Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready has revealed he is drawing on his experiences in the Seattle grunge scene for a new rock opera. In an interview with Guitar World, the musician said the project is inspired by and honors the late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, who was also McCready’s bandmate in the supergroup Temple of the Dog.
“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.”
Last month, McCready shared the first preview of the rock opera when he posted a live performance of a Cornell tribute called “Crying Moon” on Instagram. He told Guitar World that he is currently envisioning it as “a record and maybe some sort of stage/play thing.”
“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.”
Elsewhere in the interview, McCready joined the ranks of Pearl Jam members who have said the band’s follow-up to 2020’s Gigaton is close to completion. “It’s just about finished,” he said. “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.”
McCready also praised producer Andrew Watt for bringing “an energy and a youthfulness and a great ear to us that I think we needed” to the sessions. “[Watt] got us into a room and just pushed us as hard as we could be pushed,” he added. “You know, it’s hard for a quote-unquote outsider to come into our world because we’ve done things a certain way. We’re open to new things, but we are also in our own world. We’ve done things for 30 years. So we know the dynamics of our band very well. But sometimes we need to get pushed and questioned, and Andrew did a great job of that.”
In June, fellow Pearl Jam member Stone Gossard said their upcoming album is “getting close to the finish line” during an appearance on Kyle Meredith With… During bassist Jeff Ament’s interview with Meredith just a few weeks later, he pushed back gently and said their next effort “doesn’t feel like a record yet.” Ament added that the band hopes to have the album out “next year.”