Pearl Jam Guitarist Explains Brilliance Of Jimi Hendrix

Speaking to Guitar World, Mike McCready, the guitarist for Pearl Jam, credits Stevie Ray Vaughan as a major influence on his musical career, particularly in understanding the playing style of his first guitar hero, Jimi Hendrix. McCready mentions that despite watching videos of Hendrix, it wasn’t until he saw Stevie Ray Vaughan perform live that he truly grasped Hendrix’s trademark thumb technique. Hendrix’s unique grip on the neck, fretting the root notes of chords with his thumb, was elusive to McCready until he saw Vaughan play.

McCready emphasizes the impact of seeing Stevie Ray Vaughan live, stating,

I know exactly why,” McCready tells Guitarist, when asked why he fell for the Strat in the first place.

“I was lucky enough to see Stevie Ray Vaughan play four times before he died. I loved Hendrix: he was my first guitar hero, growing up in Seattle. But seeing Stevie was transcendent. He made me understand Hendrix better.”

Interestingly, McCready’s connection with Stone Gossard, another member of Pearl Jam, is rooted in a house party where McCready was playing along to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Couldn’t Stand The Weather.” Gossard, who already had Mother Love Bone at the time, later contacted McCready, leading to his involvement with Pearl Jam. McCready’s experience with Stevie Ray Vaughan not only enriched his understanding of Jimi Hendrix but also played a pivotal role in his musical journey.

“I could watch Hendrix play Monterey, but I still didn’t really know what he was doing,” notes McCready.

“I saw he had his thumb over the fretboard, but it still didn’t make any sense to me. But when I saw Stevie live, it was like, ‘Oh! That’s what he’s doing.’ Stevie somehow taught me through osmosis. He was so bluesy and so real, and he’d sit on the side of the stage at the end of the show and do Lenny, y’know, that little mellow piece.

“When he did Voodoo Child, it was so bad-ass. He changed how I wanted to play, and if you listen to Even Flow, you can hear me trying to emulate his stuff.”

“I was at a party at my friend’s house,” says McCready. “I was in his bedroom and I put on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Couldn’t Stand The Weather and was playing along to it. I remember Stone Gossard walked in. I had known Stone since sixth grade, but he had Mother Love Bone happening already.

“Cut to about a year later when Andy [Wood] passed, I got a call out of the blue from Stone and I think it was because he saw me playing Couldn’t Stand The Weather to the record… he said he couldn’t do that stuff – and I could kind of do it.”

About Subhojeet Mukherjee

Subhojeet has been a huge pro wrestling fan since 2002, and it's been his first love ever since then. He has years of writing experience for all things pro wrestling. His interests outside of wrestling include films, books and soccer. Subhojeet has reported for Alternative Nation, Ringside News, and Britpopnews.

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