Pixies gave a young Eddie Vedder advice on how to handle fame and success with Pearl Jam

(Image credit: BMG)

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder sought advice from alt. rock trailblazers Pixies at the beginning of his career, to settle his nerves about entering the music business.

With Pixies set to play as main support to Vedder’s band today (July 8), at their first of their brace of American Express presents BST Hyde Park shows in London, drummer David Lovering has spoken to Louder about his connection to the grunge superstars, and reveals that he gave the rookie vocalist a pep talk early on in the Seattle band’s career. Pearl Jam’s debut album Ten was released in August 1991, one month before Pixies released their fourth studio album Trompe Le Monde, the Boston band’s ‘final’ album until their 2004 reunion.

“I was married at the time to a woman who worked for Epic Records,” Lovering explains, “and Pearl Jam were a brand new band who had just signed to the label. Eddie was a Pixies fan, and he knew that I was married to the label’s publicist, and he needed some guidance, let’s say, so I went out with him early on [in Pearl Jam’s career] and we talked.

“It was funny, because I basically just said, This is something that I love, I love playing music, and I think you should do the same, just enjoy yourself, that was the crux of it. I just wanted him to be confident about everything. When we parted I didn’t think too much about it, I was just like, It’s just another band. And I was quite wrong about that, because Pearl Jam just took off and got huge almost immediately it seemed.”

Pixies have been hailed as a huge influence and inspiration by a number of superstar rock bands, perhaps most famously by Nirvana, whose frontman Kurt Cobain once admitted, when discussing his songwriting, “I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies.” But David Lovering humbly plays down his band’s pivotal role in helping shape the modern rock scene.

“It’s very nice that people like, say, Radiohead or Weezer or whoever, say that we paved the way the way for them, or that that we meant a lot to them, but it’s hard for me to look at myself and this band in that way,” he says. “To me, I’m Dave and I play drums, and that’s it, really. But, as a band, we’re happy with what we’ve done, and we’re love what we’re doing now, and that’s enough for me. 

“But I’ll just add one thing, which I guess is something I learned: a few years ago I went to see the Boston band The Cars in Los Angeles, and they’re probably my favourite band, and I had never seen them before, so when they came on I just started crying, I just lost it, because this was a band I loved. And I remember my friend turned to me and said, ‘You know, this is how people feel about you’ and I was like, What? So that was maybe the first time I kinda understood how others might feel about us.”

On the subject of Peal Jam, specifically, Lovering says he’s happy that the friendship between the two bands has remained intact across three decades.

“I gotta give them credit, they’ve handled themselves so well, and they’re still at the top of the pile,” he says. “I think we respect each other as bands and it’s nice that we can have this day together.”

Pixies will release their eight studio album, Doggerel, on September 30 via BMG. 

Pixies play with Pearl Jam at the first of the Seattle band’s two American Express presents BST Hyde Park shows in London today, July 8, and play Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle and Bingley in August.

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.