Tag Archives: Mike McCready

Watch Chris Cornell & Mike McCready Play Temple of the Dog & Mad Season

Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready joined Chris Cornell onstage last night at Benayora Hall in Seattle to perform Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike” and Mad Season’s “River of Deceit.” Watch videos below.


Before We Disappear
Can’t Change Me
The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Bob Dylan cover) (Rewritten version called “The Times Are A-Changin’ Back”)
As Hope & Promise Fade
Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart
Fell on Black Days (Soundgarden song)
Thank You (Led Zeppelin cover)
River of Deceit (Mad Season cover)
Hunger Strike (Temple of the Dog song)
Wide Awake (Audioslave song)
Doesn’t Remind Me (Audioslave song)
Be Yourself (Audioslave song)
Blow Up the Outside World (Soundgarden song)
Let Your Eyes Wander
All Night Thing (Temple of the Dog song)
Call Me a Dog (Temple of the Dog song)
When I’m Down
Worried Moon
Rusty Cage (Soundgarden song)
Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden song)
Like a Stone (Audioslave song)
Nothing Compares 2 U (Prince cover)
Ave Maria (Franz Schubert cover)
Cleaning My Gun
Wooden Jesus (Temple of the Dog song)

I Threw It All Away (Bob Dylan cover)
Higher Truth

Mike McCready discussed Mad Season and Chris Cornell in an interview with Alternative Nation earlier this month:

I’m very proud of the whole Mad Season Benayora Hall album that just came out. We got on the classical charts, we’re number 5 on the classical charts, which is bizarre to me, and amazing. That was an incredible journey that I started 2 and a half years ago talking to Ludovic Morlot, who is the head of our Seattle Symphony. When he said yes I would like to do this, and do these Mad Season songs, that’s when I gave him the CD, and he came back about a year later. Then Chris got involved, and it turned into something bigger and more magical than I could have ever imagined. Jeff and Stone came, we did some Temple [of the Dog] stuff, I know I’m going back in time right now, but I’m very proud of that moment and that release, that we recorded it. Maybe we’ll do something else, we filmed some stuff from that show, so maybe we’ll do something with that someday.

I’d like to do something else with the Symphony someday, but I kind of need to figure out what that is, and if they’d even like to do that again. I’d love to do any kind of cool independent movies that touch me, that come my way. I’m sure we’ll end up doing some Pearl Jam stuff next year. Like I said opportunities arise if you are aware of them, if you keep your ear to the ground. I don’t know, I’d love to do something with Cornell again, he’s very busy, but that would be an amazing thing too, and I look forward to doing more stuff with my guys too.

Interview: Mike McCready Talks Pearl Jam’s Future, Mad Season & Chris Cornell Collaboration

Photo credit: Pearl Jam’s official Facebook

For most Alternative Nation interviews, I am usually called by a publicist who connects me to the musician I am interviewing. Some musicians are late, have topics they don’t want to discuss, and time limits. Mike McCready was different. At 1PM sharp on Monday afternoon I received a call from the legendary Pearl Jam guitarist personally, right on time for the interview. With classiness like this, it’s no wonder that Pearl Jam have one of the most loyal fanbases in rock.

McCready was very personable, willing to talk about everything from Crohn’s disease, his new HockeyTalkter Records, the state of the music industry, Mad Season’s creative process, working with Eddie Vedder on “Given to Fly,” collaborating with Chris Cornell for Mad Season’s Sonic Evolution live album (and his hopes for future collaborations), Dave Abbruzzese’s exit from Pearl Jam, his memories of Kurt Cobain, the Nirvana and Pearl Jam rivalry, possible No Code and Yield reissues, Pearl Jam’s 25th anniversary, a potential Lost Dogs sequel album, and much more. Interviews like this are why I launched this website six years ago, under the Grunge Report name. Pearl Jam were the first band I ever saw live back in July 2006 at the LA Forum (unless you count what was left of The Beach Boys in 2000), and one of the key bands that made me fall in love with the alternative nation.

McCready played in a flag football tournament over the weekend to raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, so we started off by discussing his struggles with Crohn’s disease. Note that the cell reception was a bit choppy for the first couple of minutes of the interview.

First off something I wanted to ask you about since I have a stomach condition myself, and I’ve seen all the great charity work you’ve done for it like the football tournament over the weekend, is how you’ve dealt with Crohn’s disease. I’ve read interviews where you’ve described the pain you suffered with it leading to some of your great guitar playing, and stories about how it first came on. I’m curious how you dealt with Crohn’s as a touring musician, how understanding your bandmates were, and basically how you have persevered through it?

I’ve been very lucky. I’ve had more of a mild case than a lot of people have. My bandmates have been supportive of it, [we knew each other] forever. With any sort of ailment, you hope that the people you are surrounding yourself with will be supportive of it, in terms of family, band, or work, whatever the situation is, and they were, and are. How I’ve dealt with it over the years, is just [finding the bathrooms] all the time on the road. Sometimes you don’t find it, and it’s a big mess, and it sucks, and sometimes those big messes [happen] on stage, and it’s super painful, but sometimes you can get through it. I just keep going. I feel like as I continue to meet more people that have Crohn’s or Colitis, certainly the younger kids who really have it bad, I kind of learn how they deal with it. I learn how people who have had it for a long time deal with it.

By having open lines of communication [with people who have] Crohn’s or Colitis, it makes it easier to bear, even though it still sucks. Ever since I’ve kind of started talking about it, I’ve found a lot of people that have come up to me who have aunts who have it, or uncles, or they have it. When I got it when I was 21 in 1986, no one knew what it was, and I didn’t know anybody who had it. Now there’s the CCFA, there’s things that go on around the United States and around the world, in terms of walks and runs, and camps like Camp Oasis, which is where kids go to up here in the Northwest, or down in California, they all have Crohn’s and Colitis. These are all positive things that I try to key into, and I have been over the last 10 years. That’s not saying it’s not hard and it’s not a struggle, but life is a struggle sometimes. I keep going, [and] hope it doesn’t get worse.

