Ex-Pearl Jam Drummer Reveals How Band Was ‘Cruel’ And Lacked ‘Remorse’ With Firing

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Today is the 23rd anniversary of Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy, the band’s final album to feature drummer Dave Abbruzzese before his firing from the band. Abbruzzese recently answered fan questions on Facebook, which you can see below.

Lyrically, what was the inspiration for GRO – Remains?

The inspiration for my original words was to release how i felt at the time. I couldnt understand how people could be so cruel. To just turn and go the other way without seemingly a thought or remorse for another persons well being. I attempted to accept this, but to accept it would mean to become it. I just wasnt willing to lose the sense of kind consideration that i carried for other people, whether i respected their opinions, their actions or not. The only way i felt i could resolve the feelings of loss and resentment was to just let it out. So I wrote what i felt as if maybe that energy would go out into the cosmic hooptifloop and serve to release me from the sickness that these feelings trapped inside of me were bound to create.

The killer fast drum fill in the bridge of “Glorified G” – was that spur of the moment and tracked in that one take or was that something you tried several different fill variations and just picked that one from the lot?

Totally spontaineous. No prethought.

You’ve mentioned in your Modern Drummer interview that “Daughter” was originally more tom fill heavy and that Brendan preferred more of a kick/snare only combo. Live you played something along the middle of the road. Were there other songs off Vs or Vitology where you had an approach in mind you really liked but ended up being different on the final product?

Yes. On VS Rats. Brendan encouraged me to use my ludwig drums in a small configuration. 26 kick, 18 floor tom, 14 snare, a couple cymbals in a tile room. Same with RVM. So just the fact that i was playing on a stripped down setup made me approach the part differently.

Vitalogy was recorded in multiple studios, and that in its own respect inspired differences. Tremor Christ for example was virtually a one take improve drum track. The sound of the atrium at Daniel Lanois studio in New Orleans was big and the WFL snare that i had borrowed really made the track. And just as much as that studio inspired my playing to be one way, the studio Southern Tracks in Atlanta was exactky the opposite. It made the parts I wanted to play seem like the wrong parts because during the tracking if my parts, the sound in my heaadphones was very challenging to feel a good vibe about. I learned a lot through that process. Mainly, that i had to trust that if my playing was solid it would translate to tape.

A lot has been said about your writing contributions to the song “Go”. But, you are also co-credited with “Last Exit”. I am curious which parts you wrote or brought to the table.

As far as i know, i have writing credits on all but a couple of the songs on VS & Vitalogy. What i brought to the table with GO was the guitar riff… To the other songs it was arraingment, and my style of approach.

  • Billy

    Let it go Dave, it is not too hard to see why you were fired and why the band did not go out of their way to make sure you were included you in HOF induction when all you do is cry and whine about it.
    my goodness is he a drama queen

    • Corndog

      I can’t blame him for being sore about it. I can’t imagine that i would feel any differently if it was me.

    • theseeker7

      I’ll concede, as opposed to when I was just seeing the headline, but now I see in all fairness he was answering a question that was posed to him, but still, all in all this is really accumulating and getting old. He’s just seeming borderline sad/pathetic with whenever he talks about this.
      And the band made it as clear as it seems to me they could have: they had ZERO CONTROL on how the totally independent institution of the Rock & Roll HOF would handle who of previous members gets officially inducted, and they very cordially invited him to come to the ceremony anyway.

  • Stone Gossardish

    I don’t know why they would have much remorse. They let him go. Dave’s always been complimentary of how Stone did it, and maybe Mike said goodbye also. But there wouldn’t be any remorse. That band was trying to survive, first.

    Appreciate all of Dave A’s contributions, though I wish Angel would’ve been on Lost Dogs but they’re do for another one of those soon anyway. They just need to go in and finish a few tunes and then LD2 shall be born, or More Lost Dogs.

    • Michael Dolce

      I’d love to hear that as the band doesn’t exactly make new music much anymore together nor is it the same kind of inspired songwriting of years past. More Yield and Vitalogy outtakes please!!! (Though i suspect there are none 🙁

  • timmy hendero

    i would be bitter also waking up everyday knowing i was fired from one of the biggest bands of all time BUT you cant let that show, move on , form a new band?

    • Anonymous501

      Yah, I imagine it’s not easy. Your a drummer and you land the best drummer gig there is. You thoroughly enjoy it for a few years and then you get let go because your not a good fit. Not only do you lose the job you love, but people won’t stop asking you about it for decades as a constant reminder of what you lost.

      • timmy hendero

        Dave A is that you ?

        • Anonymous501

          no, but it’s easy to empathize with the guy… it must of sucked.

    • rata

      would love to see him play new stuff and start a band with Kim and Ben.

  • Corndog

    Had to come back to this article by way of a double take. Couldn’t believe that i had actually read an article that wasn’t about some dead dude or some dead dudes widow, granny, cousin, mother in law, daughter or cat, because that’s not getting at all old at this point…

    • timmy hendero

      Kudos to those catchy titles for clicks !

  • Debbie Jo Abrams Moore

    I love PJ and I love each musician. There is always the other side of the story. There is a reason we have so blessed to have them for so many years…I think they know what works and what doesn’t to keep this band together. If he had been done so wrong why bring it up now? Settle things like this in private, don’t speak badly about the members of one of the most successful bands in the past 3 decades. Seems he’d be smarter than that…. I love and appreciate PJ and all the joy they have brought to my world. I stand behind them 150% and the best thing for Dave to do is suck it up and put on his big boy pants and don’t publicly try to smear these guys!! It makes me see part of why he didn’t fit…no time for a whiner!

  • Trovoid

    That drum fill from Glorified G is very impressive. Same with his single pedal foot work on songs like Whipping (after Eddie sings “Oh don’t get behind I can’t fall back”). Also when they played Daughter on SNL he does some crazy hi-hat work towards the end of the song. The man is skilled.