I recently had the chance to ask former Pearl Jam drummer Dave Krusen a few questions about his drumming career and his experience with GRAMMY Camp®. Krusen had some interesting things to share about his influences, heroes, and how working with Campers is a two-way relationship.
Julian Ring: I know that you’ve played with many different bands during your career. Do you feel that playing all of these different styles within rock music has made you a better drummer?
Dave Krusen: Yeah, definitely. It’s made me look at things differently, and I’ve had to learn a lot of different songs, and play with a lot of different people. Everybody has their own way of doing things, so yeah, it’s been good for me.
JR: You’re well-known for your work on Pearl Jam’s debut album, Ten. How does it feel to know that you played drums on one of the landmark albums of the 90s Seattle grunge explosion?
DK: It was definitely the right place at the right time, in that sense. It’s a really good feeling to have been in a band with those guys for even a short time, as I was. It was a real blessing in my life, and still continues to be a great thing. I’m honored to have been a part of it, for sure.
JR: Who would you cite as your major influences, both as a musician in general and as a drummer specifically?
DK: Well, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Police, bands like that. Those drummers, obviously. And Steve Jordan is one of my favorite drummers, a huge influence on me. Matt Cameron is a huge influence on me, definitely was when I played on Ten. Mick Fleetwood, Phil Rudd, Peter Criss, guys like that.
JR: If you had to make an ideal band with any musicians, who would you pick?
DK: I would say, if I had to narrow it down -- Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, John Lennon, and Duck Dunn.
JR: Now that you have visited GRAMMY Camp for a few years, what are your impressions of the campers? What quality do you most admire in the students?
DK: I most admire their enthusiasm. They all inspire me so much. I have learned something every time.
JR: How would you describe you experience with GRAMMY Camp as a whole?
DK: It has been great to see so many kids into music. They all seem very genuinely grateful for the experience.
JR: What, in your opinion, is the definition of success?
DK: I think success is doing what you love. We all decide what success is on our own, I hope.