I first started having stomach problems when I was 20, so I really relate when I read your story. I know 1 or 2 other people [with similar problems], but it’s just tough to talk about, that’s why what you are doing is great, [and] it’s also a stomach problem I have, so it’s something I can really relate to.

You know about the immediacy of it, and the pain, and the nightmare of it, as I do. So I feel it, I understand it. It sucks.

But onto lighter things! You recently launched your own label HockeyTaltker Records with a Danny Newcomb release. Why did you start the label, and what kind of artists are you looking for for the label?

It’s kind of just a passion of vinyl for me. I love vinyl, I love 45’s, I love 12 inches or 10 inches, all the formats I grew up with I still listen to and enjoy the warmth of it. Danny Newcomb, case in point, is a phenomenal guitar player from the Northwest, he was in a band called Goodness. He was one of my oldest dearest friends, I’ve known him since we were 5 years old. Had he not gotten a guitar when we were on the block and wanting to jump around to KISS in 1977 or 1978, I may not have ever picked a guitar up. He was a big influence on me, and still is to this day. He’s just turned into a really good singer-songwriter, I’m kind of blown away by his voice right now, and happy for him, so I wanted to help him out.

Our next release is the Stereo Embers, which is again more friends of mine in Seattle. Tim DiJulio is a dear friend of mine, who plays in Flight to Mars, they have a really cool singer named Robb Benson, he’s been around the scene for awhile. They’re very power pop, kind of harder rock, it’s stuff that I enjoy. I’m not just staying in that genre, I’m just looking for stuff that I like, and stuff that the President [of the label] Chris Adams likes. It’s not like a [major] release or anything, it’s like 500 45’s, or 1,000 45’s, depending on what we think we can make back, and to promote those bands. It’s not a huge endeavor, and we’ve just started it, so we’re hoping we can turn it into something someday maybe. Right now I just want to have fun with it, so I’m open to any kind of band.

Especially having started a label, I’m curious what your thoughts on the industry are today when it comes to opportunities for new artists to break through. There’s a lot of known artists out there with their own takes, like Gene Simmons last year, Taylor Swift boycotting Apple Music initially, and Billy Corgan has had a lot to say. How do you think a band can make it today and become a household name like Pearl Jam, and make a living making music? Is it possible today?

I hope it’s possible. I think the next thing is out there. I think that the availability of channels to put music out, there’s thousands and thousands of ways to do that, and there’s YouTube. The problem is there’s thousands and thousands of bands doing the same thing. I don’t know how bands make it, I don’t know how we made it. We were kind of around at the right time in Seattle, and had record label support early on, which I don’t think happens any more. I think that there is a possibility for bands to make it now, I mean if I look at Macklemore and how he self-released everything via the internet and was very successful with that, and then got on the road and toured. It still probably comes down to touring, and putting people in clubs, and getting a fanbase. I hope it’s still that, and it’s not just American Idol and that kind of crap, which isn’t really around any more.

I don’t know what it takes these days Brett, it’s a whole different landscape from when I started. I was trying to hang onto my pants so to speak (laughs), and I don’t know how that all happened, that whole thing was bigger than us. I wish I had the answers. There’s a singer-songwriter named Star Anna, I wish she would get famous, or at least get a career, because she’s really really a great singer, and has a great soul to her. But people haven’t caught onto it yet, so maybe it’s just right around the corner.

Yeah, a lot of people who go on my site are looking for the next Seattle Grunge type movement, but now with the internet everything is so fragmented, that it’s just tough. But maybe that will lead to the next great bands being formed, you never know.

Maybe it will be a backlash to the internet thing, and it’ll just be a scene that creates itself somewhere in the United States, or in Cleveland, or in Canada, or in Belgium, who knows? That’s the exciting thing about music, you never know where it’s going to come, or what people are influenced by, or who it can influence, and where it can come from. There are many factors [that go into] what the next big thing will be.

Now moving onto your songwriting. How would you compare the process of writing songs with Eddie Vedder and Layne Staley, especially the one on one collaborations like “Given to Fly” and “River of Deceit”?

Hmm, good question. I’ll start with Eddie. With “Given to Fly” it was kind of an easy process. I came up with the whole idea, and I just worked on it on a snow day, when it actually snowed in Seattle back then in [1997 or 1998]. I think I worked up a demo of it, and then brought it into the band, and we just kind of kicked it around, and Ed seemed inspired by it. He would start singing melodies, and ideas and words. There wasn’t really any structure per se, from what I recall vocally, other than some melodies when we first were working on it. And then he, as he will do, will take it in the back room and bring his typewriter out, and start typing on his old school typewriter, and coming up with some lyrics. This may have happened over the couple of days after I had brought it in. He comes back, and starts singing, and it’s like oh my god, this is amazing.

With Ed, when he gets inspired, he does it 100%, and he goes in and he takes his time with it too. It could have taken longer than a couple of days, but when the first early demos of it were done, it was very exciting. It’s a situation where a song gets better because [now that] there are lyrics to it, and your band have made it better. Jeff [Ament]’s playing a bass a certain way, or Stone [Gossard]’s bringing in a little melody that I would never think of, or at that time Jack Irons was bringing kind of a groovy drum beat shuffly thing that I wouldn’t have thought of.

With Layne and “River of Deceit,” to get back into that time period, it was an interesting time. There was a lot of darkness going on, but there was also some light, and there was some music happening. Mad Season had started with Barrett [Martin], [John] Baker [Saunders], Layne and myself. It was kind of an open template in terms of music. When I talked to Layne about this project initially, it was just kind of like: ‘Layne do whatever you want to do. Do you have any vocals, or any songs you want to bring in? We’ll do whatever.’ I kind of wanted it to be that type of band, where all four guys were making decisions on it, in terms of songwriting or whatever. I remember having that conversation with him, he seemed into that. He had been reading a book called The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran at the time, and he explained that to me, and I thought wow, that is super deep. I came up with this little melody, and I felt kind of proud of it. It was a new thing, it was a situation where I was starting to be able to write songs and feel comfortable in Mad Season, where I maybe wasn’t with Pearl Jam because there were so many songwriters in Pearl Jam that were really good, and I at that time didn’t have the confidence, and I think that Mad Season allowed that just by it happening.

