(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Mike McCready birthday time is here, grunge heads. We’ll start with Pearl Jam, then delve into the axe man’s side projects.


Mike McCready has the distinction of having a dubious birthday: April 5. Of course, he was born in 1966 and had no idea that his day of birth would become a cursed date for two of his Seattle contemporaries.


April 5, 1994. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana commits suicide alone in his Seattle home. His body is discovered by an electrician three days later. An entire generation of music fans, including 17-year-old me, mourns.


April 5, 2002. Layne Staley of Alice In Chains dies of a drug overdose alone in his home. His body isn’t discovered until April 19, when his mother and local police perform a wellness check. That’s 8 years to the day after Kurt.

Mike McCready birthday: April 5, 1966. The Pearl Jam man performs at the 2008 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.

(Photo by Rob Loud/Getty Images)


Mike McCready Birthday 6-Pack: Pearl Jam Ace, Side Band Bomb

“It’s not my intention to make this piece all about Kurt and Layne” the writer says out loud. As he’s halfway through the piece. Mike McCready deserves better! Still, the context is important. Three contemporaries bound by one fateful calendar date.


McCready’s story isn’t one of tragedy. On the contrary, it’s to be celebrated. He’s carved out a space not only as one of the great guitarists of the grunge movement, but of all time. He brought blues to alternative rock.


He’s responsible for countless memorable Pearl Jam riffs and blistering solos. And his work outside of his main band has made for some memorable music and moments as well. Truth be told, it was tough to narrow this list down.


So let’s crack open a Mike McCready birthday 6-pack and celebrate. Because even though April 5 is a dark day in rock history, McCready is a bright ray of sunlight shining through. Even if, over the years, he’s made some questionable facial hair choices.

  • Pearl Jam "Even Flow"

    It’s not the album version. It’s the video version. That’s not to say Mike doesn’t rip on the album version. But seeing this for the first time on MTV back in the day? The man came off as a guitar god.

  • Temple Of The Dog "Hunger Strike"

    Yes, Chris Cornell wrote the song and the lyrics. But McCready’s guitar work helped bring this one to life. Mike wasn’t a central player in the Temple Of The Dog project, but he was an integral player.

  • Pearl Jam "Immortality"

    Mike McCready’s solos are otherworldly. And his riffs high-energy riffs could melt steel beams. But the man can also mess around with an arpeggio and create something slower and darker that’s just as memorable.

  • Mad Season "Long Gone Day"

    It takes a special kind of talent, as the lead guitarist, to step aside and let the rest of the band shine. Of course, that’s easy to do when you’re surrounded by otherworldly talent in your side project. Mike does it so well, though.

  • Pearl Jam "Comatose"

    I love when Mike gets all punk rock. There are plenty of punk moments throughout the Pearl Jam catalog. This has always been one of my favorites.

  • Ozzy Osbourne "Immortal"

    You know you’re a Serious Guitar Man when Ozzy taps you for a solo album. Mike crushes on this one. No surprise.

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