Eddie Vedder’s advice to A Star is Born’s Bradley Cooper? “Make sure your guitar covers your balls at all times”

Best of 2020: When it came to nailing the rock star vibe of Jackson Maine in A Star is Born, actor Bradley Cooper had a good role model: Eddie Vedder.

Cooper, who directed and starred in the movie, shadowed the Pearl Jam frontman ahead of shooting, and Vedder recently told Howard Stern the essential acoustic guitar advice he gave the actor at that time.

“I told him things like, you know, ‘Make sure your guitar covers your balls at all times,’” Vedder said on the Howard Stern Show.

He continued: “I think sometimes the guitar gets a little high. It looks more like a bib.”

Vedder went on to say he was skeptical when Cooper first told him he was tackling the film, telling him, “Look, there’s a few movies out there on surfing, a few movies on rock ‘n’ roll. None of ‘em get it right. You’re putting yourself on the line here.”

When it came time for Vedder to see the finished product, he said, “On the way over, I’m thinking of all the ways I can let him down nicely. So I was a little nervous.”

In the end, he was pleasantly surprised. “When I saw it, I just was fucking blown away. It just… took me there, and what he can do with his eyes and what they [Cooper and Lady Gaga] did together, and then Sam Elliott. I mean, it really took me there. I’m getting chills right now.”

Vedder also opened up during the interview about how he’s been coping with the death of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, who committed suicide in 2017.

“I’ve had to be somewhat in denial,” he said of his friend and Seattle music scene peer. “I don’t even feel like I had a choice. I was just terrified where I would 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 gonna go.”

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.