Pearl Jam Fires Drummer Dave Abbruzzese

Despite the band statement that the split was mutual

October 6, 1994
Dave Abbruzzese with Pearl Jam
Dave Abbruzzese with Pearl Jam in Amsterdam.
Paul Bergen/Redferns

In late August, Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese issued a statement claiming he was fired by the band, contradicting an earlier communique released by Pearl Jam that had described the split as "mutual and amicable."

"There are different philosophies and personalities that make up Pearl Jam," Abbruzzese said on Aug. 26. "For reasons that I don't completely understand, the other members decided it was necessary to fire me in order to pursue a philosophy which they perceive as incompatible with mine. I was not involved in their decision, nor do I agree with their decision, but I accept it and am proud to have been a part of what Pearl Jam was."

Abbruzzese, who joined Pearl Jam in 1991, says he was uncomfortable with the euphemistic spin his former band mates put on the split. "When I heard everyone saying I left the band to 'study music' or whatever, it hit me wrong," says the drummer. "It made me feel like I was the one who had felt no responsibility to what the music meant to people. And I just felt I'd rather have the truth out."

Pearl Jam manager Kelly Curtis confirms that Abbruzzese had been fired. "I was hoping not to have to say anything about it," says Curtis of the band's initial statement, "because it's no one's business. It was a band decision – it wasn't Eddie Vedder, it wasn't any one person. Everyone thinks Dave is a great drummer and a great person, but it wasn't happening."

Pearl Jam's third album, tentatively titled Vitalogy, is scheduled for release this fall. Curtis says the band has no immediate plans to replace Abbruzzese and laughed off rumors that the band is eyeing Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl.

Asked about his plans, Abbruzzese says: "I just want together up my friends and make music with no focus on why. Rather than feeling like I have to rush out and do anything, I want to enjoy the process, have a good time and put the emphasis on the enjoyment of relationships and communications."

Meanwhile, he adds, laughing, "I guess I'll just gather up the nest egg, climb in a mobile home and get Lost in America."

This story is from the October 6th, 1994 issue of Rolling Stone.

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