When we sat down and worked on it, I remember him just (sings): ‘My pain, is self chosen.’ It just seems right. Again, going off the template of kind of anything goes with Barrett, he would bring in violas and play one, or vibes, he hit pipes together (laughs), he had the most kind of eclectic musical taste that I’ve seen in a person, I think ever. I also loved him as the drummer of the [Screaming] Trees. Then my friend Baker, who I [brought in] from Minneapolis, kind of a trusty old blues guy that was super funny, I loved how he played. I think Layne felt like the situation was, I don’t know how he really felt, but I think he enjoyed it. There was a freedom in Mad Season from what I recall, in terms of the songwriting.

You recorded a lot of Mad Season demos in the late 90’s for a second album, a few of which were finally completed with Mark Lanegan for the box set a couple of years ago. What is happening with the rest of those songs? Could they be used for a solo record, or maybe something with guys like Chris Cornell singing on them like the Sonic Evolution concert?

I love all of those ideas. I haven’t thought about doing a solo record, I feel like as people have asked me that before, I’ve been doing a little bit of scoring on independent films, and some TV work, I kind of enjoy that right now. I’m not sure if I want to completely dedicate myself, I might be too lazy to try to do that (laughs). Certainly I would play with Chris Cornell in Alaska, I would play with that guy anywhere. If he wanted to write with us, Barrett, me, and Duff [McKagan], we would be honored. I would write with Chris any minute of the day.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen with the songs, they’re out there right now. We listen to them sometimes, but they may morph into something different that isn’t Mad Season, but we’re not sure yet. It depends on when we have the time, and the interest. We’ve been trying to do stuff with them, but hit a roadblock here and there, except for the Mark Lanegan stuff.


This year with Kurt Cobain there’s been a lot of coverage on him, and I was interested in getting your take on that. The documentary ‘Montage of Heck’ came out this year, I don’t know if you saw that.

I haven’t seen it yet.

I’m curious on your take on the public persona presented of Kurt to fans over the years, is that the same guy you remember?

I have to pull myself in back to the early 90’s. I didn’t know Kurt very well, but I’d see him around, I’d see their shows. I met him a few times, we played some shows, we opened up for Nirvana and the [Red Hot Chili] Peppers in San Diego, San Francisco, and Portland. We also played on a festival with them in Europe. It was just kind of an intense time, everybody was going through their thing, and NME was saying Nirvana and Pearl Jam were enemies, and all of the silly shit that was going on back then, it was kind of blown up in the press. So we were just doing our thing, and they were doing their thing. He was certainly an amazing songwriter and singer, these are all things that are just obvious statements.

In terms of the perception I remember, one of my fond memories was when we were at the MTV Music Awards I think in 1992. Nirvana was there, and we were there. We were sitting kind of close to them, but not really that close, and there was some tension and stuff apparently in the press. I was just kind of there, and I went: ‘You know what, I’m just going to talk to him. I don’t give a shit.’ I jumped over the seats and I just went and talked to him. I went, ‘Hey, I heard you and Ed were talking about maybe doing a solo thing sometime, and if you ever wanted some leads on it or anything, I would love to do it.’ He was just kind of like, ‘Ah, we’ll talk about it later.’ Something like that, so I was like: ‘Okay.’ I just wanted to put it out there, and hold the olive branch out there, because we all came from the same Northwest Scene. He’s an icon, he was an incredible singer-songwriter. I haven’t seen that movie yet so I can’t comment on it, but I do see Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl around sometimes, and it’s always good to see them.

Photo of PEARL JAM

Now when I told a few Pearl Jam fansites that I was going to interview you, everybody wanted me to ask you about Dave Abbruzzese and his firing from Pearl Jam. There’s always been so much mystery surrounding it, Dave was such a great drummer for the band, obviously Pearl Jam have had so many great drummers. What are your memories of Dave leaving the band?

I just remember that it wasn’t working out anymore. I think Stone had to go talk to him about it. There may have been things that were leading into it, but I don’t remember because it was so long ago. Stone and him had a conversation, and he was out. It was just something where he wasn’t working any more, in terms of personality wise I think, from what I recall. But I always had fun with him on the road, we had a good time, we really did have a good time.

He was an integral part of our band when we needed to have a drummer after the record had blown up. Matt Chamberlain, who was our second drummer at the time, had gone to Saturday Night Live, and we were about to get on the road and try to get on a giant tour. It might have been around the time it was us and the [Smashing] Pumpkins and Peppers, and then Lollapalooza. We needed to have a drummer right before those things, and he had recommended Dave, and he fit in perfect in the beginning. He knew how to play stuff, he was a hard hitter, and he had a groove. He played on Vs., which is a great record. But as things do, people change, and we were all in the middle of a maelstrom and whirlwind of the band getting famous and huge. Tensions will rise out of that, and honestly I don’t remember, we’ve had a lot of drummers, luckily we have Matt [Cameron] now, thank god.

Last year you played No Code and Yield live. When will the reissues for those albums come out, and what do you think might be included on them?

Good question. I don’t know, I’d love to put those back out, and that’s a conversation between Jeff, Ed, and Christian. But I think those are the next ones in line to come out, but I don’t have any dates on that. I’m sure we have some stuff left over, floating around. The majority of it was on Lost Dogs, some of the songs that were of that era I believe were on Lost Dogs, so there may not be a ton of stuff that would be with it, but there will be something. We have vaults and vaults, and files and files of stuff that we’ve all forgotten about, but are categorized, and we know where the tangible things are. I hope they come out soon, but I don’t have any kind of date or anything I could tell you.

You could always put those shows from last year on them. I think that would be great.

