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


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.