Coming up on nearly 13 years (!) since Dave Abbruzzese’s departure from the band, a faction of Pearl Jam fans are still mourning the loss. While not having anything particularly critical to say about him, I never completely understood the whole Great Pearl Jam Drummer Debate. It always seemed to me that each drummer provided exactly what the band needed for the time they filled the seat, helping the band to grow. And I figure one of Dave A.’s best contributions during his tenure, without a doubt, is “Go”.
Hearing the Abbruzzese-penned guitar riffs as the first song on Vs., immediately established Pearl Jam’s second record as distinct from the monster hit (and Gossard Demos dominated) Ten. “Go” was tougher and faster than anything on the debut, a bruising single that suggested increasing momentum, not follow-up doldrums. Bringing a drummer’s sensibility to the song structure, the chords punched, the bass boiled, and McCready’s solo is frighteningly good, with Vedder’s voice clipped and quick, fighting to stay above the fray. The song remains one of the band’s most unique heavy tracks, largely thanks to Dave A.’s particular melodic and time-keeping sensibilities. By definition there could be nothing else like it after he left.