There are some bands you create such a bond with that, no matter that they almost copy one set to the previous one, every time they come to your city on tour, you’ll attend their performance regardless. For 10 years I’ve never failed to my appointment with Jonny Kaplan since the first time I saw him in Lleida, and last Thursday was not to be an exception. It’s not a problem either that his last albums are not as brilliant as earlier ones, because he never fails, singing and playing with such groove everything is good vibes, and songs such as ‘Damaged’, ‘Seasons’ and ‘Ride Free’, will always be played for us.
There was a remarkable addition to the band, which was quite appealing for many, and that was the presence of Dave Krusen on drums. You might wonder, who the fuck is Krusen? Well, he’s a guy who happened to record all the drum parts of the debut album of Pearl Jam, as he was in the band.
The handover of drummers, from Krusen to Abbruzzese (from Dave to David) in the band was something which remained unknown for some time, and it was something weird in the day. Krusen had played the first shows and had recorded the album. He appears on the cover picture, and there were few promo pictures with him as member of the band. In fact the video of their first single, ‘Alive’, features him on the drums. Apparently what happened was that Krusen, right after the Ten recording, checking into rehab, due to personal issues and alcohol abuse.
How could he deal with the success of Pearl Jam as one of the bands able to be on top for more than 25 years knowing he stepped outside right before they rose like a rocket? What would have happened if he hadn’t quit? Perhaps his life would be sorted out by now, not worrying about which band to play with next, financially secure (even though I’m sure he get royalties for Ten, being properly credited). Or he could have been fired after the second album, considering the main problem of Pearl Jam has to do with the drummers all the time.
I try to figure out how is to wake up every day having this constant ‘What if’ in your head. Probably he overcame this issue time ago, but it must be really hard to cope with a past decision which was so meaningful and decisive for the rest of your life.
He’s been playing all the time since then, being involved in several projects as Candlebox or Unified Theory and playing with established artists, but it was really weird to see him in front of 100 people at a tiny club as Rocksound is, with Jonny Kaplan, who’s a terrific artist, but very low profile in the rock scene.
So right after the show I went to greet him, not to ask him to sign any stuff nor praise him just for being a member of Pearl Jam, but to thank him for his work in one album that really made such a marking point in my life, being a teenager and so, as to be what I am nowadays: a rock freak. Very humble and polite, Krusen received the compliment in the best manner, and thank me back for expressing such feelings to him.
I understand you cannot harass every musician who has made an impact in your life, and we create this respectful and elevated halo around the musicians up to such point we forget they’re also human beings, and have feelings. But I think if approaching the artist in the right way, not bothering nor interrupting or being impatient, and with politeness, is not a bad thing, but the opposite. Musicians appreciate receiving a feedback on their work, not only in terms of charts and record sales, but also in a more personal and emotional field, and probably this side of the recognition is still the most rewarding. At least I will keep on doing it the same way. Wish I was able to make an emotional impact on people the way that some have made and still are making on me up to day.