Yeah, we did do those. It’s an interesting thing trying to play a record all the way through live, because it doesn’t give you a lot of leeway, at least for me in terms of improvisation, and kind of how we do sets as we tour. You just kind of have to do it as close as you can to the record, and that requires a little bit of of diligence, and stress. But at the same time it’s a cool thing that happens, so you’re kind of willing to go through all of that. Until we started doing it Brett, it was like: ‘Oh yeah, we’ve got to do it this way.’ Structurally it’s going to sound different than our sets that we usually do, but it’s special to people, so that’s the important reason to do it.


You mentioned Lost Dogs, could we maybe see a second Lost Dogs type album come out in the future, because some Riot Act [and Avocado] stuff leaked on the internet a year or two ago, and there’s been some talk of unreleased Backspacer material, there was talk of the time about maybe an EP. Could you see those songs coming out?

I’m sure we could do something. We definitely have stuff that is left over from Backspacer, and from our last record too. We all come in with a lot of stuff. Some gets looked at, some gets kind of put aside, and some gets put on the backburner. The backburner stuff, there’s some pretty good stuff, I’d imagine we’d have another record for the B-sides and stuff like that. We just have to kind of go through them. We’re lucky in this band in terms of everybody writes a lot of songs, Ed’s receptive to that, that leaves us with a lot of songs, so that leaves us with a lot of stuff maybe to put out another Lost Dogs. I can’t comment on that, that would be another Jeff and Ed thing. We haven’t really talked about all of that this year, but I know that stuff is out there, and that we have extra songs for sure.

Pearl Jam are at a point where you guys can pick and choose where and when you play. You’re playing the Global Citizens Fest coming up, Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, and have a Latin America tour, and there are always fans in the southern United States, I’ve got a buddy in Florida, and also fans in Europe clamoring for shows. How do you guys decide where to play, and when to play? And also, where would you like to play in the future?

How we go about the process is we look at it kind of year to year, and we look at where the offers come from. Business wise, that’s kind of where you have to make the decisions. What we have to do to support our fan club, our management, our families, what we need to make for the year. Then we have the certain places we enjoy going, and we know we’ll do very well at. We’re very grateful that we can go to South America and play to really big crowds down there: 50, to 60, to 70,000 people. It’s a very powerful experience, and exciting. Or we’ll go to Australia and do the same, play in the States, maybe do less than that, but it’s still fun to play here.

We kind of look at a couple of things per year, maybe three legs of a tour, and hitting specific areas like Europe, and maybe the midwest, these are all hypotheticals. In the past we’ve done South America and Canada. We don’t want to be out forever, we have other things we do, but we certainly love it and we want to be out there at times. We all get the itch to be playing music again, and interact with the crowd, and play those songs live, because that’s what we do. But we do talk about it, and have meetings about it and kind of decide what we want to do in the coming year, tentatively. It’s never that mapped out, but then it does get mapped out, if that makes sense.


Right. Are there any plans to celebrate Pearl Jam’s 25th anniversary, kind of like the Pearl Jam 20 one?

I haven’t heard of anything about that, but I’d like to do something for sure. I’m happy to be still around (laughs), we’re still around one more year. It’s astonishing to be here for 24 [years], or 23 and a half, or wherever we’re at now, and we’re talking, and we’re still talking about Pearl Jam because there’s a lot of bands that aren’t around any more that we came up with. I feel very lucky and grateful that we can still do that. So who knows, there’s probably some surprises that I don’t know of yet, but again, we haven’t talked about it yet.

Pearl Jam have worked a lot with the great Brendan O’Brien over the years. Are there any other producers you’d like to maybe see Pearl Jam work with in the future, or is Brendan just the perfect guy at this point?

I can’t think of anybody else off the top of my head. I love Brendan, he’s kind of in our inner sanctum. He pushes us, we push him I’m sure. He’s a really good guitar player, has a great overall ear, and a good sound. He helped me write, he helped us all kind of bash in our songs together, he was very instrumental in pushing “Sirens” through for me, so I’m very happy with his direction on that. But I can’t think of any other producers off the top of my head that I would want to work with. I really enjoy Brendan, and I think we all feel that way, and that’s why we continue to use him. Maybe someday we do our own thing by ourselves. We’ve thrown that idea around, but that takes a lot of focus, and a lot of energy that we may not want to put into it. Brendan helps bring the energy and focus, and encapsulates it and has an overall view of where something can go. When you are kind of in the middle of it, you don’t know where it’s going to go, so it’s good to kind of have a captain at the head of it.

What is next for you musically next year? Because you do so much, you just did the Raw Power gig, you did some collaboration with Walking Papers a little while back, Mad Season, just so much. So what’s next for you next year, new Pearl Jam, new Mad Season, new collaborations? What do you think is coming next year for you musically?

Good question, I don’t know. I’m very proud of the whole Mad Season Benayora Hall album that just came out. We got on the classical charts, we’re number 5 on the classical charts, which is bizarre to me, and amazing. That was an incredible journey that I started 2 and a half years ago talking to Ludovic Morlot, who is the head of our Seattle Symphony. When he said yes I would like to do this, and do these Mad Season songs, that’s when I gave him the CD, and he came back about a year later. Then Chris got involved, and it turned into something bigger and more magical than I could have ever imagined. Jeff and Stone came, we did some Temple [of the Dog] stuff, I know I’m going back in time right now, but I’m very proud of that moment and that release, that we recorded it. Maybe we’ll do something else, we filmed some stuff from that show, so maybe we’ll do something with that someday.

I’d like to do something else with the Symphony someday, but I kind of need to figure out what that is, and if they’d even like to do that again. I’d love to do any kind of cool independent movies that touch me, that come my way. I’m sure we’ll end up doing some Pearl Jam stuff next year. Like I said opportunities arise if you are aware of them, if you keep your ear to the ground. I don’t know, I’d love to do something with Cornell again, he’s very busy, but that would be an amazing thing too, and I look forward to doing more stuff with my guys too. And really just some more stuff on the label, maybe something with Star Anna, I’d like to do that too.


