Matt Cameron is one of the most influential drummers to come out of the grunge era in the 90s. He’s been part of two majorly popular grunge and rock bands, and he’s played with plenty of other successful side projects throughout his career.
He, along with drummers like Dave Grohl and Sean Kinney, was a big reason for a lot of people starting to learn the drums throughout the 90s and early 2000s.
We’re going to give an overview of all the bands he’s played with, as well as take a deep dive into his playing style and how it’s helped him remain one of the world’s best gigging drummers for decades.
- Drummer for Pearl Jam
- Drummer for Soundgarden
- Popular drummer during the rise of grunge music
- Regularly listed in lists of the top 100 drummers ever
- Won two Grammy Awards with Soundgarden
Matt Cameron grew up in San Diego, California. He started playing drums as a child, and he was playing in bands by the age of 13.
Matt spent his early 20s playing gigs with various bands, but he was eventually noticed by higher-ups in the music scene around him, and he got the gig with Soundgarden, which was an upcoming grunge band in his town.
Soundgarden gained major notoriety and eventually became one of the first grunge bands to sign with a major label. This gained Matt Cameron even more fame. Sadly, the band broke up in 1997, and Matt Cameron got the gig to be Pearl Jam’s drummer one year later, and he’s been playing with them ever since.
Those were his two biggest bands, but he’s played with several side projects as well throughout his career. Soundgarden eventually got back together, and Matt Cameron remained the drummer for both bands.
Cameron has often performed with supergroups that have been comprised of other musicians that got famous in the 90s grunge era.
Notable Artists That Matt Cameron Has Played With
Pearl Jam went through a few drummers before Matt Cameron joined, and the group had been touring and recording for more than a decade before he became a part of the group. However, he’s always been seen as the main drummer, as he’s been with the band from 1998 until the present day.
The albums that he has tracked drums for are Binaural, Riot Act, Pearl Jam, Backspacer, Lightning Bolt, and Gigaton.
Soundgarden had been formed for two years before Matt Cameron joined in 1986, but it’s another band where he’s always been seen as the main drummer.
Soundgarden was a major band in the popularization of grunge music in the late 80s and throughout the 90s, and it’s a lot of the band’s songs that featured Matt Cameron’s distinct drum parts.
There are several odd-time songs by the band, which are commonly referred to as Cameron’s specialty when it comes to drumming.
Matt Cameron tracked drums for every Soundgarden album that has been released.
Temple of the Dog
The Temple of the Dog was a bit of a weird situation in grunge band history. It was a group formed by members of both Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, and it was a few years before Matt Cameron became the drummer for Pearl Jam.
The band only tracked one studio album, and it was before Pearl Jam had breakout success in the 90s. This band ended up having all the members of Pearl Jam in it, minus Chris Cornell, who was the lead singer of Soundgarden.
Hater was another side band formed in the 90s by Soundgarden members. This time it was by Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd. The band had more of a classic rock sound compared to the dirty rock that all the grunge bands were known for, but they split up when Matt Cameron joined Pearl Jam.
Matt Cameron is the epitome of a rock drummer. Everything he plays is hard and energetic. However, he also shows a lot of restraint when playing with Pearl Jam. His drumming with Soundgarden is a bit looser and more technical, especially when it comes to rock songs with strange time signatures.
Something else to mention about him is that he plays drum fills that are fairly unexpected. As drummers, we get used to hearing the same kinds of fills for various styles, but Matt Cameron always seems to pull ones out that make his voice behind the kit unique.
He’s regularly mentioned as one of the best drummers in the world, and that just proves how good of a drummer he is.
For most of the 90s, Matt Cameron was using DW drums. However, he switched to using Yamaha drums in the early 2000s, and he’s been playing them ever since. He’s always been a Zildjian cymbal player, frequently using all the lines that shine the most in rock music settings.
He’s also an endorser of Vic Firth sticks and Remo drumheads.
Even Flow Live in 2016
Even Flow is one of Pearl Jam’s most popular and recognizable songs, and it’s awesome to see Matt Cameron nailing the drum parts here.
The band has been performing this tune for sold-out crowds for decades, but this is one of the few drum-only camera angles where you can watch Matt Cameron play the whole thing. It’s a treat for Pearl Jam and Cameron fans!
Black Hole Son Live in 2013
A lot of people feel that Cameron’s drumming abilities are better utilized in Soundgarden’s tunes. Whether you feel that’s true or not, you can’t deny how great his drum parts sound here. You can also see Matt Cameron’s voice being utilized here for backing vocal parts.
Final Thoughts on Matt Cameron
Matt Cameron is a favorite drummer of many drummers who grew up in the 90s. If you weren’t listening to Nirvana at that time, it was Pearl Jam or Soundgarden, and Cameron was the drummer for both bands eventually.
There aren’t too many drummers out there who have managed the remain to full-time drummer for two majorly popular bands, although he played for Pearl Jam a lot more than he did for Soundgarden.
If you want to hear more of Cameron’s drumming, check out the side projects that he was part of as well.