Pearl Jam's Mike McCready on the Genius of Soundgarden's 'Superunknown' (Exclusive)

On the album's 20th anniversary, the Pearl Jam guitarist breaks down what makes this record so enduring

With Soundgarden's mighty "Superunknown" celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Pearl Jam's Mike McCready offers his thoughts on what makes the classic album a game-changer.

"When this record came out, I was completely blown away by it," McCready says. "I felt, 'Wow, we really have to raise the bar,' because this record was so good it was hard to believe."

The Pearl Jam guitarist explains what sets "Superunknown" apart from other rock albums at the time. "Soundgarden are kind of the masters of writing songs that aren't pop clichés. Their [songs have] very hard, strange timings but Chris Cornell makes the vocals memorable over the top of that. That, in itself, is an art.

"I think this is my favorite Soundgarden record," McCready says. "We were in a healthy competition back then.… We were all friends, but 'Superunknown' made me think, 'Okay, this is what can be done.'"

Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails embark on a co-headlining tour this Saturday. Check out the full dates below.


7/19 Las Vegas, NV @ Planet Hollywood


7/21 Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre


7/22 Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre


7/24 Tinley Park, IL @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre


7/26 Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre


7/27 Toronto, ON @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre


7/29 Mansfield, MA @ XFINITY Center (Boston)


7/30 Camden, NJ @ Susquehanna Bank Center (Philadelphia)


8/1 Wantagh, NY @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre
 (New York)

8/2 Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center


8/4 Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live (DC)


8/5 Virginia Beach, VA @ Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach


8/7 Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion


8/8 Atlanta, GA @ Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood


8/10 West Palm Beach, FL @ Cruzan Amphitheatre


8/11 Tampa, FL @ MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre


8/14 Austin, TX @ Austin360 Amphitheater


8/16 Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion


8/17 Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion


8/19 Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheater


8/21 Chula Vista, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheatre


8/22 Irvine, CA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater


8/24 Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre


8/25 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl


8/27 Wheatland, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheatre


8/29 Ridgefield, WA @ Sleep Country Amphitheater


8/30 Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheatre