Mike Wants to Cover Aussie Rock

by Kathy Davis on November 19, 2009

Pearl Jam powerhouse Mike McCready spoke to Sydney, Australia’s The Daily Telegraph about his love of Aussie rock, how the band constructs set lists and more! Here’s a re-post, but you can find the original article here.

Pearl Jam set to impress fans  By Kathy McCabe, Music Editor From: The Daily Telegraph  November 20, 2009 

PEARL Jam fans have never been of the passive variety. They buy into their ethos as much as they do their music and are rewarded with the kind of consideration few bands devote to the very people who support their career.

The most striking evidence of Pearl Jam’s endeavour to make sure the people who bought tickets have as great a time at the gigs as they do is their setlist.

Guitarist Mike McCready says their rehearsals are dedicated to examining every setlist from every gig they have played in a city before assembling the roster of songs for the next show.

The songs from their return-to-form record Backspacer are being rotated through the shows, alongside tracks from their catalogue of eight other studio records plus B sides and covers.

“We have a ridiculous amount of material,” McCready says. “Eddie [Vedder] will look over every single setlist we have ever played in Perth or Sydney and we’ll throw out ideas as to what this particular moment, this show means to us.”

So do the five bandmates have high-distinction diplomas from the Pearl Jam College in terms of knowing their history?

“I think our fans are bigger and better students of Pearl Jam than we are,” he laughs. “But we do have to do some woodshedding, for sure, to remember parts of some songs we may not have played for a while. Me and Stone [Gossard] will generally go backstage to work things out, looking at each other and saying ‘That’s not how it goes’.”

McCready will be voting for an AC/DC or The Angels cover to be played by the band during their Australian tour. When we spoke he had been playing some tunes from both bands on his guitar in his hotel room, getting ready just in case Vedder gives him the nod. It wasn’t to be in Perth, where Throw Your Arms Around Me added the local flavour.

“I would do The Angels myself. Of course I love AC/DC but I grew up on “No Exit” and “Night Attack”  and covering “No Secrets” but I don’t think Eddie knows The Angels,” McCready says. “That is the Australian music that meant so much to me, maybe because me and my friends were the only ones who knew them.

“But I definitely don’t give Angus [Young] enough credit for influencing my playing.” One influence which has always loomed large on Pearl Jam records and is shared by the five members of the band is the ocean.

McCready arrived in Australia two weeks before the tour kicked off in Perth last Saturday and spent his time surfing on the Gold Coast.  He cites “Oceans” as his favourite water-related track from their catalogue and gives a thumbs up to their most recent offering “Amongst The Waves”, which is getting a regular hit-out on the Backspacer tour.

“I was out trying to catch some waves when we got to Perth but it was pretty gnarly,” he says. “Not for the young locals though, they have no fear.”

Pearl Jam, Ben Harper and Relentless7 with Liam Finn perform at Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday

Kathy Davis ( Twitter: @CrookedArm23 )
A Bay-Area based entrepreneur, co-editor Kathy conceives and writes her share of TFT’s articles and sections. She was co-editor/co-founder of one of the first Pearl Jam fanzines "Footsteps" (1992-1997). Kathy’s first Pearl Jam show was at the Bridge School Benefit on November 1, 1992.

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