Matt Cameron's Pearl Jam drum setup in pictures
Manchester’s Evening News Arena is packed to the rafters and Matt Cameron is powering Pearl Jam through two hours of wall-to-wall hits, thousands of fans bouncing to every two and four - this is the scene when Rhythm meet up with the legendary grunge player during his recent UK tour.
His playing is quietly confident and full of perfectly-judged dynamics yet crushingly powerful all at once as he snaps through the 120 minutes of hard and heavy rock drumming looking every inch the master at ease.
Just a couple of weeks earlier Rhythm saw Matt again at the kit and in front of thousands of fans - but this time with fellow Seattle grunge scene alumni Soundgarden. The reunited band stopped off at the spectacularly mud-splattered Download festival for their first UK show in 15 years.
That night saw a very different display from Cameron. While Pearl Jam finds him hard-hitting but methodical and ice cool, Soundgarden is an entirely separate animal, demanding a playing style that is every bit as exhausting mentally as it is physically as he contends with time signature switches, delicate ghost notes and wave after wave of absolutely deafening noise.
After enjoying successful yet separate careers with the two bands, those careers now find themselves entwined, with criss-crossing schedules and recording sessions.
Rhythm Magazine headed backstage in Manchester to chat with the man charged with providing the beats for grunge’s two biggest survivors. Here we bring you pictures of Matt’s Pearl Jam drum setup along with snippets of that interview, which you can read in full in Rhythm Issue 206.
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Next: The kit...
Yamaha Oak Custom drum kit: 12x8-inch rack tom; 13x9-inch rack tom; 16x14-inch floor tom; 18x16-inch floor tom; 24x14-inch bass drum; 14-inch Gregg Keplinger snare
On his earliest influences with Soundgarden...
“I listened to a lot of jazz music when I was a kid, a lot of Tony Williams then I got into Bill Bruford, Terry Bozzio, Billy Cobham and some of the fusion guys.
“I think I was more influenced by jazz and fusion than punk or hard rock. But I loved all that stuff too – Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, MC5, Stooges, all that stuff. But I felt I was always learning more with jazz drummers or listening to drummers that played more difficult music. I geeked out on that stuff.”
Zildjian: 14-inch K Light hats; 17-inch K Custom Dark crash and 18-inch K Crash Ride; 19-inch Projection crash; 20-inch Rezo crash; 22-inch A Medium ride
On writing with Pearl Jam...
“Pearl Jam is not as obviously weird time signature-type music. But, it’s got to have a certain intensity that Soundgarden has to have as well.
“As far as the writing process goes, it’s really fun because I try to fit the band with the types of songs I bring in. The guys are real specific about what each instrument is doing once we get to a point where we demo a song or we’re recording a song. It’s more about making the parts fit.
“Sometimes that’s when the real musicianship and the intricacies come in with Pearl Jam. With the band we’ve really got to support the vocals and make sure we’re not playing over the vocals.”
Yamaha Hardware; Vic Firth Matt Cameron sticks; Remo heads
On reforming Soundgarden...
“We started talking in 2008/2009 about updating our catalogue. We had a B-sides record we wanted to put out, there was a Sub Pop record that was never released, so we were trying to get that rolling and figure out some business stuff.
“Through that we decided to go out and play. Gee, we’re a band, let’s get in the room and see what happens. Then we had a gig at the Showbox in April 2010 and it was fantastic. We had such a good time we decided to pursue some gigs and take it slow. We got the Lollapalooza gig and from there it was my idea to make a record.
“That was the only reason I wanted to do it, to make a record. I didn’t need to go out and play more gigs, but I’m certainly happy we’re able to do that and make all of the schedules work.”
Now check out Rhythm’s current Issue 207 for an in-depth interview with Stewart Copeland. Or subscribe to Rhythm here for a monthly dose of new gear reviews, kit buying guides, pro drum lessons and all-star interviews.
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