Pearl Jam is one of the most celebrated rock bands of the last 40 years, however frontman Eddie Vedder wasn’t immediately embraced when he arrived in Seattle in 1990.

Vedder was the last piece of the puzzle, joining the group thanks to a mutual friend, former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons. In 1990, Vedder flew from San Diego to Seattle to audition and ultimately join Pearl Jam.

“When Ed came from San Diego, the first time we all got in a room, I was so excited,” Mike McCready admitted to Mojo in a recent interview. “He had a great voice, this great feeling to him.”

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However, the guitarist was shocked when people outside the band were not as welcoming. McCready’s friends were some of the first people to hear Pearl Jam (then called Mookie Blaylock) play with their new frontman, and he was disappointed by their close-mindedness.

“The perception of Ed was, ‘He’s an outsider,’” McCready explained, adding that Seattle in 1990 was still “very small, very provincial.” “My so-called friends were kind of dicks to him.”

“I got pissed,” McCready continued, recalling how he wanted Vedder to be judged on his talent, rather than where he came from. “I was like, ‘Ed’s a great guy. Just listen to him.’”

How Chris Cornell Helped Eddie Vedder

Of course, history shows that Vedder was soon embraced by Seattle’s music fans. One person who helped the singer gain acceptance was Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell.

“(Cornell) helped Ed integrate into the scene,” McCready noted, “took him out for beers, talked to him. He was very engaging when he didn’t have to be.”

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Gallery Credit: Lauryn Schaffner

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