(Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for All In WA)

Happy Matt Cameron Birthday, everyone. Let’s celebrate arguably the most important drummer in the history of the Seattle rock scene.


First, some dates and numbers. Matt Cameron joined Soundgarden as their drummer in 1986, replacing Scott Sundquist who had replaced Chris Cornell on drums a year earlier? What’s that? You didn’t know Chris Cornell was Soundgarden’s drummer when they formed in 1984? Well, now you know. And knowing is half…well, you know the rest.


Cameron stayed behind the kit until Soundgarden called it quits in 1997. That’s 11 years, if my math is right. A year later, in 1998, Cameron was invited to join Pearl Jam on their Yield tour, replacing Jack Irons on drums. After the tour wrapped, the band asked him to take the gig permanently, and he did. When Soundgarden reunited in 2010, Cameron rejoined the band, but remained a full-time member of Pearl Jam, too. Pretty cool for all the members to come to an agreement and allow that to happen. It’s probably because of the time a number of them spent together in Temple of the Dog in 1990, right? Right.


So where did we leave off? 11 years in Soundgarden, plus another 8 from 2010 until the band broke up in the wake of Chris Cornell’s death in 2017. That’s 19 years total. And he’s been in Pearl Jam now since 1998, which is 24 years. So Matt Cameron has now been the drummer for Pearl Jam for a longer time than he was for Soundgarden. Kind of a Dave Grohl Nirvana/Foo Fighters situation. Wild.


A Matt Cameron Birthday Six-Pack

Bottom line: the man is so sought after because he plays the mess out of the drums. As we’ll get into below, the work he did in Soundgarden with their unconventional time signatures takes an insane amount of talent. And he has it. So let’s crack open a six-pack of Cameron and wish him a Happy Birthday.

  • Skin Yard "Reptile"

    Cameron started his music career with grunge trailblazers Skin Yard, who were featured on the now-legendary Deep Six compilation. He wrote this one.

  • Soundgarden "Rusty Cage"

    Remember up there when I was going on about Soundgarden’s penchant for complicated time signatures and Cameron’s ability to handle them with seeming ease? The breakdown in this on is Exhibit A.

  • Temple of the Dog "Pushin' Forward Back"

    Another not-so-easy beat that Matt makes sound so simple.

  • Pearl Jam "Save You"

    Another Cameron-penned gem of a song, this time with Pearl Jam.

  • Smashing Pumpkins "For Martha"

    Remember that one Smashing Pumpkins album where they didn’t have Jimmy Chamberlain on drums? Matt helped out on a few tracks.

  • Wellwater Conspiracy "Teen Lambchop"

    One of Cameron’s side projects.

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