By Brian Ives
If there’s any sure bet among the nominees for next year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction class, it’s probably Pearl Jam: twenty-five years into their career, they’ve still hugely popular, routinely selling out arenas and even stadiums, and they have been critically hailed for most of their career. Frontman Eddie Vedder also seems to be a friend of the Hall of Fame, having shown up to give speeches about the Doors, Neil Young, the Ramones and R.E.M. at inductions in years past.
Unlike other nominated bands (like last year’s inductees Deep Purple, and this year’s nominees, Yes) they’ve never broken up, and have retained a pretty solid lineup for most of their career. It’s always been: guitarist Stone Gossard, bassist Jeff Ament, Vedder on vocals and guitar and Mike McCready on mind-blowing lead guitar.
But in their first few years, they went through a few drummers. So, the question is: which drummers will be included? We break it down:
(Update: Rolling Stone reports that only Dave Krusen and Matt Cameron will be included in the induction)
Who: Dave Krusen
When: 1990-1991, played on their debut, the 13x platinum Ten.
Why Did He Leave? Sadly, he was having substance abuse problems.
Where Is He Now? He plays in ’90s grunge band Candlebox.
Odds of Being Included: Strong. The band has spoken kindly of him, and the fact that he played on their biggest album will surely play heavily in the decision to include him.
Who: Matt Chamberlin
Why Did He Leave? He joined the band during the Ten tour, right after his last band — Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, believe it or not — broke up. He was burned out from the road, and decided to join the Saturday Night Live band.
Where Is He Now? He works on a number of projects, and a few summers ago, played drums on a Soundgarden tour, filling in for — ironically — Matt Cameron… who was on tour with PJ.
Odds of Being Included: Nearly zero, as he never played on an album.
Who: Dave Abbruzzese
When: 1991 – 1994, including on 1993’s Vs. and 1994’s Vitalogy, two of the band’s most beloved and successful albums.
Why Did He Leave? Philosophically, he really didn’t fit into the band. He didn’t share their issues with Ticketmaster; on the other hand, he loved the rock star life, which was not how Pearl Jam rolled in the very serious ’90s.
Where Is He Now? He’s played with the guys from Nicklebag (not Nickleback), including singer Bernard Fowler (more well known as a backing singer for the Rolling Stones) but hasn’t been on many recordings in recent years.
Odds of Being Included: Pretty strong. While the band didn’t seem too conflicted about firing him, Vs. and Vitalogy are such important parts of their discography, it seems likely he’ll be included whether the band want him there or now. He may not sit at their table during the ceremony though.
Who: Jack Irons
When: 1994- 1998; he made his debut on Vitalogy‘s weirdest song, “Hey Foxymophandlemama, That’s Me” and then played on Neil Young’s 1995 album Mirror Ball, which featured Pearl Jam as his backing band, Pearl Jam’s subsequent 1995 EP Merkin Ball, 1996’s No Code and 1998’s Yield.
Why Did He Leave? Irons is a longtime friend of the band; he’s the guy who introduced Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament to Eddie Vedder. That he was burned out from time on the road is generally the reason given for his leaving the band.
Where Is He Now? In 2012-2013, he played in the Wallflowers.
Odds of Being Included: No Code and Yield are two of the band’s most adventurous albums, and Irons is sometimes credited with influencing them to go in a weirder direction. But those albums also featured hits like “Who You Are” (which Irons co-wrote), “Given To Fly,” “Do the Evolution” and “Wishlist.” It seems likely that he’d be included. If he isn’t, don’t worry too much: he’s already a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer as a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, having played on their classic Freaky Styley and Uplift Mofo Party Plan records in the ’80s. Still, it would be cool to see Jack become alt-rock’s first two-time Hall of Famer.
Who: Matt Cameron
When: 1998- today, including Binaural (2000), Riot Act (2002), Pearl Jam (2006), Backspacer (2009) and Lightning Bolt (2013).
Odds of Being Included: Cameron is Pearl Jam’s longest-running drummer, clocking in at eighteen years. While his era has not spawned many radio hits, since he joined they’ve proved themselves to be one of the best live bands in the land, regardless of hits. And odds are, Pearl Jam won’t want to accept the honor (or play at the event, which will be broadcast on HBO) if Cameron isn’t included. So it’s a safe bet he’ll be there too. And he’ll probably be back in few years, when Soundgarden (his other band) are inevitably inducted.