Grunge icons Pearl Jam seem to be gearing up for a thunderous return, according to guitarist Mike McCready, who teased "a lot heavier than you'd expect" record in a recent interview with Classic Rock.
This seismic shift is largely attributed to their collaboration with young producer Andrew Watt, a sonic alchemist who's breathed new life into acts like Ozzy Osbourne and The Rolling Stones. McCready says Watt pushed the band to rediscover their fire and churn out songs with laser focus.
"It's a lot heavier than you'd expect. There's the melody and energy of the first couple of records. We worked with Andrew Watt, who's a younger pop producer-type guy, but he's really a rock guy at heart – I think we're his favorite band. When we were in the studio with him this past year, he really kicked our asses, got us focused, and playing, song after song. 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.”
"Andrew pushed us to play as hard melodic and thoughtfully as we've done in a long time. I feel like Matt Cameron's drumming has elements of what he did in Soundgarden." McCready added.
And prepare yourselves for a lot of more guitars. McCready promises to unleash his inner shredder, channeling the spirit of his Temple of the Dog days and letting loose with scorching lead lines we haven't heard in years.
"For better or worse, you're gonna hear a lot more lead guitar from me, stuff I haven't done in a long time. 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."
Asked about when to expect the album to arrive, McCready stated: "I'm hoping it's gonna come out next year [the interview took place in 2023]. We have a bunch of songs tracked."