Pete Best, Chad Channing and John Kiffmeyer don’t have quite the same ring to their names as Ringo Starr, Dave Grohl and Tre Cool. Throughout rock history, bands on the brink of world domination have pursued whatever it takes to ensure their status as Gods is cemented – even if it’s meant kicking out a member for the greater good.
There was a point in time where Brad Wilk, now of Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave and Prophets Of Rage could’ve joined that unfortunate list of drummers who never quite made the cut.
Opening up to the Let There Be Talk podcast, Wilk discussed his brief stint with grunge legends Pearl Jam, noting that the musical forces didn’t quite gel as planned.
Wilk shared that the band invited him to travel to Europe to rehearse after losing their first drummer Dave Krusen, just after the recording of their debut album Ten, that went on to become a landmark 90s album cementing the band as total grunge heroes.
“I’m like shitting my pants, I’ve never been out of the country, I’ve got to go get my fucking passport, I’m listening to the songs, I’m super young [23 years old] and thinking, ‘This is my break, this is my time.’ I go to Europe and we play together, me and Eddie have this history, and we’re bonding over in Europe, but to the others, I’m just the new guy.”
“The original drummer that played on Ten [Dave Krusen] had drug issues, so they needed a new drummer. So this was right after that guy, Ten wasn’t even mixed yet. They’re at this farmhouse in England mixing Ten; I’m just so young, and they’re on Sony/Epic Records at the time.”
It all seemed to be going a little too well – until the band started playing, which Wilk noted that a lack of chemistry was evident.
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“Long story short, I go there, and I just don’t click musically, mostly with Jeff [Ament], who is an incredible bass player, awesome guy, and this is a classic case – it doesn’t matter how good you are, chemistry is everything. It just wasn’t clicking.
“For me, I wanted to be blinded by that, I just want to be in a band with my buddy, what an incredible opportunity. It didn’t work out, and I remember kind of leaving Europe with my tail between my legs, driving off going, ‘Fuck, there was my opportunity.’
Luckily for Brad, Rage Against The Machine went on to become massively successful shortly after with their 1992 self titled debut.