"It reminded me of punk rock crowds, of being aligned with all of the misfits": Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder found his first Taylor Swift concert "galvanising and powerful"

Eddie Vedder and Taylor Swift
(Image credit: STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images | Don Arnold/TAS24/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

He may be one of the world's most celebrated rock stars, but Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder has never forgotten what it is to be a fan, and has always been gracious about acknowledging his debt to his own musical heroes, from The Clash and Fugazi, to Tom Waits and Pixies.

In a new interview with MOJO magazine, the 59-year-old Illinois-born singer/songwriter and frontman also pays tribute to another hugely-successful musical icon, world-conquering artist, Taylor Swift, or more specifically the culture which her loyal and devoted fans, collectively known as Swifties, have created.

Speaking with legendary US music writer David Fricke, Vedder shares an anecdote about taking one of his daughters to see a Taylor Swift show, and reveals that the passion and inclusiveness of the star's fandom struck a chord with him, evoking warm memories of his own coming-of-age within the US punk and hardcore community.

Hailing the "galvanising and powerful" positivity with which Swifts fans embraced  his daughter in the run-up to the show, Vedder recalls “making friendship bracelets with her and the generosity of these young girls and boys, trading these bracelets with different messages on them – lyrics, song titles, just acts of good will on these little bracelets. They had found their tribe; they were all agreeing on something.

“The craziest thing,” he continues, “was it reminded me of punk rock crowds, of being aligned with all of the misfits in our town, back in the day.”

Pearl Jam's forthcoming Dark Matter album is set for release on April 19. The band have already shared the album's title track, and last year guitarist Mike McCready promised that the record is “a lot heavier than you’d expect”, suggesting that it has “the melody and energy of the first couple of records.”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.