Dave Abbruzzese

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Dave Abbruzzese
Dave Abbruzzese Bix Stuttgart.jpg
Background information
Birth nameDavid James Abbruzzese
Born (1968-05-17) May 17, 1968 (age 50)
Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
GenresGrunge, alternative rock, hard rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsDrums, guitar
Associated actsCourse of Empire, Pearl Jam, Hairy Apes BMX

David James Abbruzzese (born May 17, 1968) is an American musician who was the drummer for the American rock band Pearl Jam from 1991 to 1994. He replaced drummer Dave Krusen in 1991, shortly before the release of the band's debut album, Ten. Abbruzzese played on the band's next records Vs.

Pearl Jam was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 7, 2017.[1] However, Abbruzzese was not included on the hall's list of inductees.[2]


Early life[edit]

Dave Abbruzzese was born in Stamford, Connecticut, but grew up in Mesquite, Texas, where he attended Vanston Jr. High.[3] Abbruzzese grew up drumming on his dad's tackle boxes.[4] While living at home the only thing in his bedroom (besides a bed) was his drum set. Abbruzzese dropped out of North Mesquite High School at an early age and began to focus on playing more than ever.[5] He started playing in the Texas music scene, performing in such bands as Segueway, Flaming Hemorrhoids, and Course of Empire, and along the way, he formed a band called Dr. Tongue, a three-piece, funk-influenced band that gigged in the Dallas and Denton area.[5]

Pearl Jam[edit]

In 1991, Abbruzzese got a call from drummer and friend Matt Chamberlain, whom Abbruzzese knew through the Texas music scene, in regard to filling in for him in the band Pearl Jam when he left.[4] Chamberlain had his eyes set on G. E. Smith's band on Saturday Night Live. Abbruzzese left for Seattle, Washington to meet and become acquainted with the members of Pearl Jam. Although his musical tastes were far diverse from the other members, Abbruzzese chose to join Pearl Jam, playing his first show on August 23, 1991. Initially, Abbruzzese was reluctant to join the band full-time. Then after his second show with Pearl Jam, Abbruzzese went straight down to his local tattoo parlor and had bassist Jeff Ament's stick figure drawing from the sleeve of the "Alive" single tattooed onto his left shoulder.[6] Abbruzzese joined the group and played the rest of Pearl Jam's live shows supporting the Ten album. Abbruzzese toured extensively for Ten and performed on MTV Unplugged and a Saturday Night Live appearance. The band found itself amidst the sudden popularity and attention given to the Seattle music scene and the genre known as grunge.

With Abbruzzese, the band recorded its second studio album, Vs., released in 1993. Upon its release, Vs. set at the time the record for most copies of an album sold in a week,[7] and spent five weeks at number one on the Billboard 200. Vs. was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album in 1995.[8] From Vs., the song "Daughter" received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and the song "Go" received a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance.[9] Abbruzzese toured extensively for Vs. and performed on a Saturday Night Live appearance. Abbruzzese wrote the music for the Pearl Jam songs "Go", "Last Exit" and "Angel" (from the 1993 fan club Christmas single). He played with Pearl Jam through April 17, 1994. In 1994, the band began a much-publicized boycott of Ticketmaster.[10] Although Abbruzzese performed on the band's third studio album, Vitalogy, he was fired in August 1994 due to personality conflicts with the band members, four months before the album was released.[11] Ament stated, "Dave was a different egg for sure. There were a lot of things, personality wise, where I didn't see eye to eye with him. He was more comfortable being a rock star than the rest of us. Partying, girls, cars. I don't know if anyone was in the same space."[11] Guitarist Stone Gossard said, "It was the nature of how the politics worked in our band: It was up to me to say, 'Hey, we tried, it's not working; time to move on.' On a superficial level, it was a political struggle: For whatever reason his ability to communicate with Ed and Jeff was very stifled. I certainly don't think it was all Dave Abbruzzese's fault that it was stifled."[11] Abbruzzese stated, "I didn't really agree with what was going on. I didn't agree with the Ticketmaster stuff at all. But I don't blame anyone or harbor any hard feelings. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't furious and hurt for a long time. But now I just wish there was more music from the band I was a part of."[11]

On October 18, 2016, Pearl Jam was named among the 2017 class of nominees for induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[12] In a departure from the protocol of previous years, the Hall named which specific former members would be inducted from each nominated band. The only former member of Pearl Jam to be included was Dave Krusen. Reacting to the snub, Abbruzzese stated "The members of Pearl Jam have got to know what's the right thing to do. 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."[13] He further stated "It’s just a fine opportunity to see what Pearl Jam has to say in response. Let’s see if they do the right thing. It’ll be interesting to see the spin that is put on it. That band and its management have never been ones to shy away when an injustice is done. Let’s see if they still have the courage to fight the good fight!"[14]

