Photo Credit: Vernon Webb

Mike McCready, Pearl Jam guitarist, recently spoke with Guitar World about his intent to present his experiences from the beloved Seattle grunge scene through the creation of a new rock opera, which will honor the memory and legacy of the late Chris Cornell, McCready’s bandmate in the Temple of the Dog supergroup. 

Cornell, the former lead singer of Soundgarden, worked with McCready when they were both playing in the band Temple of the Dog, who were together from 1990 to 1992 and again in 2016, with occasional one-off reunions. The two greatly impacted each other, with McCready crediting him as one of the best musicians he ever worked with.

“I look at him as one of the greatest singers and songwriters of all time, aside from being a friend,” McCready said about Cornell. “I love Chris and I’m working on a little project about the Seattle scene and a musical kind of rock opera thing. It’s just from my experience in the Seattle music scene, and he’s part of it.”

Currently, McCready is leaving his options open as to the full-scale of the project. He has confirmed that the song “Crying Moon” will be on the album, which he played live in tribute to Cornell. McCready has yet to announce when the project will be released, but the recent interview has heated up rumors as to the future intent. 

“I’m working on a script and I’ve got about 18 songs that I’m working on, and I’m singing on it,” the artist continued. “It’s been a long journey.” Along with the production of the rock opera, and not to mention a second signature Stratocaster with Fender, McCready has also been producing a new album with Pearl Jam. The Pearl Jam album, which is being produced by Andrew Watt, has brought a lot of excitement to McCready and the rest of the band.

“It’s just about finished,” McCready said in the aforementioned interview. “I think there’s a few tweaks here and there that have to happen, and we’re probably not going to have anything out this year. But Andrew Watt brought an energy and a youthfulness and a great ear to us that I think we needed.”

Watt, who produced lead singer Eddie Vedder’s 2022 solo album Earthling, has garnered praise from McCready and the rest of the band for his upbeat attitude and seamless transition into their music. “(Watt) kind of kicked us in our asses a little bit. Like, ‘Okay, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go go go!’ He’s the most hyper guy I’ve ever met besides myself,” McCready says of the New York City native. “But he’s a giant fan of our band, and he’s a really smoking guitar player in his own right.”

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