Pearl Jam Guitarist 'Stoked' For New Album

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready, Jeff Ament and Eddie Vedder at the PJ20 Festival, Sept. 3-4, 2011 in East Troy, WI.

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says the band has seven songs and has new album sessions planned.

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready tells Billboard he's "stoked" the band is heading back into the studio soon "to finish off this record that we've been working on for about two years." After hitting pause on recording after sessions in early 2012, the guitarist says that while it's not 100% sure, "I think we'll finish this year."

"We have seven songs that are already done, I think. We have to sit down and analyze them and think about them again," McCready says of music that's already been recorded for Pearl Jam's next album. He adds that not only is unfinished music from 2012 sessions in play, but that frontman Eddie Vedder has written fresh Pearl Jam material. "We're going to go in and revisit some demos we did about a year ago and also some new stuff that Ed's been working on," he says. "That's coming up pretty soon. I'm stoked. I'm ready to get back in with those guys again."

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The Pearl Jam record in the works will be the group's follow-up to "Backspacer," which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 2009 -- the band has toured regularly since then. "If we could finish [the new album] this year it would be fantastic," McCready says. "We get together and we have a meeting about it and if it feels right, we do it… We do it when we want to do it. Luckily people still support that and we're grateful for that. So right now we're all feeling like we want to do it."

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Fans will be able to catch Pearl Jam both in concert and on the airwaves this year. The busy McCready, who will also see the expanded edition of "Above" by Mad Season, his '90s side project with members of Alice in Chains and Screaming Trees released on April 2, says in March he plans to do some shows for Pearl Jam's Sirius radio station showcasing "some of my influences over the years. And I think Ed [Vedder] is doing a couple of things."

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On the live front, the Seattle band follows three South American dates this spring with a July 19 show at the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field -- which recently became the fastest concert sell-out in the ballpark's history. PJ is also playing in London, Ontario on July 16 and PearlJam.com last month posted that "fall tour dates in the U.S. will be announced in the coming months."

Return to Billboard.com next week for a lot more from Mike McCready on the Mad Season expanded reissue.