Everyone knows PJ’s had a million drummers who all seemed to be named Dave or Matt. Ok, maybe not a million, and maybe not all Daves and Matts (hello Jack Irons). But you get the idea. People who’ve drummed on Pearl Jam records include Dave Krusen, Matt Chamberlain, Dave Abbruzzese, Jimmy Shoaf, Jack Irons and Matt Cameron. Wait a minute. Jimmy Shoaf?!?
It’s a basic fact that Dave Abbruzzese was Pearl Jam’s drummer when they recorded Vitalogy in late 1993 and early 1994. And ok sure, that’s Jack Irons drumming on “Stupid Mop,” it’s written right in the album’s credits. Who, then, is the mysterious guy who drums on “Satan’s Bed”? The “Satan’s Bed” page of the liner notes only say “Jimmy, drums.” And a recent discussion on the Red Mosquito board inspired a spirited debate. One Red Mosquito board member wrote us about it, so we did our best sleuthing and the answer is…
The mysterious “Jimmy” is one Mr. Jimmy Shoaf, Dave Abbruzzese’s drum tech at the time. TwoFeetThick asked Jimmy Shoaf for the lowdown. “Yes, that was me on Satan’s Bed,” Shoaf said. “It was the last day of sessions at Bad Animals in Seattle and Dave Abbruzzese was getting his tonsils taken out. I was supposed to be packing up the drums when Stone, Eddie and the recording engineer could not get a drum machine to work and called me in the control room to look at it. I got it going and it was a simple beat and Stone said get behind the kit and play that beat so I did. I did not hear any vocals or bass until the album came out and actually didn’t think it would make it to the record. I thought they were just getting ideas down to tape.” But Jimmy adds that the drum machine may have also gotten some air time on the track; he’s “not sure if it’s all me or me and a drum machine.”
Eddie Vedder told some of the story himself way back in 1994, onstage in New York at the Paramount Theatre on April 17. “When were in Seattle, we recorded a bunch of new songs. This one was [on] the last day we were in the studio. Dave was getting his tonsils out or something. And me and Stone, we wrote this song. The drum tech was actually playing the drums on it. Anyways, this guy named Adam who’s here tonight, we stayed up ’til like four finishing it. Adam, wherever you are, we’re gonna play this song.”
At first glance, it may seem like Eddie is equating “Adam” to “drum tech.” But read carefully and it’s clear that they are separate mentions: a drum tech and someone named Adam were both involved in the session. Who is Adam? Jimmy Shoaf gave us a clue: “the recording engineer could not get a drum machine to work and called me in the control room to look at it,” Shoaf said. One look at the Vitalogy liner notes and there’s “Adam Kasper, Assistant Engineer.” Name sound familiar? That’s because not only did he assist with the engineering of Vs. and Vitalogy, he produced Riot Act. Adam Kasper has also produced Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, and Queens of the Stone Age.
Though Shoaf didn’t get a formal album credit, the tally of drummers on Pearl Jam albums now stands at six: two Daves (Krusen, Abbruzzese), two Matts (Chamberlain, Cameron), a Jack (Irons), and for one song, a Jimmy.
UPDATE August 3, 2005: A few fans have written in wondering why we included Matt Chamberlain in the “tally of drummers on Pearl Jam albums.” Just to clarify, we realize that Chamberlain didn’t record in the studio with PJ, BUT his drumming from a live show did wind up on some non-US versions of Ten, so technically he is on a PJ ALBUM. “Alive (live)” recorded on August 3, 1991 at Seattle’s RCKNDY with Chamberlain on drums, appears on the New Zealand, European and Japanese versions of Ten. It’s very minor, we know, but we
figured we’d include it anyway.
One email we got wondered why Chris Friel, who recorded some of the 1990 demos with Mookie Blaylock, wasn’t included. We omitted Friel because he WASN’T on an ALBUM. but his drumming doesn’t actually appear on any ALBUM. Hope that explains why we included Chamberlain and left out Friel. Please do use the form below to let us know if something doesn’t make sense here.