09/19/2007 at 09:00 AM EDT
Alternative-rock icon Eddie Vedder spearheaded a '90s Seattle musical sound around adolescent angst. Now a 40-something father of a toddler, Vedder says he hasn't mellowed.
"When I had a child, everyone was telling me that I was going to see the world through her eyes, and everything was going to get this nice gloss to it," Vedder told reporters at Tuesday's Into the Wild
press conference in West Hollywood. "I kept waiting for that to happen, and thought there was a real problem with me that it wasn't."
Vedder, 42, says, "It was a different reaction. It wasn't the glowy lovey-dovey. It fueled my anger." Vedder's daughter, Olivia, was born to girlfriend Jill McCormick in 2004.
The Pearl Jam frontman, who performs on the film's soundtrack and is friends with Into the Wild
director Sean Penn, blames current events for his emotions.
"I realized that I was getting more angry – the exact opposite – and maybe it was because of the times, three years ago and what's still happening. ... All of a sudden, I saw the world as her world that they were [messing] with. That really pissed me off."
He has kept a low profile in recent years, and fatherhood has forced Vedder to question his attitude about life, he says.
"I don't know what I'm going to say when she sees pictures of me hanging 30 feet off a rafter, over a crowd," Vedder says. "At a certain point, you realize you have a responsibility more behind yourself and your need for adrenaline. I'm glad I did things in my 20s that were more reckless."
One of Pearl Jam's most popular songs, "Alive," is reportedly based semi-autobiographically on Vedder's childhood. Vedder insists that as a father he won't repeat his caretakers' mistakes.
"I'm trying to break any chain of negative parenting that I might have survived," he says. "I know that she's going to go through a time where she has to assert her independence. I'm going to have to just encourage that."
And rest assured, Pearl Jam fans ... the rocker feels good about his daddy abilities.
Vedder boasts, "I think she's going to have a great upbringing. ... Already, she's [been] provided a life of travel. I didn't get to New York until 25 or Europe until I was 26. She's been to all these places six or seven times. She's beyond me in terms of her comfortability around other people, to this day."
Who's turning 40? Which celebs are high school dropouts? What's hot and definitely not in fall fashion?
Check out PEOPLE's new digital magazine now!