In a new interview with Kyle Meredith of "The Weekly Feed", PEARL JAM guitarist Mike McCready sheds more light on the deluxe edition release of "Above", the first and only album to be completed by Seattle-based rock supergroup MAD SEASON, which featured McCready alongside vocalist Layne Staley (ALICE IN CHAINS), drummer/percussionist Barrett Martin (SCREAMING TREES) and bassist John Baker Saunders (THE WALKABOUTS, LAMONT CRANSTON BAND). New and previously unreleased songs feature Mark Lanegan (SCREAMING TREES), who sang backups on "Above". McCready also reveals that more leftover tracks from that era may see new life in a group he's recently put together with Duff McKagan (LOADED, ex-GUNS N' ROSES), Barret Martin, and Jaz Coleman (KILLING JOKE). Check out the chat using the SoundCloud player below.
Legacy Recordings — the catalogue division of Sony Music Entertainment — will release a newly expanded deluxe edition of "Above" in April.
The deluxe edition of MAD SEASON's "Above" is a three-disc set comprised of two CDs and one DVD. It includes the original studio album and a host of extras such as previously unreleased tracks from the band's unfinished second album with new lyrics and vocals by Mark Lanegan (SCREAMING TREES), full audio plus the first official DVD release of MAD SEASON's last show ever performed — "Live At The Moore", an unreleased full concert video of the band's New Year's Eve performance from now-defunct Seattle club RKCNDY, a full-color collector's booklet and more.
The deluxe edition, and a separate digital configuration, will be available April 2. In addition, there will be a 12-inch 2LP expanded edition vinyl available on Record Store Day, April 20. Content featured in the "Above" deluxe edition will be available through iTunes with audio mastered for iTunes and a separate standalone longplay video.
MAD SEASON "Above" deluxe edition
CD1 – "Above"
01. Wake Up
02. X-Ray Mind
03. River of Deceit
04. I'm Above
05. Artificial Red
06. Lifeless Dead
07. I Don't Know Anything
08. Long Gone Day
09. November Hotel
10. All Alone
01. Interlude (previously unreleased)
02. Locomotive (lyrics/vocals by Mark Lanegan)
03. Black Book Of Fear (lyrics/vocals by Mark Lanegan)
04. Slip Away (lyrics/vocals by Mark Lanegan)
05. I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier (remix)
CD2 - Live At The Moore
Previously unreleased full audio set of "Live At The Moore" performance from Seattle, Washington, April 29, 1995. Includes "Wake Up", "Artificial Red", "I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier", "I'm Above" (featuring Mark Lanegan).
DVD - Live At The Moore + Bonus Footage
Full video set of the "Live At The Moore" performance from Seattle, Washington performance, April 29, 1995. Remixed and remastered for 5.1 sound, and newly edited by director Duncan Sharp. Plus, more bonus footage, including a full concert of the band's performance from New Year's Eve 1995 at RKCNDY in Seattle, and both performances from the Seattle-based Self-Pollution Radio specials, one newly edited.
The song "Locomotive", which was intended to be on MAD SEASON's second album, can be streamed at RollingStone.com.
"'Locomotive' is a song that best represents the direction MAD SEASON was going for our second, unfinished album," Martin tells Rolling Stone. "Mark Lanegan's lyrics and powerful voice captures that time perfectly."
"He did an amazing job singing over this track from the elusive second MAD SEASON record that was to be called 'Disinformation'" McCready adds. "'Locomotive' hits you like one!"
In 1994, four Seattle-based musicians decided to embark on a side-project that took them into new and different musical territory. Formed by Mike McCready, Layne Staley, Barrett Martin, and bluesman John Baker Saunders, the group went on to form MAD SEASON, which made one seminal album in the history of Seattle rock. That album, "Above", was released in 1995 and immediately struck a resonate chord with the public that sent the album into gold status within a few weeks. It is the only complete album of Layne Staley's introspective and mystical lyrics, which were highlighted by additional vocals from SCREAMING TREES vocalist Mark Lanegan and Seattle-based saxophonist/percussionist Skerik.
MAD SEASON was essentially Seattle's version of an extremely heavy blues band, anchored by the deep swinging rhythm section of Barrett's drums and Baker's bass lines, with Layne's haunting melodies and Mike's stadium-size guitar riffs soaring over the top. This unusual chemistry made the band absolutely unique in an era of post-grunge. In the almost 20 years since the original release of "Above", new generations of music listeners have discovered the dark and lasting beauty of MAD SEASON.
In 1996, work began on a second MAD SEASON album with Mike, Barrett and Baker writing and recording the basic tracks for 15 new songs. Unfortunately, because of declining health, Layne wasn't able to make any of the recording sessions and the album was shelved. Fate subsequently took each musician in a different direction: Mike back to PEARL JAM and Barrett back to SCREAMING TREES. Tragically, both Baker (1999) and Layne (2002) passed away.
In 2012, the two remaining band members, Mike and Barrett, along with "Above"'s original producer Brett Eliason, convened in Seattle to sift through the original magnetic tapes from that second album's sessions to revisit the unfinished songs. They called on Mark Lanegan to pen lyrics and sing on three of the best of those songs, including one co-written by Peter Buck of REM, which will be featured on the forthcoming reissue honoring the legacy of Layne and Baker.