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Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready Honors 70’s Group UFO (Interview with Callahan)

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Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready and his side-project band, Flight To Mars, are getting ready for their 11th annual UFO tribute show in Seattle.

Listen to the full candid interview with Mike McCready here:

See the great gallery of  photos of the Flight To Mars show at Showbox here

At the start of our chat, I immediately confessed I’d not heard of UFO until I started prepping for our interview. He assured me that I wasn’t such a dork after all.

“The thing about UFO, they never reached the heights they should have, they should have been a huge band in the 70’s- they were almost there, and they kind of imploded, or whatever happened, kind of like Thin Lizzy…”

Mike McCready, right, with Chris Cornell at 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions. Photo by Kevin Winter- Getty Images

Mike McCready, right, with Chris Cornell at 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions. Photo by Kevin Winter- Getty Images

McCready laughed when I asked if anyone in his band was going to don tight white satin pants like the lead singer of UFO, but he did say he played the same kind of guitar Michael Schenker did- the ‘Flying V’. Very Cool.

On May 10th, at the Showbox Market, the Flight to Mars show is also a benefit  for CCFA Camp Oasis – where kids who suffer from Crohn’s and/or Colitis can attend for a week and get much needed support.  Money from the night also goes to Advocacy for Patients – to help people with chronic diseases who have no insurance.

McCready is very out about having Crohn’s.

“It was painful and embarrassing over the years to have accidents on stage, and walking around Europe in a square, and all of a sudden you can’t find a bathroom, or in Seattle, and that’s been the hard, dark part of it.”

“I try to take that pain, and do something artistic with it… that happened without me thinking about it, I just did it.” He said it’s more cognitive now, channeling that pain or a kid’s pain of having Crohn’s, into making music.

We then took a few Facebook questions from fans, starting with a statement from Andrew D. who wanted Mike to know that he was always the cool Beatle.

“Wow,’ said McCready, clapping his hands, ‘Tell him thank you.’

Ben R said,’ I’m impressed by how down to earth all those guys insist on being. I’m curious to know how they manage to stay that way, remember where they came from, and not become out of control rock stars, bleeding through cash and such.’

Mike answered this with, “We (Pearl Jam) have a pretty good sense of humor about it, and we all call each other on stuff, and look on the excesses and cliches of rock stardom as kind of ridiculous – I lived that for many years, and phew! I’m glad I got through that. We’re all proud to be from here, Seattle, we don’t feel better than or less than anyone, we just do what we do. We feel like a great band, we feel very grateful. We lost some people, and I miss them a lot.”

Did the band always have Mike’s back during his hard-partying years and not threaten to kick him out of Pearl Jam? He said he may have been a little delusional on that count, ‘They may have wanted me out, but we”re all brothers, we fight, we scrap, we play sports together… we all love each other.’

Radio favorite Mike West asked him on Facebook about meeting the cast of A Mighty Wind. (Smitten and loved their version of the Stones’ Start Me Up.) Matt D asked about working local favorite Brandi Carlile (He loves the harmonies – would work with her anytime.)

McCready’s worked with so many artists on their albums – could he pick a favorite?

“Early on, Temple of The Dog. Means a lot to me because I was kind of invited into that world of Cornell and Mother Love Bone and Soundgarden, and those guys were the big dogs around town.”

Pearl Jam is in the middle of making their latest album. No firm release date. They’ve been working on it for the past 2 years, and to FB fan Steve R., “If he likes us, he’s gonna really like this album.”

Mike on choosing music professionally over continuing school:
“Luckily I saw Stevie Ray Vaughn and that’s what got me back in to playing music. ‘Cause I was going back to college and I had quit because I’d been down in Los Angeles trying to make it with my band Shadow. I’d gotten sick with Crohn’s [Disease] and so I moved back [to Seattle] and became depressed. I just said, “I gotta quit playing music. I’ve been doing this since I was eleven and it’s not working out.” I just needed to find something new. Luckily I saw Stevie Ray Vaughn at the Gorge [Amphitheater] before he passed…and that changed my life once again.”

Listen to the full candid interview with Mike McCready here:


Details on Flight To Mars at The Showbox Market on May 10th here.

-Lee Callahan, Jack FM

Rob Loud Getty Images

Rob Loud Getty Images

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