Pearl Jam make a vivid antiwar statement. Despite boos, lead singer Eddie Vedder defaces a Bush mask while performing in Denver

Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder
Credit: Eddie Vedder: N. Warren Winter/ZUMA Press/NewsCom

Riot Act

Sure, Madonna may be pulling her antiwar punches, but not Pearl Jam. At a Tuesday night concert in Denver, lead singer Eddie Vedder gave his pro-peace sentiments some extra oomph by impaling a mask of President Bush on a microphone stand, then slamming it to the stage, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Vedder had worn the mask while performing ”Bushleaguer,” an anti-Bush track from the band’s latest album ”Riot Act.” Pearl Jam’s label, Epic Records, told they had no comment regarding Vedder’s actions.

Earlier in the show, Vedder had lost his cool when a fan screamed ”Shut up!” in the middle of the singer’s story about a Vietnam veteran who had concerns about the war in Iraq. He shot back, ”Did someone just say ‘Shut up’? I don’t know if you heard about this thing called freedom of speech… but in the last year of being able to use it, we’re sure as [expletive] going to use it and I’m not gonna apologize,” according to the Rocky Mountain News.

Later, Vedder put a happier spin on his beliefs, saying, ”Just to clarify… we support the troops. We’re just confused on how wanting to bring them back safely all of a sudden becomes non-support. We love them.” Though those comments were met by some boos, it was only when the singer practiced mask abuse that a few dozen fans reportedly walked out. ”It was like he decapitated someone in a primal ritual and stuck their head on a stick,” said fan Keith Zimmerman. ”It kinda blows away the Dixie Chicks.” But wait, there’s still time for Natalie Maines to burn Bush in effigy.