”
Vedder got a lot more specific, however, on his relationship to politics in a recent interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica’s Giuseppe Videtti. He contends that it’s a musician’s duty to use art as a form of protest, adding that he learned this tradition from Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend, Neil Young, and the Clancy Brothers. The 2004 presidential election was really where the political inspiration for Backspacer began, though. Here’s what Vedder said (English translation via GrungeReport):
The Democrats called the Boss, Ben Harper, James Taylor and the Dixie Chicks to support Vote for Change. Who played for the Republicans? A pair of country & western singers that Bush held to the leash.
When Bush was re-elected I could only think: ‘Fuck Americans, because you are badly informed and based your vote on values that I cannot accept. You believe that George Bush can still be just man after four years of his diabolic administration?’
Vedder adds that the election of President Obama restored his hopeful spirit and inspired the writing process for Backspacer, which drops on the 20th exclusively at Target.