Despite having seen (and loved) the documentary PJ20, I still can’t believe that Pearl Jam’s Ten is over twenty-years old. When CDs still came in long boxes, I’d save the long box and put them up on my wall. I still remember the deep magenta of the cover of Ten up on my wall (probably in between Nevermind and Blood Sugar Sex Magik), the five guys in the band on the cover high-fiving one another in rock solidarity. If CDs had grooves, I’d have worn mine out. Ten was a life-changer for me and honestly it re-ignited my guitar playing after a couple years of laziness. I sat for hours with my Japanese Squier Strat trying (and sometimes even succeeding!) to pick out parts and learn the album start to finish. Trying to cop McCready’s solo in “Alive” was a tall order, but I tried:
Twenty some odd years later, Pearl Jam is still making music and at the top of their game. It was just announced that PJ’s new album Lightning Bolt comes out in October—so we thought we’d do some digging and try to see what guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready were up to in the last few years, gearwise, as we look ahead to another round of PJ-world-domination. Both Gossard and McCready are known to change up their gear on a regular basis, so this is by no means a currently-accurate account, nor is it comprehensive—it never could be. The great thing about players like this is that you can never fully know exactly what they’re up to—keeps things exciting for the rest of us, right?! Let’s dig in.