Chris Cornell Discusses Mad Season’s Future

Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell discussed Mad Season’s possible future following their January 2015 Sonic Evolution performance in a Pearl Jam Radio special with Mike McCready on SiriusXM, as transcribed by Alternative Nation.

“Saying yes was easy, because it’s an honor, but I was a little afraid being in the middle of recording. I have that certain type of ADD that sort of forces you to only focus on one thing, and it was kind of like, oh to do this, I don’t really want to do that. Then I was kind of tossing it up, and it was actually my wife Vicky who said: ‘Well you have to do it.’ Wives have sort of that role, they tell you everything is going to be okay, and tell you to shut up. Then I thought, God you’re right, it’s not going to come up again.”

He added, “Unless, and this is always something to think about, this could be an annual thing. Could do it again and again.”

McCready responded, “Hey, any time you want to do anything like this, especially the Temple [of the Dog] stuff, which sounded great.”


Mike McCready discussed Chris Cornell standing in for the late, great Layne Staley at the Sonic Evolution Mad Season concert from January at Benaroya Hall in Seattle in a new Pearl Jam Radio special on SiriusXM. You can read a quote transcribed by Alternative Nation below.

“We chose to record three Mad Season songs with the symphony. I wanted it to be a representation of each guy that wrote in the band as much as possible. Selfishly, I wanted to do ‘River of Deceit,’ because I wrote the music for that, but also Layne wrote the lyrics for that, as he did with everything else. ‘Long Gone Day,’ which is basically written by Barrett [Martin], and again Layne and Mark Lanegan wrote the lyrics to that. Then Josh Evans had the idea to do ‘I Don’t Know Anything,’ which was kind of out of left field, and I didn’t know how that was gonna work, but it ended up turning out really cool. That was Layne’s song that he wrote on that record, along with others.

So it was kind of a good representation of the whole record, I think for three songs they became way huger than I ever imagined they could be, in a different way with Chris Cornell singing on top of them. When I heard he wanted to do that, I literally jumped for joy, I couldn’t believe it. He brought his take to it, and did it beautifully, and I think Layne would have been proud.”

Mike McCready Thinks Layne Staley Would Be Proud Of Chris Cornell In Mad Season

Mike McCready discussed Chris Cornell standing in for the late, great Layne Staley at the Sonic Evolution Mad Season concert from January at Benaroya Hall in Seattle in a new Pearl Jam Radio special on SiriusXM. You can read a quote transcribed by Alternative Nation below.

“We chose to record three Mad Season songs with the symphony. I wanted it to be a representation of each guy that wrote in the band as much as possible. Selfishly, I wanted to do ‘River of Deceit,’ because I wrote the music for that, but also Layne wrote the lyrics for that, as he did with everything else. ‘Long Gone Day,’ which is basically written by Barrett [Martin], and again Layne and Mark Lanegan wrote the lyrics to that. Then Josh Evans had the idea to do ‘I Don’t Know Anything,’ which was kind of out of left field, and I didn’t know how that was gonna work, but it ended up turning out really cool. That was Layne’s song that he wrote on that record, along with others.

So it was kind of a good representation of the whole record, I think for three songs they became way huger than I ever imagined they could be, in a different way with Chris Cornell singing on top of them. When I heard he wanted to do that, I literally jumped for joy, I couldn’t believe it. He brought his take to it, and did it beautifully, and I think Layne would have been proud.”


Chris Cornell discussed fronting Mad Season for their January 2015 Sonic Evolution concert in a new interview with Radio 929. Cornell praised the show, but downplayed rumors of a full fledged reunion.

“Well, that’s not something we ever really talked about, but I can say that I really enjoyed being on stage with those guys, and it was kind of a shock to be standing there…I was trying to remember the songs and trying to sing them well and sort of do right by the history of it, and once I was on stage and we were doing it, then it kind of hit me, I’m standing here with these guys, all of which I’ve known for years and years and been friends with but had never been on stage with them like that. It was pretty great. It was pretty moving.”

Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready Releases First Single For New Record Label

Seattle, August 26, 2015: Mike McCready of Pearl Jam has long had a love for vinyl, and for recording and listening to good music. His new Label Hockeytalkter, will release vinyl singles by some of his favorite artists, in small-lot, limited edition, batches. The first single will be available at the new Hockeytalkter website. Additional copies will be also available at Seattle’s Easy Street Records locations.

Mike plans to release a few projects a year, artists that he enjoys and some that he likes to collaborate with.

Hockytalkter’s first release is with Danny Newcomb and the Sugarmakers. Of them, Mike says:

“I started playing music with Danny Newcomb in 1978, when I was 12, in our first band, Warrior, which later became Shadow. Danny was the lead guitar player and I played rhythm and he pushed me to become a better player. Danny is not only one of the best guitarists in the Northwest, but he has also always been an amazing songwriter. His new album (Masterwish) is fantastic and I hope people take the time to listen!”

Danny Newcomb helped found the Rockfords with McCready, as well as Shadow. His last popular project was Goodness, and a rock band from Seattle which he co-founded with singer Carrie Akre, and was on Atlantic records.

The Hockeytalkter single features two songs “One Wish” and “Sundays”. Mike McCready plays the lead on Sundays. Both songs are off Danny Newcomb’s new release, ‘Masterwish’, which is in rotation now on Seattle’s KEXP.

Watch Pearl Jam, Mad Season, GNR & Mudhoney Members’ Stooges Tribute

Mike McCready (Pearl Jam/Mad Season), Barrett Martin (Mad Season/Screaming Trees), Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver), and Mark Arm (Mudhoney) performed songs from the catalog of punk pioneer Iggy Pop and his genre-defining band the Stooges on the Pike Place Market rooftop in Seattle yesterday for the Raw Power: A Tribute To The Stooges concert. Ticket sales benefited the Pike Place Market Foundation’s Pike Up! Capital Campaign. The Raw Power tribute drew a massive crowd, you can watch the epic show and see the setlist below!

