Happy Birthday to Mike McCready of Pearl Jam!
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame guitarist is blowing out 57 candles today. Born in Pensacola, Florida, raised in Seattle, as a child, McCready’s parents listened to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Santana, while his friends listened to bands like KISS and Aerosmith. He bought his first guitar and began taking lessons at the age of eleven. By eighth grade, he formed his first band Shadow. After High School, the band relocated to Los Angles for a couple of years in an attempt to get signed to a record deal. By 1988, Shadow had returned to Seattle and broke-up soon after.
McCready lost interest in playing guitar for a bit, he enrolled in community college, and worked a night job at a video store. He was inspired to pick up his guitar again after seeing Stevie Ray Vaughan in concert at the Gorge in his home state of Washington.
After Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone had passed, Stone Gossard reached out to McCready to jam. After a few months of practicing together, they reached out to former Mother Love Bone bassist Jeff Ament to join them. While attempting to form their own band, they were asked to join Chris Cornell and Temple of the Dog, a musical tribute to the late Andrew Wood. Releasing one album, their self-titled debut ‘Temple of the Dog’ in 1991 via A&M Records.
Originally named Mookie Blaylock, Pearl Jam was formed in 1990 by Ament, Gossard & McCready who then enlisted Eddie Vedder and drummer Dave Krusen to join the group. Their debut album ‘Ten’ was released in August on 1991 and since then has gone on to sell close to 15 million copies in the US and is one of the most important albums and best-selling debut albums ever. McCready and Pearl Jam have released 11 studio albums and have sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time. Mike along with his bandmates in Pearl Jam were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.
Though McCready has been in several other bands, I can not forget to mention the super-supergroup Mad Season. During the production of Pearl Jam’s third LP ‘Vitology’, McCready met bassist John Baker Saunders from The Lamont Cranston Band. The formed a side band, The Gacy Bunch, with Layne Staley of Alice in Chains on vocals and Barrett Martin of the Screaming Trees on drums. After several live shows, they changed their name to Mad Season. They released their only album ‘Above’ via Columbia Records in 1995. If you come across the deluxe edition of the album, there is stellar concert footage on a bonus DVD of Mad Season performing live at the Moore Theatre in Seattle.
I have been fortunate to see Mike McCready live a number of times with Pearl Jam; his guitar solos are blistering. I truly believe McCready is greatly underrated for the amount of talent that dude has as a guitarist! I caught him once with Temple of the Dog in 2016, and then again with his band Tres Mts at the TLA on South Street in 2011. Tres Mts is a band made up of Jeff Ament, Richard Stuverud from the Fastbacks and dUg Pinnick of King’s X, along with McCready. They released their one and only album ‘Three Mountains’ in March of 2011 and played six shows… six, that’s it, and Philly was lucky enough to get one of them!
I’ve included some of the pictures from the Tres Mts. TLA show below.
Happy Birthday Mike McCready!