Eddie Vedder said he’s kept himself “in denial” over Chris Cornell’s death because he was so overwhelmed with the recent passing of his brother at the time.

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The Pearl Jam frontman told Howard Stern that the loss of his sibling, also named Chris, had sent him to a dangerously “dark place,” making it more difficult to deal with Soundgarden singer Cornell’s death in 2017.

You can listen to the interview clip below.

“I grew up with three brothers, and about a year before what happened with Chris, we got a call about four in the morning,” Vedder said. "Our third youngest brother … he had been spending a lot of time in Africa doing some good work, environmental stuff. … He’d been doing something a bit risky, a climbing accident, and he was no longer with us. ... That one took me down so hard, and my brothers, and my mom, and I seriously didn’t know if I was going to get out of that one … but there was no hiding it and it was a dark place. I just couldn’t deal with the reality.”

Vedder noted that "when it happened with Chris … I’ve had to be somewhat in denial. … I don’t even feel like I had a choice. I was terrified of where I’d go if I allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel, or what I was instinctively wanting to feel, or how dark I felt like I was going to go.” He accepted that he still hasn’t faced his grief over Cornell but asserted, “I’ll get stronger as time goes.”

The singer said he hadn’t seen Cornell often in the decade before his death, but recalled the time they spent together during Pearl Jam’s early years. “I didn’t know that many people in Seattle, so we’d go on crazy hiking adventures or we’d go mountain biking or we’d chase the dog in the rain while drinking shitty beer,” he remembered. “It was cool because it had nothing to do with being around other music people or being around some kind of L.A. life. … He’s a legit rock star and this is what he’s doing, he’s chasing a dog in the rain with his buddy with a 12-pack of Schmidt.”

 

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