Little Doll
T.V. Eye
I Got A Right
I Need Somebody
Down on the Street
Search & Destroy

Last week, KEXP posted articles spotlighting the performers for Raw Power KEXP, Below are excerpts from their short interviews with Mike McCready (Pearl Jam/Mad Season), Mark Arm (Mudhoney), Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees/Mad Season), and Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver).

Mike McCready:

“I first discovered Iggy and the Stooges around 1982 when I was at a party in the U District that members of Shadow, Green River, and Overlord were all at.

I was aware of Iggy because of my love of the New York Dolls and Alice Cooper. That party was the first time I heard the first side of Raw Power. Its angry guitars and awesome vocals immediately caught my attention. The energy was undeniable as was the feeling of freedom in their sound.”

Mark Arm:

“I got into The Stooges shortly after I immersed myself in punk rock. I was trying to figure out where this exciting new music came from and all roads led back to The Stooges.”

Duff McKagan:

“In 1979, Kim Warnick of The Fastbacks turned me onto The Stooges. A few nights later, I had a dream I was Iggy, and I was playing a show in a church basement… rolling around in broken glass and totally immersed in the moment of noise and chaos. I still reference that dream before gigs to this day.

Barrett Martin:

“I discovered the Stooges when I was a kid in the ‘70s because my aunt (the rock & roll aunt everyone should have) was playing me records by The Who, The Rolling Stones, and Elton John, and The Stooges got mixed in there, too. I liked the rawness of The Stooges the best, although no one called it punk rock back then, it was too early for that term.”

Live On All Legs: A Look Back At Pearl Jam’s Greatest Live Performances

Photo credit: Lance Mercer

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say Pearl Jam wanted to make a career spanning live album, and give the fans the option to nominate, vote, and pick all the tracks to go on this one disc, 18 track, live album. This album will be similar to the Pearl Jam live releases “Live On Two Legs” and “Live On Ten Legs” however, it will be a career expansive track list, hence… “Live On All Legs” (so original!)
With the majority of every show in Pearl Jam’s history recorded, either by an audience recording, by the band professionally, or a radio recording (and there is no telling what other treasures lie in Pearl Jam’s infamous “vault”), Pearl Jam is probably one of the only bands that could be able to pull this off. After brainstorming this idea, and after much research and some very difficult decisions, I have narrowed down my 18 favorite live tracks that I would nominate to go on this album, taking into account many different aspects including band performance, crowd enthusiasm, and quality of the recordings.  You can stream most of these tracks, however all tracks are available to download with the links provided.

Live On All Legs Tracklist:

1. “Of The Girl”
Riverport Amphitheater
St. Louis MO
October 11th, 2000

“Of The Girl”, often used as an opener during the 2000 tour is a great way to begin the evening.  This version in particular stands out with some great guitar effects and fantastic transitions.



2. “In My Tree”
Madison Square Garden
New York, NY
July 8th, 2003
This revamped version of this progressive No Code classic is truly a live standout. Switching it up by opening with the main guitar line instead of the rhythmic drumming approach gives “In My Tree” a much different and fresh feel. Adding a keyboard solo by Boom Gasper during the bridge brings out another surprising element.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ2RebziO68&w=420&h=315]


3. “Even Flow”
Madison Square Garden
New York, New York
July 8th, 2003
One thing about the track “Even Flow” is if you go to a Pearl Jam show, this is one of the only songs you will almost be assured to hear. For many of the Pearl Jam fans who have seen multiple shows, this is one many would say they could do without. But there is one aspect of “Even Flow” everyone wants to hear and that of course is the Mike McCready guitar solo, Why? It’s always different, always amazing, and it gives McCready the chance to do what he does best… melt your face. Of all the live performances of “Even Flow,” this one in particular, McCready not only gives you one amazing guitar solo, he gives you two, smoothly changing the solo in equally incredible fashion. He even surprises his fellow band mate Stone Gossard who almost loses his concentration because McCready was in such a zone (as evident on the DVD release Pearl Jam, Live at the Garden).

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXxFIbnwNHg&w=560&h=315]


4. “In Hiding”
Riverport Amphitheatre
St. Louis MO
July 2nd 1998
I don’t know what it is about this particular evening, but three tracks from my list came from this show. I believe it’s one of Pearl Jam’s most underrated shows in their 24 year history. Mike McCready was on fire this evening, providing amazing solos on almost every track he could fit one in and Eddie Vedder’s voice was nothing short of stellar. Their longtime producer, Brenden O’Brein was on hand for this show so it could have given the band a little motivation to show him a good time. The band sounded amazing that night, and this version of “In Hiding” is their best ever, Vedder absolutely nailing the chorus is the highlight of this one.

5. “Nothing As It Seems”
Wembley Arena
London, England
May 30, 2000
This live version of “Nothing As It Seems”, the first single off the album Binaural is again layered with amazing guitar lines and solo’s from guitarist Mike McCready. McCready does something different in the beginning of this track by adding a thick slice of distortion to the intro giving this cut quite a bit more flavor. Some of the video versions of “Nothing as It Seems” are better to watch, but when comparing sound alone, this one is tops.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiKm17F0gqs&w=560&h=315]


6. “W.M.A.”
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
Manchester, Tennessee
June 14, 2008
This is a extremely chilling version of this V.S. classic. Bonnaroo 2008 was one of the bands most superlative festival appearances. Lead guitarist Mike McCready adds on a layer of psychedelic guitar lines to accompany Eddie, Stone, Jeff, and Matt’s flawless performance. The band doesn’t play this one much, but this night it became a Pearl Jam live career highlight.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ttg4-2az80&w=560&h=315]


7. “Improv/Habit”
Riverport Amphitheatre
St. Louis, MO
July 2nd, 1998
You can definitely sense the crowd reaction to the surprise elements of this track. The Improv gives a great feel of anticipation, and when the band kicks into the heavy guitar driven track “Habit” it’s absolutely phenomenal.  This is Pearl Jam at their best.


