NEW YORK — Alt-rock pioneer Pearl Jam is progressing on its eighth studio album. Guitarist Mike McCready reports the band has “about 20-25” songs in the hopper, comprising “some ballads and some pretty harder stuff, and some Who-ish type-stuff.”
In addition, McCready says Pearl Jam is approaching the project from a new angle. “How we’re recording it is a first,” he said. “We’ve been recording for a while, and then we’ll sit down and listen to the songs and then take a couple of weeks off, come back and re-record them and add stuff. We generally just go in, do some demos and record.”
McCready is hoping the album will be out before year’s end, with a tour to follow. It will be Pearl Jam’s first for J Records/BMG, after the dissolution of its career-long relationship with Epic.
However, Pearl Jam is “not anywhere close to being done. We’re about halfway there. It’s going to be a really awesome record. I’m not just saying that like every band member says it. It’s been really exciting.”
The opportunity to revisit and potentially add to songs has been welcome. “I’ve woken up a few times and had a riff going in my head that I really liked, say, of bassist Jeff Ament’s or something,” he says. “It’s like, OK, cool. That one is sticking in my head. I want to keep doing that. Let’s do that. Whereas before, you’d just do it and it’d be done.”
Last month during a benefit at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre, the band unveiled a fast, punky song co-written by McCready with guitarist Stone Gossard.
“I’m certainly by no means a punk rocker at all,” McCready says with a laugh. “But, the guys in my band are. Jeff and Stone and Ed have that in them, and those guys bring that out of me. We have this joke that my punk is more Dio-like.”