This news is exciting, and a long time coming. Barrett Martin and Duff McKagan, one of the coolest rhythm sections to exist this side of 1980, has teamed up with Pearl Jam guitar hero Mike McCready to form Levee Walkers. They’ve just released two songs featuring Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke on vocals. You can hear them both now over at leveewalkers.net.
We’ve been anticipating this since hosting Barrett & Duff way back at the seventh Antiquiet Session, with their band Walking Papers, whose album featured Mike. They’re all friends, up there in Seattle, jamming together from time to time… It was just a matter of time before they slapped a name on it and put something out. Indeed, on the band’s Facebook page, the inevitability is reflected upon:
In 2015, when Mike McCready, Duff McKagan, and Barrett Martin officially formed the Levee Walkers, it could [have been] said that the band really formed about 25 years ago. That’s when Pearl Jam guitarist Mike first saw Duff playing bass in Guns N’ Roses, and around the same time, Mike saw Barrett playing drums in the Screaming Trees. Musical ideas began to form with all three men, like shadows that move across the landscape yet cannot be defined. Someday though, the shadows would merge.
One key development that helped shuffle the pieces into place was the Mad Season reunion/tribute show in 2014, where Chris Cornell sang vocals, and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra backed the band. Dare we hope to hear Chris on some Levee Walkers songs? While Jaz Coleman sings on these two debut tracks, the band will be going the guest singer route:
…Jaz is just the first in a handful of select singers who will be putting words and voice to the music of the Levee Walkers. More walkers are coming, as they emerge from the shadows.
For now, the debut single is currently available on 7″ vinyl at leveewalkers.net, with a super limited edition clear version not quite yet sold out. More to come beyond a few songs here and there, surely; the band promises to “appear, disappear, and reappear again, as the musical inspiration suits us.”
Thanks to “1985” on Twitter for the tip!