8. “Garden”
Fox Theater
Atlanta GA,
April 3rd, 1994

A very impressive take on “Garden” from the classic album “Ten”.  The band are in tune with each-other and Eddie’s voice is stellar.  The sound of the Fox Theater is also fantastic.   Guitarist Mike McCready playing a great bluesy solo and guitarist Stone Gossard being a steady rhythmic compliment is really what sets this version apart.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NylOJ3xGo3Y&w=420&h=315]


9. “Betterman/Save it for Later”
Riverport Amphitheatre
St. Louis, MO
July 2nd, 1998
For this version of “Betterman” and the fairly typical tag of “Save it for Later” by English Beat, Vedder and the rest of the band feed off each other perfectly bringing this version to new heights. Vedder’s voice is flawless with the “Save it for Later” tag which is the definite highlight of this Vitalogy classic.


10. “Porch”
Drop in the Park
Warren G. Magnuson Park
Seattle, WA
September 20, 1992
Early live Pearl Jam in all its glory, with this version of “Porch” being one of their most adrenaline fueled ever. The hard hitting drums of former drummer Dave Abbruzzese are a force to be reckoned with and Eddie Vedder singing the lyrics to Rollins Band “Tearing” while the band is raging behind him brings this version to new levels. Full of surprising tempo changes and heavy collaborative jamming, this version of “Porch” shows the world how well each band member can anticipate the other member’s every move. “Porch” is great add to any Pearl Jam setlist, but this one is a definite standout.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTFEjTe4NQo&w=420&h=315]


11. “Mind Your Manners”
FedEx Forum
Memphis, TN
October 14th, 2014
The first heavy hitting single from Pearl Jam’s latest effort Lightning Bolt hits even harder with this live version; Vedder sounds better than ever and the band is completely on point.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kznGJAf3FTs&w=560&h=315]


12. “Black”
GTE Virginia Beach Amphitheater
Virginia Beach, Virginia
September 7, 1998
“Black” is and probably always will be a crowd favorite. Off the Pearl Jam classic album Ten, it’s a track that is played often live and unlike “Even Flow”, it seems to be something everyone is excited to hear. In this version, the band strums through as the track builds into a progressive climax. Again, a highlight is lead guitarist Mike McCready, he is keyed in with the other members of the band and pushes the guitar solo to unfamiliar reaches.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfr_gn917vs&w=560&h=315]


13. “Crazy Mary”
Shoreline Amphitheatre
Mountain View, CA
June 1, 2003
Pearl Jam is known for their amazing performances, but one aspect of the live performance that is sometimes overlooked is their touring B3 organist and session keyboardist, Boom Gasper. Boom’s talent shines through on Pearl Jam’s best take of the Victoria Williams track “Crazy Mary.” The highlight of this version is when McCready and Gasper jump into a guitar/keyboard duel towards the end of the track, making this a must listen.


14. “Daughter / The Wrong Child / Romance”
Phillips Arena
Atlanta, Georgia
August 7th, 2000
This is a pretty typical live cut of Daughter, but Eddie Vedder being Eddie Vedder finds a way to make it more special as the track builds into another stellar tag. At some point, maybe during soundcheck, Eddie discovered that Phillips Arena had a very distinct echo in which he could use to his advantage in the performance. Vedder utilizes his profound voice and the sound features of the arena to make his voice uniquely echo and reverberate throughout the entire arena, and it is also distinctly evident in the recording. You might want to grab a jacket before you listen, because Vedder’s vocal performance may give you chills.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mGetoj0hIs&w=420&h=315]


15. “Red Mosquito”
Austin City Limits Music Festival
Zilker Park
Austin, Texas
October 4th, 2009

When in attendance of a Pearl Jam show you never really know what is going to happen, such as with the Austin City Limits Festival in 2009.  Ben Harper came out as a special guest to play a little slide guitar and along with McCready playing his style of bluesy guitar solo on the other side, this tandem was really a spectacle to behold.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgBqDk2twvU&w=420&h=315]


16. Parting Ways
Riverport Amphitheatre
St. Louis, Missouri
October 11th, 2000
“Parting Ways” is a live rarity and this is their best version.  McCready’s use of guitar effects in this performance is fantastic. “Parting Ways” is a great way to close out a set or an encore, and this particular evening in St. Louis was right on point, with McCready seemingly channeling other worldly elements.


17. “Fuckin’ Up”
Boston, Massachusetts
Orpheum Theater
April 12, 1994

The band ending a set or encore with this classic Neil Young cover is always a treat.  With this one, PJ brings down the house with an incredible jam session closing out an epic night in Boston.  Vedder was in good spirits and motivated the crowd to ‘stand up!’  Again, this is Pearl Jam at their best.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lxUnDfClLw&w=560&h=315]


18. “Yellow Ledbetter/Star Spangled Banner”
United Center
Chicago, Illinois
May 24, 2009

The typical show closer of “Yellow Ledbetter” is always given a boost when the “Star Spangled Banner” is played Hendrix style by axe master Mike McCready.  This night in particular, with the house lights on, it was a perfect cap to a perfect evening in Chi-town.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7X0yyxTxfo&w=560&h=315]


This list is very subjective and ones opinion (how can a persons opinion be wrong!).  There are many other great live recordings of these tracks and other tracks not on this list which you can download any track mentioned here and the majority of others before 2008 at www.gremmie.net for free; everything 2008 to present can be purchased at www.pearljam.com.

What would your Live On All Legs look like?  Feel free to post in the comments below.

Hear all these tracks plus many other great Pearl Jam live cuts at Rock Show Radio’s Alternative Nation Radio.

Watch Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready Perform With Mad Season Bandmate Barrett Martin & Blues Legend CeDell Davis

Mad Season’s surviving members Mike McCready (Pearl Jam) and Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees) performed at the Croc in Seattle over the weekend with 89-year old blues legend CeDell Davis. The pair were also interviewed for a documentary film at the show, according to Barrett Martin’s Facebook page.

