Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder jabs back at Nikki Sixx and Motley Crüe, and it involves RHCP drummer Chad Smith

Eddie Vedder and Chad Smith performing on stage
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for EV)

The decades-old grunge vs hair metal battle has flared-up again recently, as Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Motley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx trade blows with each other in the press. It doesn’t seem to be slowing down yet as Vedder has fired back, referencing Motley Crüe's drum theatrics via Chad Smith.

As we reported last week, Vedder voiced his feelings towards Motley Crüe and the wider ‘hair metal’ scene that Pearl Jam along with Nirvana, Soundgarden and other ‘grunge’ bands displaced in the the early 90s during an interview with the New York Times, saying “Girls, Girls, Girls and Motley Crüe…I hated it.”

He went on to elaborate on his disdain for the scene’s “vacuous” presentation of both men and women, and how the Seattle scene that birthed grunge’s alternative approach promoted a more progressive attitude. 

“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…”

Nikki Sixx responded with a tweet saying, "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?”

Now Vedder has issued his latest barb during a solo show with his current touring band, The Earthlings, featuring Red Hot Chili Pepper, Chad Smith on drums.

While introducing the line-up to the crowd Vedder fired back at Motley Crüe's theatrical stage show, most notably, Tommy Lee’s spinning, suspended or sometimes-on-a-rollercoaster drum kit.

Pointing at Smith's kit as he started a drum solo, Vedder said “That drum kit, that silver, beautiful machine - that is the engine. It does not need to elevate or rotate to do its job. Let me just point that out.”

Pearl Jam also joined in from the band's official Twitter account, posting a video of a roaring crowd singing along to the band with the caption "We [heart] our bored fans".

Meanwhile, Chad Smith is gearing-up for a return to his day job with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who recently released Black summer, the first single from their forthcoming album, Unlimited Love on 1 April.

The song is the first glimpse of new material featuring returning classic-era Chilis guitarist, John Frusciante, who left the band for a second time in 2009, rejoining in late 2019.

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.