On December 29, 2016, Alternativenation.net shared the following Facebook post written by Abbruzzese [15] it reads as follows; "To all of you: I saw that my friend, Joe Gastwirt posted the following; "Leaving Dave Abbruzzese out of this award, discredits every member of Pearl Jam that receives it, as well as every other artist that has received an award from the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame." This tops the heap of countless heartfelt reminders of moments, well wishes, and folks showing me some serious love and consideration. The outpouring of support and the show of appreciation that has been given to me from friends, fans and my peers has been just tremendous. …overwhelming even. I do agree with Joe’s post. Pearl Jam has always seemingly had a perceived level of integrity and has been known to stand their ground & fight the good fight, but it seems the allure of being given this trophy is just to important for them to take a stand. I want to let you all know that ultimately, it’s gonna be okay. We still have the music and no amount of corporate conglomerate or ticky-tack bullshit can keep us from enjoying the power of the music we love. The fact that we find ourselves fighting for the integrity of the validity of a segment of Pearl Jam history to be acknowledged is straight up beautiful. The reason we have to is what the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is supposed to have been built to celebrate; The love of the music. I have always thought that every award given to a band that celebrates the bands lifetime achievements should be awarded to every person that was ever a debt incurring, life sacrificing, blood spilling, member of that band. Maybe the Hall should reevaluate the need to put all the monkeys in the same cage in order to boost revenue, and instead let the history of the band be fully and completely represented as they were and as they are. …leave it up to the group to show their true colors as they celebrate their own history in a manner of their choosing. I don’t know. But whoever is ultimately responsible for the decision that deemed my work with Pearl Jam as an effort that was not important enough to grant me induction knows nothing of what we accomplished, and I am personally at a loss for words for how Stone, Mike, Jeff, Matt, Edward and Kelly Curtis are accepting of such an injustice. I will admit to wanting to look out over my drum kit at the faces of Jeff, Stone, Mike and Eddie. Looking to my left at my drum tech, the mainest of mellow, Mr. Jimmy Shoaf and seeing him give me that look that dares me to destroy my cymbals and kick the songs ass, the bands ass and the crowds ass… The idea of counting it off and giving the band, the music & the people all that I have to give, as I always have without compromise or hesitation… The sound of the people singing along… Making eye contact with the person air drumming their ass off right before the big drum fill, so we can do it together…I loved it. I loved it every single time. If you were there, then you know what this band Pearl Jam was like when it had something to prove. Well, we proved it every single time. Show after show. I was there and I am still proud to be a part of what Pearl Jam was. My point in all of this is to share the fact that what Pearl Jam once was, is what is still, and will always be Pearl Jam. I know things are tough. We need music, each other and the spirit of Rock & Roll now, more than ever before. Thanks for everything, everyone. I for one have not and will not ever forget the incredible power of the times we shared together. Be all. David Abbruzzese"

Other musical projects[edit]

On September 30, 1997, Abbruzzese's newly formed band, the Green Romance Orchestra, released Play Parts I & V. The album saw Abbruzzese bring his own songs to the drawing board, as well as play the role of a producer. Play Parts I & V is a release of Free Association Records, which was formed by Abbruzzese in 1996.

In 1997, Abbruzzese rehearsed with Axl Rose during the making of Guns N' Roses' 2008 album, Chinese Democracy.[16] However, none of the material from the sessions ended up on the album.[17]

Afterward, Abbruzzese worked with HairyApesBMX. He mixed, produced, and engineered the band's 2000 album, Out Demons. Abbruzzese also lent the band a hand behind his drum kit on its Midwestern tour.

Abbruzzese drummed on the IMF tour with Jara Harris, Stevie Salas, and Bernard Fowler in early 2016.

Abbruzzese has also collaborated with Shawn Smith of Brad and Satchel. They released their song "Like The Child Of The Water I Am" for online download on December 26, 2015 and stated that their collaboration is ongoing and more music would be released in 2016.[18]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Abbruzzese has cited John Bonham, Sly & the Family Stone, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers as influences.[4] Abbruzzese's trademarks include heavy use of splash cymbals, the double-stroke roll, and a fast right foot. Abbruzzese refused to use two bass drums or a double-kick pedal, instead concentrating on playing the best he could with a single pedal. Abbruzzese is also known to be a particularly hard hitter, which may be reflected in him having suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome at one time.[19]


On his earlier, pre-Vs. Pearl Jam recordings, such as the tracks recorded for Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and the video version of "Even Flow", Abbruzzese is known to have used Ludwig drums. As of the Vs. record, he endorsed and used Drum Workshop drums, Sabian cymbals, and seemed to favor an 8x12 Brady snare drum.[4] Abbruzzese also had his own line of signature drumsticks, manufactured and marketed by Pro-Mark, but the model bearing his name appears to have been discontinued.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Abbruzzese married Laura Whisman, on September 2, 2006, and now they are separated.[3] He currently lives in Mesquite, TX. Abbruzzese has a daughter, Francesca, from a previous relationship. She was born in Jerome, Arizona in 2003 and is currently living with her mother in Austin, TX.


