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Mike McCready

Known for his Stevie Ray Vaughan/Jimi Hendrix-esque guitar leads, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready helped shift the majority of rock fans' attention away from technically demanding shredders to more feel-oriented and rootsy players. Born on April 5, 1966, in Pensacola, FL, McCready and his family relocated to Seattle, WA, shortly after his birth. Intrigued by Kiss' Ace Frehley and Aerosmith's Joe Perry at an early age, McCready received his first guitar at the age of 11, and was in his first band by the time he reached the eighth grade -- Shadow. The group's sound reflected the burgeoning pop-metal of the day (Van Halen, Def Leppard), and after an attempt to land a record deal in Los Angeles didn't pan out, Shadow returned to Seattle with their tails between their legs, and promptly called it a day. The experience had soured McCready's passion for music, as he all but gave up on guitar. He cut his hair, attended college, and didn't touch his instrument for months. He eventually did get back into guitar, immersing himself in the blues-based sounds of Vaughan and joining a similarly styled local outfit, Love Chile. But the group proved to be short-lived -- only playing a handful of live shows.