More than 100 of the most revered drummers in music, including Ringo Starr, Matt Cameron (pictured), Stewart Copeland, Steve Gadd, Jim Keltner, Jon Fishman, Max Weinberg, Carmine Appice, Nicko McBrain and 11-year-old sensation Nandi Bushell, have teamed for a new cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together” as part of WhyHunger’s “Drum Together” campaign, which aims to raise $1 million to tackle the root causes of global hunger and empower grassroots organizations to make a difference in local communities.
The musicians are featured in a 10-minute video performance of the “Abbey Road” Fab Four classic, which was arranged and co-produced by Randy Waldman, directed, edited and produced by Dakota Lupo and audio engineered and co-produced by Russ Miller. The project was conceptualized and produced by Brian Resnick and Dom Famularo. A full list of contributors can be found here.
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Cameron is no stranger to covering “Come Together,” which Soundgarden recorded for its 1990 EP “Loudest Love” and is the band’s only studio track to feature one-time Nirvana guitarist Jason Everman. He has also covered The Beatles’ “Rain” and “I’ve Got a Feeling” in concert with Pearl Jam. But even he was challenged by the complex arrangement found on the WhyHunger version, which features two different string sections, six different vocalists plus the Resistance Revival Chorus and well-known bassists such as Nathan East and Will Lee.
“When I was approached to do this with some of my favorite drummers of all time, I said, of course,” Cameron tells Variety. “Then I got the chart for this arrangement, and it was five pages long and went through three or four different genres of music. I was like, what have I gotten myself into? The actual aspect of learning the track was daunting, to say the least. For me, as a music fan and a musician, it was a real honor to be included with some of my drum heroes.”
“I don’t think I hit all the parts spot on,” he adds with a laugh. “A bunch of other drummers played all the transitions perfectly, so thank God they didn’t use my parts for some of those transitions. But it was super fun, and I think it came out fuckin’ awesome.”
WhyHunger was founded in 1975 by the late singer/songwriter Harry Chapin and radio DJ Bill Ayres to “change systems, policies and institutions that perpetuate hunger and poverty.” The organization’s work has taken on a new urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has drastically increased rates of hunger and poverty around the world. For Cameron, the charitable component of the project was a natural fit alongside Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy Foundation, which most recently raised more than $11 million for local homeless organizations via two August 2018 shows in the band’s Seattle hometown.
“It’s so impressive that all these musicians were able to join forces for such a good cause,” says Cameron, who was particularly thrilled to be playing in the company of influences such as Gadd, Dave Weckl and Parliament-Funkadelic’s Dennis Chambers. “WhyHunger really focuses on grassroots, community-based organizations that can help directly impact a local community in a positive way, which is what Pearl Jam has been doing for decades now.”
Adds Starr, who just released the new EP “Change the World,” “We all can agree that no kid should be hungry, and everyone should have access to nutritious food. This is a great cause that I’ve supported in the past and a great track — one of my favorite Beatles songs.”
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