Dave Krusen is a Gig Harbor native, a founding member of Pearl Jam and a recent inductee to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Krusen was the band’s original drummer, joining in 1990 and leaving the group in 1991. Krusen was inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Pearl Jam on Friday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. He took some time to answer some questions via email about his childhood in Gig Harbor and where his music career has taken him.
Q: You were born in Tacoma and grew up in Gig Harbor. What are some of your memories of growing up in Gig Harbor?
A: I enjoyed Gig Harbor but was obsessed with the idea of living in a big city, and I can only guess it was my fascination with the New York Yankees as a kid. I moved to Seattle when I was 19. I bounced between Seattle, Gig Harbor and Tacoma until moving to California in 2003. Looking back, I realize how fortunate I was to grow up in Gig Harbor, such a beautiful place with so many wonderful people.
Q: Did you graduate from a local high school?
A: I got my GED. I hated getting up early. I did love my friends and teachers at Gig Harbor High School but I was a bit too much of a free spirit perhaps.
Q: Do you feel that growing up in a small town has had an influence on you?
A: Small town life was great for me. I grew up with the same group of friends from my earliest memories until I moved to Seattle to expand my musical horizons.
Q: Have you been back to Gig Harbor recently?
A: I was just in the Harbor (and) stayed at my brother’s house. He has a couple houses there and lets me stay in one when I come up.
Q: What are your impressions of the town now and how it’s changed over the years?
A: Gig Harbor is still a nice place, in my opinion, but it’s sad that the yards on Reid Road I grew up running through, riding bikes through, playing sports in, are now full of houses on cul-de-sacs. I get it, it’s growth, but it has taken a lot of the charm away. And the traffic is a bit of a drag. Still, such a beautiful place though. The scenery is amazing.
Q: You’ve had a long musical career, what are some of the accomplishments that you’re most proud of?
A: Being inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Pearl Jam Friday night was definitely the highlight of my career. It’s where we dream of ending up. Being the founding drummer in that band and making the music that we made has always been what I am most proud of. Over the years I’ve worked with some other very talented people too, like Unified Theory, Candlebox, Hovercraft, Ida Maria, and many other great musicians. I’ve toured a lot of the world, shared stages with artists I grew up listening to and loved like The Who, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Ann & Nancy Wilson. I still work with some greats in LA. I’m very lucky.
Q: Tell me about your induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Pearl Jam. What was that experience like?
A: The induction was surreal. I was seated at a table with my kids, and ELO, a band I have loved forever. My son sat near Kanye West’s manager and Pharrell Williams. We were among some great artists. Such a trip.
Q: How did you find out about the induction?
A: My friend Anita sent me a text while I was in Vermont on tour in September. I was a bit shocked, but very excited. I had no idea I would get to go to Pearl Jam’s headquarters, a giant warehouse/man cave you could only dream of (it’s quite mind-blowing — skateboard ramps, batting cage, classic cars, recording studio ... (it’s) unreal) and rehearse with them after all these years. It sounded awesome. Check out the show April 29 on HBO, we sounded better than we did 25 years ago, in my humble opinion.
Q: Have you kept in contact with other members of the group?
A: I have kept in contact but we all live our lives so not as closely as I would have liked. They are such great guys — all of them and I love them. They continue to impress me with the way they conduct themselves professionally and personally. Like I said, I’m STILL very lucky.
Q: What are some of your upcoming projects?
A: New projects are constantly changing and new stuff happening, there are too many to list, you’d have to look it up online.
For more information on Krusen and his upcoming projects, visit his website at davekrusen.com.