According to the event’s description, the show was filmed and recorded for a documentary film about how the music of the Mississippi Delta influenced Seattle rock and roll.


CeDell Davis, Delta Blues Legend
Peter Buck of REM
Mike McCready of Pearl Jam & Mad Season
Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees & Mad Season
Van Conner of Screaming Trees
Scott McCaughey of Minus 5
Evan Flory Barnes of Tuatara
Skerik of Tuatara
Ayron Jones of AJ & The Way
Greg & Zakk Binns
And other special guests

Davis has a distinctive sound that is the result of an unfortunate illness, according to John Bush’s AllMusic biography, “His right hand was crippled by polio at the age of ten, so he switched his guitar to a left-handed bottleneck style, which makes for a unique, atonal sound. He played locally throughout the 1950s and ’60s, with friends such as Robert Nighthawk, Big Joe Williams and Charlie Jordan.”

Watch videos of McCready and Martin performing with Davis below.

AlternativeNation.net Review Of Tuatara’s ‘Underworld’ Featuring Pearl Jam & R.E.M. Members

Seattle instrumental group Tuatara has returned with their new double album Underworld, the group’ first record in six years. The ensemble is led by veteran drummer Barrett Martin, whose resume includes Screaming Trees and Mad Season, and is packed with talent. Joining past Tuatara contributors Justin Harwood, R.E.M guitarist Peter Buck, and saxophonist Skerik are Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready and Gnarls Barkley bassist Cedric LeMoyne.

Underworld is hard to categorize or label. The record is a true fusion, bringing in elements of jazz, rock, lounge, and world music. The band’s new album utilizes the talents of its versatile music veterans to combine innovative jazz sounds and a rumbling rhythm section. Tuatara’s songs are led by the undercurrent of the talented drumming of Martin, who uses several different percussion instruments on the album, and accented by saxophone virtuoso Skerik, who often gives the album a mysterious noir vibe.

The band’s talents are highlighted by songs like “The Skeleton Getdown,” which begins with a great drum intro from Martin. On the fittingly-named “Enchantment,” the vibraphone, guitars and strings draw you in for a seductive, yet slightly melancholic, track. Meanwhile, “Descension” is showcased by a cool, rumbling bass line. Underworld‘s tracks all feature clean, crisp production: the album was mixed by Seattle legend Jack Endino.

Tuatara’s latest output Underworld is a first-hand look at the immense instrumental talents of the experienced Seattle musicians that contributed to its creation. Bringing together outstanding musicians and a variety of influences from around the world, Tuatara has created a unique and meaningful blend of sounds and textures. While the album is a twenty-song double album, it only scratches the surface of the talent, range, and depth it presents.

Purchase Tuatara’s Underworld via iTunes here and stream the album via Los Angeles Times here. Meanwhile, read Alternative Nation contributor Greg Prato’s interview with Tuatara’s Barrett Martin here.

Listen: Tuatara Reveals New Song “Snakecharmer” Featuring Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready

Seattle-based instrumental group Tuatara, led by Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees, Mad Season) with contributions from Peter Buck (R.E.M.) and saxophonist Skerik (Mad Season), is releasing a new double album Underworld on August 5. In preparation for the group’s first album in six years, Martin has revealed a new track featuring guitar contributions from friend and former Mad Season bandmate Mike McCready (Pearl Jam).

Martin revealed the new single via Walking Papers’ Facebook page, stating that the new track “Snakecharmer” features Peter Buck and Mike McCready on guitars, Justin Harwood on bass, and Skerik on saxophone. The veteran drummer also revealed that Walking Papers are currently working on their sophomore album.

Read Barrett Martin’s interview with Alternative Nation contributor Greg Prato here and stream Tuatara’s “Snakecharmer” below:

Mike McCready, Mark Lanegan, Greg Dulli, And More Read Chapters On Upcoming Audiobook

(above) Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli will each read a chapter on the audiobook.

An upcoming audiobook for the novel In Case We Die by Danny Bland will feature the voices of several musicians from the 1990s alternative rock scene. The artists include Mike McCready, Mark Lanegan, Greg Dulli, Mark Arm, and Duff McKagan. A portion of the audiobook proceeds will go to the MusiCares foundation, which provides sobriety resources to musicians.

Other individuals involved include Marc Maron, Damien Echols, and Tom Hansen, author of ‘American Junkie’ and former drug dealer to Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, and Mark Lanegan.  Each person will read at least one chapter of the novel on the audiobook. According to the audiobook’s official site, “every incredible artist, actor, musician, poet and artist who recorded a chapter donated their time and talent.”

The novel, written by former bassist of Seattle’s Cat Butt, Danny Bland, “follows a pair of outsiders who find themselves locked in the palpable, dizzy grunge-rock scene of early-’90s Seattle.” In Case We Die is set for release on September 1, 2013.

In the meantime, you can pre-order and hear previews of the audiobook here.

Barrett Martin Talks Mad Season, New Mark Lanegan Album, And More

Barrett Martin has revealed news in a recent Facebook post regarding new Mad Season, new Mark Lanegan, and more. Martin first revealed that he recently recorded a Jimi Hendrix song with Mike McCready, recorded by Jimi Hendrix/Led Zeppelin producer Eddie Kramer. Secondly, he revealed that he “got to play on the new Mark Lanegan album” but did not specify whether this new album was Mark Lanegan’s upcoming collaboration with Duke Garwood or a rumored new solo album by Lanegan.

Next, Martin mentioned that he is currently working on an instrumental soundscape album with Mike McCready, and that McCready also played on the new Walking Papers album, which was recorded last September.

Lastly, Martin mentioned that he and McCready are preparing the release of the Mad Season box set for April 2nd, 2013. Martin revealed that the first single “Locomotive,” featuring Mark Lanegan, will be released to the radio soon. A link will be posted by Martin when the song goes streaming live.