Eddie Vedder says “fuck you” to hair metal, Nikki Sixx calls Pearl Jam “one of the most boring bands in history”

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Eddie Vedder, Nikki Sixx

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Eddie Vedder has, seemingly accidentally, reignited the decades-old conflict between grunge and hair metal, drawing Mötley Crüe bassist to fire shots at his band Pearl Jam.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Vedder was speaking on the alternative culture of the late 1980s, recalling how his work at a venue saw him exposed to hair metal acts that he “despised.” He gave one specific example of the “bands that monopolized late-’80s MTV”: Girls, Girls, Girls and Mötley Crüe: fuck you. I hated it. I hated how it made the fellas look. I hated how it made the women look. It felt so vacuous.”

Nikki Sixx, bassist for Mötley Crüe, took particular exception to the comments, taking to Twitter to say: “Made me laugh today reading how much the singer in Pearl Jam hated Mötley Crüe. Now considering that they’re one of the most boring bands in history it’s kind of a compliment isn’t it?” He also stated that Vedder sings as if he has marbles in his mouth.

The reply is strange, to say the least, as the ‘hair metal versus grunge’ debate began a good three decades ago in a musical environment completely different to today’s. It was harder for disparate genres to coexist in the mainstream, as charts, music video airings on MTV and radio play held much greater sway. There wasn’t the endless choice of music streaming services offer us now.

In hindsight, the speed at which hair metal was ousted from the mainstream has been viewed as a sign that the genre was ready to collapse regardless. Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider, for instance, stated recently that hair metal “had it coming.”

“It had gotten so watered-down and so corporate and so predictable,” he said to Consequence. Its “vacuous” nature, as Vedder put it, is also hard to deny. “Bands were being assembled for their look,” Snider said.

Overall criticism of hair metal has also become more prevalent recently – the misogynist hedonism viewed as typical rockstar behaviour at the time has not aged well. As Far Out magazine points out, the panned 2019 Mötley Crüe biopic The Dirt recounts sexual behaviour that “you’d go to prison for…today.”


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