Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready is writing a rock opera about Chris Cornell

The project will focus on the Seattle grunge scene of the '90s

Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready has revealed that he is writing a rock opera about Chris Cornell and the Seattle grunge scene.

Pearl Jam and Cornell’s band Soundgarden emerged from the Pacific Northwest city around the same time, and became lynchpins of the scene along with Nirvana.

In a new interview with Guitar World, McCready revealed that he is working on a project with which to remember the scene and the late Cornell.


“I look at him as one of the greatest singers and songwriters of all time, aside from being a friend,” McCready said of 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.”

He added that he currently sees the project as incorporating “a record and maybe some sort of stage/play thing,” adding: “I’m working on a script and I’ve got about 18 songs that I’m working on, and I’m singing on it. It’s been a long journey.”

Chris Cornell, 2017. Credit: Randall Slavin.

McCready also gave an update on progress on the new Pearl Jam album, and lauded its producer Andrew Watt.

“It’s just about finished,” he said of the follow-up to 2020’s ‘Gigaton’. “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.”


He added that Watt brought “an energy and a youthfulness and a great ear to us that I think we needed”.

“[Watt] got us into a room and just pushed us as hard as we could be pushed. 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.”

Guitarist Stone Gossard confirmed in an interview last March that work had begun on the new album and said the band were going to try and finish the record “pretty soon”. Earlier this year however, bassist Jeff Ament said the album “doesn’t feel like a record yet”.

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