Attendees at last week’s Pearl Jam concert in Milton Keyes, England received an unexpected “F” word heavy rant from front man Eddie Vedder. Soon after, video of the rant hit YouTube and ignited a passionate controversy all over the internet. The video can be seen here with the rant beginning around the 4:10 mark.
Taking breaks only to sip from a bottle of wine, Vedder began his rant praising the wonders of technology before shifting into darker territory: “What the f—? What the f—?” he asks, observing the wonders of modern technology and advertising. “At the same time that something this positive is happening, at the same f—–g time, not even that far away, they’re f—–g dropping bombs on each other. What the f—–g f—?… I swear to f—–g God, there are people out there who are looking for a reason to kill!” the singer exclaims in the above clip (with the rant starting around the 4:10 mark). “They’re looking for a reason to go across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them. They should get the f— out and mind their own f—–g business.” He concluded the rant with a cover of Edwin Starr’s pacifist anthem “War.” Such was his passion that Vedder put his knees on the ground when screeching the iconic chorus.
This profanity-filled speech has been lambasted by many different groups, not the least of which is The Jerusalem Post branding of the rant as an “anti-Israeli diatribe.” Vedder’s own Facebook page has become a battleground of its own, with one fan attacking the singer claiming, “I thought you were more intelligent than that,” while another defends him with “It is a truly sad day when a man gets abuse for speaking out against murder and bloodshed.”
While there’s certainly a chance Vedder may have been motivated by recent events, it’s a bit rash to immediately associate his general words with Israel’s current conflict. He may very well feel that way towards Israel, but the rant could be talking about any major world power invading a weaker area. It comes across as less of a specific attack and more of the typical anti-imperialist rant heard everyday from artists of all genres. And like many of those rants it is unfocused and filled with too many four letter words to carry any power. We expect more from an artist like Eddie Vedder. If there’s a statement he wishes to make about war, he should do it with more composure and far less wine.
As of this article’s release, Vedder has yet to issue a statement regarding the attacks and praises brought forward from the rant. We’ll have to see whether this controversy will affect their current worldwide tour.
Edit: Eddie Vedder has released a statement on the Pearl Jam music news website. While not directly addressing Israel, the statement is much more put together than the one found in the video above.