Former Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese has joined forces with the Pearl Jam France Facebook community to rerecord the band’s 1993 classic “Rearviewmirror.” The seven-minute video cuts between several fans taking turns on vocals, guitars, and bass, while Abbruzzese handles the drums, just as he did on the original recording.
Abbruzzese was Pearl Jam’s third drummer, but the first two (Dave Krusen and Matt Chamberlain) had very brief stints, and his time with the group between 1991 and 1994 coincided with their commercial peak. He plays on Vs. and Vitalogy and has a passionate following within the Pearl Jam fan community to this day.
Abbruzzese was let go from the band because of personality conflicts with Eddie Vedder. Shortly before Abbruzzese was asked to leave, Cameron Crowe interviewed the band for a Rolling Stone cover story and the drummer vented some of his frustrations. “To me, when I was younger and I heard about a band selling a million records, I thought the band would get together and jump up and down for at least a minute,” he said, “and just go, ‘Wow, I can’t believe it.’ But it doesn’t happen that way [in this band]. Me, I flip out. I jump up and down by myself.”
The band said the split was “mutual and amicable” in a public statement, but it was soon followed by a statement by Abbruzzese himself. “There are different philosophies and personalities that make up Pearl Jam,” Abbruzzese wrote. “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.”
He was replaced by former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons, but Irons left the band after playing on 1996’s No Code and 1998’s Yield due to mental health issues. He was replaced by Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron, who has been there ever since.
When Pearl Jam were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, only Krusen and Cameron were included. Irons showed up to support his longtime friends and even played with them that night, but Abbruzzese stayed home. “The members of Pearl Jam have got to know what’s the right thing to do,” he wrote on Facebook. “They can’t justify ignoring my contributions.”
Vedder did acknowledge Abbruzzese in his acceptance speech. “We had the great Dave Abbruzzese,” he said. “He was a great drummer — he is a great drummer. He’s a great fuckin’ drummer! And we wish him well.”