Chris Cornell: Guns N' Roses Tour Was Ruined By 'The Wizard Of Oz Behind The Curtain'

Soundgarden frontman recalls obstacles on Guns N' Roses tour.

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Back in 1991, grunge stalwarts Soundgarden were out on the road with rock's biggest band, Guns N' Roses. Recently, Chris Cornell was asked to recount his memories of that tour, describing how backstage wrangling scuppered performances:

"Without saying anything negative about Axl [Rose], what I remember the most was Duff [McKagan] and Slash and everyone else being regular, sweet, warm guys in a rock band that just wanted to play rock music. And then, like, there was this Wizard of Oz character behind the curtain that seemed to complicate what was the most ideal situation they could ever have been in: They were the most successful and famous rock band on the planet. Every single show, hundreds of thousands of fans just wanted to hear songs. For some reason there seemed to be this obstacle in just going out and participating in that. That is what I remember the most. It's sad."

Cornell also had some poignant things to say about addiction related deaths that blighted the 1990s Seattle scene:

"There's something about losing friends, particularly young people, where it's not something that you get over. I don't believe there's a healing process. How do you, really? In what way can you stop and say, 'Well, it's god's will.' I always thought that line I've heard a million times - twice as bright but half as long - is bullshit. It's tragedy. I just carry all of that with me all the time. All I can do, if anything, out of respect for my friends that are no longer here, is to do my best to lead a good life and and take advantage of the fact that I'm still around, take the opportunities I have that they should've had"

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Chris always comes across as a thoughtful, classy guy.
    Basically, it's exactly like the actual Wizard of Oz: we pulled back the curtain on what seemed to be a really cool musical machine and found a fat, ugly dude trying but failing to work the controls.
    Lots of Soundgarden news lately :O But Chris Cornell is an amazing person and musician
    God im tired of people saying, but not directly saying, axl rose is a douche, we know!!!! This is a classy guy but damn, axl needs to die. could have been great but thats what being a dildo does to you, it ruins a great band.
    blah blah 'bash axl 22 years later' blah blah 'new album coming out' blah blah blah 'easy target'
    To PGilbert, I would imagine that he was probably asked this question in an interview somewhere and I think that he handled the question very well, he never said anything overtly negative and just expressed his opinion. Every word he said was true. I think that he proved himself to be a pretty classy guy in this story. There was no mention of "new album" in there. I'm no fanboy or anything, just a dude who appreciates when someone takes the high road instead of the easy cheap shots that everyone else has been taking.
    @GernerationKILL it's great to see that classic grunge bands are still putting out music and touring. Between Soundgarden's new release, and Rage's 20th Anniversary album coming out 11.27, the good grunge/alt music is still alive. Check out this RATM clip. It makes me SO stoked for their release.