Pearl Jam Member Reveals How He Tried To Save Layne Staley

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Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready discussed Mad Season’s 2015 Sonic Evolution interview on Art Zone with Nancy Guppy. Alternative Nation transcribed his comments.

“That was a huge first for me. I got to know Ludovic [Morlot], about 4 years ago, and about 2 years into our relationship I said, ‘Hey, I did this record a long time ago called Mad Season, and Barrett [Martin played viola on it, and I always thought that these would be kind of cool with some kind of symphonic representation.’

He thought about it for about a year on and a half, and then he said, ‘Yeah, let’s do that.’ I’m like, ‘Right on. Okay, how are we going to do this? How am I going to find a singer?’ That was a whole other thing. He also said at that time, ‘Do you want to write a piece for the symphony?’ I’m like, ‘What!? Okay!?’ I had to say yes, but I didn’t know what I was saying yes to. But anyway, it was such an honor to do that, and I would love to do that again.”

“The name of Mad Season originated, and I won’t go too deep into it, but when we were mixing the first record, the first Pearl Jam record in Surrey, England. The people that worked at that studio said, ‘Oh, it must be the mad season.’ That’s the season when all of the hallucinogenic mushrooms come out in Surrey, England. I thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to keep that title for something someday.’

Jump to the future, and me getting sober in the early 90’s, or at least trying the first time. I came back and was like, ‘Oh, everything is new!’ All this stuff. ‘I’m going to help everybody out!’ You know, super naive, but the intent behind it was that. I was like, hey, I’m going to help Layne [Staley] out, or I want to help my friend Baker who I just met. I always wanted to play with Barrett, not that he was part of that, but he played with the Trees and he was an amazing drummer. So that’s how that all came together.

I was like, ‘Layne, do you want to do some songs together?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, I do.’ It just happened very quickly, and organically, and we did 5 songs, and a video, and it all felt apart, and unfortunately those guys died. But I’m very proud of that, again that record is very big to me in terms of learning how to write songs, and loving and missing those guys too.”