Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready has provided some new details about the band's upcoming album, which is set to be released sometime this year.
"It's a lot heavier than you'd expect," he said during an interview with Classic Rock published on Jan. 4. "There's the melody and energy of the first couple of records."
The band was in the studio with Andrew Watt, who also worked with frontman Eddie Vedder on his 2022 solo album Earthling. He's previously produced for artists including Ozzy Osbourne, Post Malone and Dua Lipa.
"Andrew pushed us to play as hard and melodic and thoughtful as we've done in a long time. I feel like Matt Cameron's drumming has elements of what he did in Soundgarden," McCready said.
He added that his own guitar lines are particularly prominent on the upcoming release.
"For better or worse, you’re gonna hear a lot more lead guitar from me, stuff I haven’t done in a long time," McCready said. "I went crazy, like with Chris Cornell and Temple Of The Dog on Reach Down , all those years ago. I got to do it again. Usually the first or second takes are best. After that I start thinking about it and it doesn’t have the feel. But Andrew caught the lightning in a bottle, as they say."
The guitarist said that once the band got into the studio, Watt whipped them into shape. That made the recording process much quicker than it was for 2020's Gigaton.
"When we were in the studio with him this past year, he really kicked our asses, got us focused and playing, song after song," McCready said. "It took a long time to make Gigaton, but this new one didn't take long. Andrew was, like, 'You guys take forever to make records. Let's do this, right now.'"
Pearl Jam's bassist Jeff Ament spoke about the current stage of the band's career last June during an interview with Kyle Meredith. The group celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2020.
"We've talked a lot about, in the last three or four years, how we've sort of earned the right to do whatever the f**k we want to right now," he said in the video transcribed by Blabbermouth. "So why wouldn't we go all the way with that? Saying, like, 'Everybody, make a list of the 10 things that you wanna do in this band before we're done. Where is the city that you've never played? Or where is the venue you wanna go back to? Or what's the kind of song you wanna write? Or what's the cause you wanna get behind within the context of the band?'"
The bassist added that balancing the different band members' varied priorities isn't always easy.
"That's tough, because there's five of us that are pulling the cart," he said. "Sometimes you end up pulling the cart in opposite directions."
McCready also spoke about his new signature guitar from Fender.
"It’s based on my 1960 Stratocaster," he said. "Y’know, that thing is a workhorse. I really get into it when I’m playing live – and I’m not faking it, I’m feeling it. So I’ll start picking really hard, and that’ll take off the top of the paint. For thirty years I really beat that thing down – but not to the point of breaking it. It’s even got a chip out of the top where I tried to take out a speaker once."