Folks expecting to see Neil Young at tomorrow night’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony may be surprised to find David Letterman standing in for the “godfather of grunge.” The Hall of Fame tweeted their regret that Neil won’t be there to induct Pearl Jam while expressing delight that Letterman has agreed to act as a last-minute substitute.
— Rock Hall (@rockhall) April 5, 2017
A representative for Young explained that the 71-year-old rocker is temporarily ailing, but the undisclosed illness is “nothing major.” Young’s participation in this year’s hall of fame induction ceremony was originally announced on January 27.
When David Letterman replaces Neil Young, it should be a good fit
It’s a shame Neil won’t be inducting his friends and long time musical pals, Pearl Jam, into the hall, but if anyone is well suited to serve as substitute, it’s former Late Night talk show host, David Letterman. When Letterman replaces Neil Young at the induction, it will be a reunion of old friends. Relix magazine noted that the relationship between Pearl Jam and David Letterman “is as extensive as their storied past with Young.” Frontman Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam made their first of many appearances on Letterman’s popular TV show on September 20, 1996.
Three years before Pearl Jam debuted on the Letterman show, Neil Young joined the band to deliver a stunning seven-minute rendition of Young’s society-biting “Keep On Rockin’ in the Free World” at the 1993 MTV Music Awards.
They’re all invited to the party, but not all five Pearl Jam drummers are due to be inducted into the hall
It’s nigh impossible to write about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame without touching on the controversy that seems to swirl around the Cleveland institution. For reasons that have yet to be explained, the hall is honoring only the first and fifth Pearl Jam drummers. Current Pearl Jam percussionist, Matt Cameron, and Dave Krusen, who provided the beat at Pearl Jam’s first live shows but left the band shortly after completion of their debut album, Ten, will be included.
Other Pearl Jam members to be inducted into the hall of fame include vocalist Eddie Vedder, guitarists Mike McCready and Stone Gossard, and bassist Jeff Ament, revealed New Musical Express. The band invited erstwhile Pearl Jam drummers Matt Chamberlain, Jack Irons, and Dave Abbruzzese to attend Friday night’s party in New York, despite the fact that they were not selected for induction. Abbruzzese expressed his dismay that although Pearl Jam always evinced a “perceived level of integrity,” the allure of hall of fame induction is overwhelming their loyalty to former bandmates. The following is excerpted from Abbruzzese’s public Facebook page.
“I have always thought that every award given to a band that celebrates the band’s lifetime achievements should be awarded to every person that was ever a debt incurring, life sacrificing, blood spilling, member of that band. Maybe the Hall should reevaluate the need to put all the monkeys in the same cage in order to boost revenue, and instead let the history of the band be fully and completely represented as they were and as they are.
“Whoever is ultimately responsible for the decision that deemed my work with Pearl Jam as an effort that was not important enough to grant me induction knows nothing of what we accomplished, and I am personally at a loss for words for how Stone, Mike, Jeff, Matt, Edward and Kelly Curtis are accepting of such an injustice.”
Abbruzzese concluded his December 28, 2016, Facebook post on a bitterly optimistic note.
“If you were there, then you know what this band Pearl Jam was like when it had something to prove. Well, we proved it every single time. Show after show. I was there and I am still proud to be a part of what Pearl Jam was. My point in all of this is to share the fact that what Pearl Jam once was, is what is still, and will always be Pearl Jam. I know things are tough. We need music, each other and the spirit of Rock & Roll now, more than ever before.”
Pearl Jam hopes to reunite with all former drummers at the 2017 Hall of Fame ceremony.
“While awards and accolades are understandably subjective and a countless number of our peers have yet to be honored, we do feel fortunate to 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. Looking forward to seeing them and all the other musicians on the bill.”
The 32nd Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony is slated for April 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
[Feature Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]