A high-profile rock icon and guitarist for one of the most enduring rock bands of its generation is becoming increasingly vocal about his own personal struggles with Crohn’s disease, and advocating on behalf of the Crohn’s and Colitis patient population for more awareness, funding, and research.
Mike McCready, a founding member of Pearl Jam and part of the signature guitar-driven sound that launched the band into stardom in the mid 90s following the Seattle Grunge movement in popular music, recently made headlines by performing the national anthem at a baseball game in Seattle on August 8th, when the Mariners took on the Chicago White Sox at Safeco Field. The occasion for his performance was that it was “Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Night” at Safeco Field that evening, which was held to raise money for support of the Northwest Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. The performance, reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix’s famed “Star Spangled Banner” solo guitar performance at Woodstock in 1968, was filmed by a fan in the stands and recently posted it on YouTube:
The Pear Jam guitarist’s passionate interest in advocating for the disease comes as a result of his near-lifelong battle with Crohn’s disease, which began when he was 21 years old — years before Pearl Jam became a household name. Prior to relocating to Seattle to join the band, McCready had been playing with a lesser-known band in Los Angeles. The notoriously late-night lifestyles that struggling musicians lead helped to exacerbate the onset of Crohn’s for McCready, who in spite of the disease managed to help catapult Pearl Jam into one of the most successful bands of an era, selling over 60 million records throughout their career and maintaining a grueling touring schedule.
Now 48 years old, Mike McCready hopes to leverage his stardom to educate the public on the seriousness of IDB — and to show others that even with the disease, they can still lead active, fulfilling lifestyles.