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Nikki Sixx and Eddie Vedder do not like each other's bands

Eddie Vedder and Nikki Sixx
(Image credit: Eddie Vedder: Danny Clinch | Nikki Sixx: Better Noise Music)

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx have traded insults. The war of words began with Vedder speaking to the New York Times (opens in new tab) to publicise the release of his solo album, Earthlings.

Asked if the rise of Gen X and alt-culture in the 1990s had had any lasting impact, Vedder responded, "I used to work in San Diego loading gear at a club. I’d end up being at shows that I wouldn’t have chosen to go to – bands that monopolised late-’80s MTV. The metal bands that – I’m trying to be nice – I despised. Girls, Girls, Girls and Motley Crüe: [expletive] you. 

"I hated it. I hated how it made the fellas look. I hated how it made the women look. It felt so vacuous. Guns N’ Roses came out and, thank god, at least had some teeth. But I’m circling back to say that one thing that I appreciated was that in Seattle and the alternative crowd, the girls could wear their combat boots and sweaters, and their hair looked like Cat Power’s and not Heather Locklear’s – nothing against her. 

"They weren’t selling themselves short. They could have an opinion and be respected. I think that’s a change that lasted."

The interview prompted Sixx to take to Twitter (opens in new tab), where he posted, "Made me laugh today reading how much the singer in Pearl Jam hated Motley Crue. Now considering that they’re one of the most boring bands in history it’s kind of a compliment isn’t it?"

After going on to suggest that Vedder sang like he had "marbles in his mouth (opens in new tab)" and that Pearl Jam fans could be identified "by the bored look on their face (opens in new tab)," Sixx appeared to bring the tête-à-tête to a close.

"Your [sic] not allowed to diss my band and our 40 year history and not get a little smack back," he wrote (opens in new tab). "All good. More focused on us playing stadiums right now. Moving on."

In an interview with Classic Rock in 2021, Sixx was asked if accusations that Motley Crue were sexist during their 80s heyday were accurate. 

"In today’s environment, most probably,” he admitted. “As was everybody. In the seventies, when I grew up, it was just the messaging that came through, and you were emulating your heroes.”

Recalling hearing Steven Tyler’s use of the words “slitty licker” among the lyrics on the Aerosmith track Pandora’s Box, Sixx said, “I was like, ‘Wow, that’s fucking rad!’ It was dangerous, y’know? When someone is talking about guns and sex and drugs, you’re like, ‘This is fucking dangerous, man. This is not mom and dad’s music.’ So it was a different time. You can’t rewrite history, man.”

Vedder is currently on tour in support of Earthlings, which is released on Friday. Motley Crue's twice-postponed stadium tour with Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett is scheduled to begin in June. Dates below. 


Eddie Vedder Earthling tour

Feb 06: Newark New Jersey Performing Arts Center, NJ
Feb 09: Chicago Auditorium Theatre, IL
Feb 15: El Cajon The Magnolia, CA
Feb 17: Inglewood YouTube Theater, CA
Feb 21: Seattle Benaroya Hall, WA
Feb 22: Seattle Benaroya Hall, WA 

Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett 2022 tour

Jun 16: Atlanta Suntrust Park, GA
Jun 18: Miami Hard Rock Stadium, FL
Jun 19: Orlando Camping World Stadium, FL
Jun 22: Washington Nationals Park, DC
Jun 24: Flushing Citifield, NY
Jun 25: Philadelphia Citizens Bank Park, PA
Jun 28: Charlotte Bank Of America Stadium, NC
Jun 30: Nashville Nissan Stadium, TN
Jul 02: Jacksonville Tiaa Bank Field, FL
Jul 05: St. Louis Busch Stadium, MO
Jul 08: Chicago Wrigley Field, IL
Jul 10: Detroit Comerica Park, MI
Jul 12: Hershey Hersheypark Stadium, PA
Jul 14: Cleveland Firstenergy Stadium, OH
Jul 15: Cincinnati Great American Ballpark, OH
Jul 17: Milwaukee American Family Field, WI
Jul 19: Kansas City Kauffman Stadium, MO
Jul 21: Denver Coors Field, CO
Aug 05: Boston Fenway Park, MA
Aug 06: Boston Fenway Park, MA
Aug 10: Buffalo New Era Field, NY
Aug 12: Pittsburgh PNC Park, PA
Aug 14: Minneapolis Bank Stadium, MN
Aug 19: Houston Minute Maid Park, TX
Aug 21: San Antonio Alamodome, TX
Aug 22: Arlington Globe Life Park, TX
Aug 25: Glendale State Farm Stadium, AZ
Aug 27: Inglewood Sofi Stadium, CA
Aug 28: San Diego Petco Park, CA
Aug 31: Seattle T-Mobile Park, WA
Sep 07: San Francisco Oracle Park, CA

Fraser Lewry
Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 36 years in music industry, online for 23. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.