Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready is Writing a “Grunge Opera”

In the annals of rock music history, the Seattle music scene of the 1990s stands as a seminal chapter. It was a time when the grunge movement emerged, reshaping the musical landscape and producing legendary artists. Among those luminaries, Chris Cornell, the iconic frontman of Soundgarden, left an indelible mark with his powerful vocals and poignant songwriting.

Now, one of his contemporaries and bandmates, Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, is embarking on a creative journey to honor not only Chris Cornell but the entire grunge era. McCready is crafting what can only be described as a “grunge opera,” a theatrical homage to the music and culture that defined a generation.

The heart of McCready’s ambitious project lies in its dedication to the memory of Chris Cornell, a dear friend, and an artistic genius. Chris Cornell’s untimely demise in 2017 sent shockwaves through the music world, leaving a void that could never truly be filled. In his own words, McCready expresses profound admiration for Cornell: “I look at him as one of the greatest singers and songwriters of all time, aside from being a friend.” This sentiment encapsulates the deep respect and camaraderie that defined the Seattle music scene during its heyday.

McCready’s grunge opera is not limited to eulogizing Chris Cornell alone. It serves as a tribute to the entire tapestry of talent that graced the Seattle scene. Bands like Mudhoney, Nirvana, and Screaming Trees are all part of the narrative that McCready seeks to weave into this musical masterpiece. It’s a journey back in time to an era that birthed some of the most iconic music in rock history.

Delving into the creative process behind this endeavor, McCready offers a glimpse into the sheer magnitude of his undertaking. He’s currently in the midst of writing a script that will form the backbone of the grunge opera. This script serves as the vessel for the rich narratives of the Seattle music scene, intertwining the lives and music of its key figures.

Notably, McCready has penned approximately 18 songs for this production, and he’s even taken on the role of a vocalist, lending his own voice to the story he is narrating. This is a deeply personal and passionate project for him, as reflected in his dedication to every facet of its creation.

The grunge opera promises to be more than just a tribute; it is a chance for audiences to embark on a musical journey through the soul of Seattle. It encapsulates the raw energy, rebellious spirit, and emotional depth that defined the grunge movement. Every note, every lyric, and every scene will transport the audience back to the gritty clubs and iconic venues where this music was born.

To give you a taste of the emotional resonance of this project, McCready recently shared a poignant tribute song titled “Crying Moon” dedicated to his late friend, Chris Cornell. In his own words, he explains the significance of this song: “This is a song I wrote as a goodbye to my friend Chris Cornell. Crying Moon is part of my process in dealing with his death.” The song encapsulates the sense of loss and longing felt by those who admired and loved Chris Cornell’s music. It’s a heartfelt farewell from one musician to another, a musical eulogy.

In addition to his work on the grunge opera, McCready also provided an update on Pearl Jam’s musical endeavors. Fans of the band can rejoice, as the follow-up to their 2020 album, “Gigaton,” is nearing completion. While McCready hinted that there might be a few tweaks remaining, he clarified that the release won’t be happening in the current year.

What’s intriguing about this update is McCready’s praise for producer Andrew Watt. He acknowledged that it can be challenging for an outsider to enter the well-established world of Pearl Jam, a band with a three-decade history. However, Watt’s ability to push the band outside their comfort zone has been transformative. As McCready put it, “Watt got us into a room and just pushed us as hard as we could be pushed.” This willingness to explore new musical avenues and push boundaries exemplifies the enduring spirit of Pearl Jam.

In conclusion, Mike McCready’s grunge opera is a testament to the enduring legacy of the Seattle music scene and the profound impact of Chris Cornell’s artistry. This project promises to be a musical journey that transcends time, taking audiences back to the heart of grunge. It’s a fitting tribute to an era that shaped the world of rock music and a heartfelt farewell to a friend and musical legend.


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