Pearl Jam Hall Of Fame Drummer Dispute: Dave Abbruzzese Snubbed?

Pearl Jam’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame selection has seemingly ignited a controversy concerning a former member of the iconic alternative rock band. Reportedly, certain devotees of the Seattle grunge gods are bolstering behind Dave Abbruzzese, a one-time Pearl Jam drummer whose early tenure with the group has apparently been excluded from induction. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will recognize Pearl Jam’s current and founding drummers only.

Dave Abbruzzese was Pearl Jam’s third drummer, succeeding a swift stay at the drum throne by original Pearl Jammer Dave Krusen (who performed on the band’s smash 1991 debut album, Ten) and following fill-in percussionist Matt Chamberlain. Pearl Jam, having only formed the previous year, recorded and toured with Abbruzzese from 1991 until 1994, including his performances on their chart-topping albums Vs. and Vitalogy.

Krusen and current drummer Matt Cameron were the only Pearl Jam percussionists identified by the Hall of Fame as eligible band members for induction, along with Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder, bassist Jeff Ament, and guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready. In addition to Abbruzzese and Chamberlain, mid-’90s Pearl Jam drummer (No Code, Yield) and founding Red Hot Chili Peppers member Jack Irons was also excluded from the induction slate.

Pearl Jam's Matt Cameron performs at the 2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Pearl Jam’s current and longtime (since 1998) drummer, Matt Cameron. [Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images]

Scheduled to take place at New York’s Barclays Center on April 7, 2017, the 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will celebrate performers Joan Baez, Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, Tupac Shakur, and Yes, along with Pearl Jam, as its “Class of 2017” inductee roster. Chic’s Nile Rodgers is tapped to receive the Hall of Fame’s Award for Musical Excellence. The induction ceremony will later air on HBO be broadcast on SiriusXM.

As reported by Alternative Nation, former Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese has taken issue with the perceived Hall of Fame snub, posting about the supposed slight online. Fans of Abbruzzese’s Pearl Jam recordings are rallying with the musician in an effort to sway the Hall of Fame’s consideration for his inclusion. A Pearl Jam fan in Australia created a petition in defense of Dave’s overlooked songwriting contributions to the band.

“Dave’s most notable influence in the band was his contribution to the 1993 single, “Go”. Although credited to all members of Pearl Jam, the music was primarily written by Dave. “Go” peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and was also included on Pearl Jam’s 2004 greatest hits album, Rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991–2003).”

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam performs on the main stage as the band headline day 3 of the Isle of Wight Festival.
Eddie Vedder, lead singer of Pearl Jam. [Image by Samir Hussein/Getty Images]

Founding Pearl Jam drummer Dave Krusen, who will be inducted alongside the current band members in April, recently spoke to Rolling Stone about the Pearl Jam Hall of Fame drummer dispute. Appearing impartial to the reported controversy created by Abbruzzese, Krusen confirmed that current and longtime Pearl Jam drummer (and Soundgarden member) Matt Cameron should be the first priority for Pearl Jam drummer inductees.

“The whole drummer controversy with the band, obviously Matt Cameron should be there. Beyond that, I guess I’ll just stay out of it.”

Also covered by Rolling Stone, Dave Abbruzzese has publicly requested his former Pearl Jam bandmates “do the right thing” in regard to his inclusion in their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. As Abbruzzese entreated on Facebook, “They can’t justify ignoring my contributions. Like me or not. If there is still a part of that band that remembers how hard we worked, how much blood and how much sweat… They will do the right thing.”

2016 is the first year that Pearl Jam is eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame treatment. Artists may be selected for induction 25 years after their first album was released.

What do you think about the Pearl Jam Hall of Fame drummer controversy? Do you feel that former Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese should be included with the band’s current members and founding drummer Dave Krusen in their upcoming Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction? Let us know your thoughts on Pearl Jam and their bygone drummer Dave Abbruzzese in the comments section below.

[Featured Image by Samir Hussein/Getty Images]