Pearl Jam discography[edit]

Year Title Label Track(s)
1992 Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Epic "Breath" and "State of Love and Trust"
1993 Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams Thirsty Ear/Chaos "Crazy Mary" (with Victoria Williams)
Judgment Night: Music from the Motion Picture Epic "Real Thing" (with Cypress Hill)
Vs. Epic All
1994 Vitalogy Epic All except "Bugs", "Satan's Bed", and "Hey Foxymophandlemama, That's Me"
1998 Chicago Cab: Soundtrack Loosegroove "Hard to Imagine"
1999 Movie Music: The Definitive Performances (Also part of the box set, Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century.) Columbia/Epic/Legacy "State of Love and Trust"
2000 Wild and Wooly: The Northwest Rock Collection Sub Pop "Even Flow" (live)
2003 Lost Dogs Epic "Hard to Imagine" and "Dirty Frank"
2004 Riding Giants: Music from the Motion Picture Milan "Go"
rearviewmirror Epic "Even Flow", "State of Love and Trust", "Animal", "Go", "Dissident", "Rearviewmirror", "Spin the Black Circle", "Corduroy", "Not for You", "Breath", "Daughter", "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town", "Immortality", "Better Man", and "Nothingman"

Green Romance Orchestra discography[edit]

Year Title Label
1997 Play Parts I & V Free Association Records

Contributions and collaborations[edit]

Year Group Title Label Track(s)
1992 Course of Empire Course of Empire Volcano "God's Jig"
1995 Corey Glover, Eric Schenkman, Billy Cox, and Dave Abbruzzese In From the Storm: Jimi Hendrix Tribute RCA "In From the Storm"
Doug Pinnick, Eric Schenkman, Noel Redding, and Dave Abbruzzese In From the Storm: Jimi Hendrix Tribute RCA "Burning of the Midnight Lamp"
1996 Nicklebag 12 Hits and a Bump Iguana "Sweet Thang"
1997 Stevie Salas Alter Native Gold Pony Canyon All
Nicklebag Mas Feedback Lizard Group "Sweet Thang"
1998 Stevie Salas The Sometimes Almost Never Was Pony Canyon Some
2000 HairyApesBMX Out Demons Free Association/We Sell Soul Some
2006 Bernard Fowler Friends with Privileges Peregrine "Pop That Thang"
Stevie Salas Be What It Is R&C Ltd. Some
2007 Stevie Salas The Sun and the Earth, Vol. 1 Arbor Some
2015 208 Talks of Angels Made in Hell 208 Talks of angels Angle of View


  1. ^ "Inductees: Pearl Jam". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Rock Hall of Fame: Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Yes Lead Nominees". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-12-21.
  3. ^ a b Green, Kathleen. "They’re Still In Harmony". The Dallas Morning News. October 23, 2006. Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b c d Peiken, Matt (December 1993). "Dave Abbruzzese of Pearl Jam". Modern Drummer. Archived from the original on February 15, 2011. Retrieved 2007-07-01.
  5. ^ a b Wen, Howard. "Un-rock Star". Dallas Observer. October 24, 1996. Archived February 15, 2011, at WebCite
  6. ^ Neely, Kim. "Right Here, Right Now: The Seattle Rock Band Pearl Jam Learns How to Celebrate Life". Rolling Stone. October 31, 1991. Archived February 15, 2011, at WebCite
  7. ^ "Pearl's Jam". Entertainment Weekly. November 19, 1993. Archived from the original on February 15, 2011. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  8. ^ "Awards Database". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 15, 2011. Retrieved August 2, 2008.
  9. ^ Pareles, Jon (February 26, 1995). "POP VIEW; Playing Grammy Roulette". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-03.
  10. ^ DeRogatis, Jim. Milk It!: Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the 90's. Cambridge: Da Capo, 2003. ISBN 978-0-306-81271-2, pg. 58
  11. ^ a b c d Weisbard, Eric, et al. "Ten Past Ten" Spin. August 2001. Archived February 15, 2011, at WebCite
  12. ^ Greene, Andy (2016-10-18). "Rock Hall of Fame: Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Yes Lead Nominees". Rolling Stone.
  13. ^ Kreps, Daniel (2016-10-19). "Former Pearl Jam Drummer Dave Abbruzzese Asks Band to Rectify Rock Hall Snub". Rolling Stone.
  14. ^ Buchanan, Brett (2016-10-19). "Dave Abbruzzese Responds To Pearl Jam Rock Hall of Fame Snub". alternativenation.net.
  15. ^ Buchanan, Brett (2016-12-29). "Dave Abbruzzese Reveals Why Hall of Fame 'Allure' Is Leading To Pearl Jam 'Accepting Such An Injustice'". AlternativeNation.net. Retrieved 2017-03-13.
  16. ^ "Chinese Democracy". gnrsource.com. Archived February 15, 2011, at WebCite
  17. ^ James, Del. "Axl Rose Insists Original Guns N' Roses Lineup Is Dead and Buried". Spinner.com. February 27, 2009. Archived February 15, 2011, at WebCite
  18. ^ "Like The Child Of The Water I Am (working rough mix)". Bandcamp. 2015-12-26.
  19. ^ Crowe, Cameron (October 28, 1993). "Five Against the World". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 1, 2010. Retrieved 2007-06-23.
  20. ^ "TX2BLN: Hickory 2BL Nylon Tip". Pro-Mark.com. Archived October 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.

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