Gordon Peterson, the man (not really all that) better-known as Indio, broke a twenty year silence worthy of Thomas Pynchon last month. Was it to record another album? Perhaps a single? Were we once again going to be lucky enough to hear that desperately honest voice produce music we don’t even hear in our dreams? Holy SHIT! WAS IT?

No – the fucker came out of retirement to sue the one man responsible for awakening the world to the wonder that was the little-known 1989 album Big Harvest, which Peterson wrote and then recorded with a group of some ten other artists (including Joni Mitchell and her then-future husband.)

Recent Photo of Gordon Peterson, AKA Indio

That’s right – Peterson broke self-imposed cover to kick a lawsuit into the face and eyes of Eddie Vedder, whose singular crime was to cover Hard Sun from Peterson’s album and sing some different lyrics.

Wow, what did Vedder do, call him a “cunt” in the opening line? Openly mock his family and religion? Perhaps he gave Peterson’scredit card details out in the chorus, as well as his mother’s maiden name in the middle 8. Maybe the bassline was actually morse code for Peterson’s home address.  That’s if you CAN have an address for a camouflage netting-covered treehouse in the woods, of course.

Surprisingly (or maybe unsurprisingly) it turns out to be none of those things (not EVEN a combination.) Vedder’s only crime was to change a few lines of one verse, and miss out another half-sized verse half-way through the song.

For avoidance of doubt, here are the changes Vedder actually made in real life. You can hear Vedder’s version HERE and Indio’s HERE (that is until he sues Youtube for hosting his song FOR FREE presumably.)

Hard Sun – Lyrics comparison – Bold indicates change, red is missed out. Blue shows original lyrics.

When I walk beside her
I am the better man
when i look to leave her
I always stagger back again

Once I built an ivory tower
so I could worship from above
when I climb down to be set free
she took me in again

CHORUS
There’s a big
a big hard sun
beating on the big people
in the big hard world

When she comes to greet me
she is mercy at my feet
When I see her inner charm (original is “when I stay to pillage her”)

she just throws it back at me

Once I dug an early grave
to find a better land
she just smiled and laughed at me
and took her rules back again (original is “and took her blues back again“)

CHORUS

when I go to cross that river
she is comfort by my side
when I try to understand
she just opens up her eyes

CHORUS

Once I stood to lose her
and I saw what i had done
bowed down and threw away the hours
of her garden and her sun

So I tried to want her
I turned to see her weep
40 days and 40 nights
and its still coming down on me

Right, now for the maths. There are, including counting each repeated chorus, 220 words in this song. I’m excluding the gospel-style vocal riffing that leads out the original because they’re not really lyrics – not in terms of what Peterson has named in his lawsuit as the “artistic integrity” – that means he’s talking about structure. No-one could sing the vocal riffage with a straight face in a cover without sounding contrived. That would be worse for the artistic integrity. Anyway…

Of the 220 words, Vedder removed one iteration of the chorus- we can put this down to Radio editing, however, we’ll count it, as it IS a change. We want to be fair after all, right Gordon?

Additionally, another five WHOLE words were altered, replaced by brand-new Satan-worshipping words. Except that the Shit-sandwich line about “pillaging” a woman was eased up to a line about “inner charm” by Vedder. As the tremendous Earvolution puts it, it kind of needed to be “softened up”, since Vedder was creating the score for Into the Wild, a film about a man who dies alone in the wild.It wasn’t that good a line anyway.

So, what’s the percentage change? 46 words out of 220 is a change of 20.9% of the words. That’s INCLUDING the missed out chorus of 17 words (without this, the change is 13%.)

Nevertheless, one thing is clear. Gordon Peterson is CLEARLY up for a fight with the world. I’m up for a challenge. So here’s my challenge to Gordon Peterson.

SUE ME, TWAT! Sue me for the following changes to your song (remember, I didn’t even ask for permission to reprint these lyrics, like it asks me to in your liner notes. That’s gotta be worth a few million right?)

Hard Sun covered on the internet by Hypernation (Bold indicates changes)

When I walk beside her
I am the bigger twat
when i look to leave her
I always stagger home to my treehouse drunk on ether fumes

Once I built an ivory tower
To make up for my laughable manhood
when I climb down to be set free
Did I mention I live in a tree?

CHORUS
There’s a big
a big hard hand
beating off the big penis
in the big hard-core

When she comes to greet me
I don’t know how to react and disappear for twenty years

When Eddie Vedder covers me

I just throw it back at him

Once I dug an early grave
to find a better land
It obviously didn’t work
So I sued a Betterman (come on Pearl Jam fans!)

CHORUS (see above)

There – I also skipped 3 verses and 2 more choruses. Go on Gordon – sue me like the malevolent weirdo you are. GO ON!

Vedder didn’t ruin your music. YOU DID.

Twat.