By Brian Ives
Pearl Jam’s relationship with their former drummers has been a bit chilly over the years. Original drummer Dave Krusen was fired, as was his eventual replacement, Dave Abbruzzese; Jack Irons left the band after two albums. And when they released their career-spanning documentary, Pearl Jam Twenty, in 2011, they barely addressed their former drummers.
Last year, when it was announced that Pearl Jam would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the news was bittersweet to some fans; Krusen is going to be included, as is current drummer Matt Cameron, who joined in 1998. But Abbruzzese — who played on 1993’s Vs. (a number one album that was 7x platinum; the album featured “Daughter” and “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town,” as well as “Go,” which Abbruzzese wrote) and 1995’s Vitalogy (also a chart-topping album, which was 5x platinum, and which featured “Better Man,” “Not For You,” “Corduroy” and “Spin the Black Circle”) — was not included. Neither was Jack Irons, who played on 1996’s No Code (including “Who You Are,” which Irons co-wrote) and 1998’s Yield (including “Given to Fly,” “Wishlist” and “Do the Evolution”), both platinum albums.
But today Pearl Jam announced, via a handwritten letter shared on social media, that they are inviting all of their former drummers — including Matt Chamberlain, who originally replaced Krusen for tour dates in 1992 — to appear with the band at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony next month.
The band wrote, “While awards and accolades are understandably subjective and a countless number of our peers have yet to be honored, we do feel fortunate the be recognized and provided the opportunity to reunite with everyone who has been part of the group. Specifically the drummers who all left their distinctive mark on our band in the pre-Matt Cameron years. Dave Krusen, Matt Chamberlain, Dave Abbruzzese and Jack Irons are each individually great players who gave their all to the early recordings and live gigs.”
Pearl Jam — who is being inducted in their first year of eligibility, which comes 25 years after their debut recording — voiced some discomfort in being voted into the Hall of Fame before some of their influences, Jane’s Addiction and Bad Brains, calling out those band’s frontmen in the note. “Have to say [we] wish H.R. and Perry Farrell were gonna be there too.” H.R. fronts Bad Brains, while Perry Farrell leads Jane’s Addiction; both bands were also on the ballot this year.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony takes place April 7 at Barclays Center in New York. Radio.com will be there providing full coverage throughout the night.