Chris Cornell On Soundgarden Reunion

Chris Cornell has explained to The Washington Post why he didn't reunite with his bandmates in Soundgarden last month.

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The Washington Post recently conducted an interview with former Soundgarden/Audioslave singer Chris Cornell. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

The Washington Post: Suffice it to say that "Scream" hasn't been the most enthusiastically received album that you've ever made. Has the blowback surprised you, or did you sort of anticipate it because of where you've been and where this project was taking you?

Chris Cornell: I think it's pretty obvious. I did the math as soon as I made the decision to make that record. But it also depends on where you go, in terms of how enthusiastically it's been received. In some places, it's been received incredibly well. If you go right to the fans that like specifically the more hard-rock side of what I do, it's sort of an obvious script of that's going to be read, even by critics.

Does some of the criticism sting when it's some of your own fans saying, "Hey, I really don't like what you're doing here"?

No, I would be stupid to assume that they would like it. I would be stupid to think that everybody would, like, get into something that's really sort of an electronic rock record. In terms of its instrumentation, it's entirely different than what they're used to or what they might even ever want to hear. It doesn't sting at all. At the same time, there's a huge group of people getting behind it. Underground DJ culture is tearing this record up, and they're pretty snobby about what it is that they get into.

From what I hear from other people, this album is just two years ahead of its time. But that's also still unrelated to my older fans. As music changes and the landscape of music and the styles of music that become popular change, it still doesn't mean that somebody in their 30s that's been listening to me since they were a teenager is going to like where that goes. This record is just very different. I completely understand it.

And it's not an ego thing. To me, music shouldn't be ego-driven. When you go out on stage and play songs, it is. But when you're sitting in a room, writing songs, it's a completely different process. It's a completely different place. It's a creative place, a musical place. It has nothing to do with who likes what. As a fan, that's something I would be disappointed in; I certainly would not ever want a band that I'm a fan of to be worried about what I think when they create what they do. The whole point is that they create what they do, and then I go into that environment if I want.

So you're saying that if, I don't know, Trent Reznor, makes an album that you don't particularly care for, you're not going to go out and blast it?

No. That's kind of childish. To be honest, if I wanted to go out to blast records that I hate, I would be sitting on Twitter 24 hours a day blasting 96 percent of what comes out maybe 98 percent of what comes out. (Laughs.) There's a lot of music that I don't like.

But it's not a popularity contest. It's not campaigning, either. And also, it's not the first time I've been in this position. When SOUNDGARDEN first came out, we were basically part of and wanted to be part of this post-punk indie scene in the U.S. And then we suddenly had this particular moment when he wrote songs like "Incessant Mace" on that SST record and "Nothing to Say" on the first Sub Pop record and we were somehow naturally drawing from these influences of '70s hard rock, which at the time couldn't have been less popular and less cool. There was tension in that, and we did it anyway.

A lot of people hated it, even people who were fans of us and had liked what we'd done until then hated it. They didn't get it. That was exciting, actually. I like that feeling. I like the idea of not being comfortable, preaching to the choir, coming out with a new record, seeing people blow up online saying, "This reminds me of that song from that other record 10 years ago." Ten years is a long [expletive] time to me. Ten years ago, I made a solo album ["Euphoria Morning"] that was completely unlike anything like I'd ever done. So I feel pretty great about where I am musically.

What was your reaction to the news that Kim, Matt and Ben reunited to perform three Soundgarden songs with Tad Doyle?

I thought it was cool that they'd actually get together and rehearse some songs. I was kind of surprised by it, to be honest. [Laughs.] And I love Tad. We toured with Tad; I've always felt he was a really amazing person and a really talented guy. So I just really thought it was a cool thing for them to do. They were just getting up there and doing it for fun, and I think that's great. The only thing I didn't like is that I wasn't there to see it. If I was there, I probably would've gotten up on stage.

So at some point, might we see a Soundgarden reunion?

You never know.

Read the entire interview from The Washington Post.

Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, bassist Ben Shepherd, and drummer Matt Cameron performed together onstage for the first time in more than a decade on March 24 at Seattle's Crocodile Cafe. The trio came out for a show on Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello's Justice Tour, for which he invited musician friends in each city to perform. Singing in place of frontman Chris Cornell was Tad Doyle, former leader of Seattle cult band Tad. The foursome's three-song "Tadgarden" set included what Ear Candy described as a "powerful" rendition of early Soundgarden song "Nothing To Say" as well as the band's 1994 hit "Spoonman".

Check out video footage of the performance here.

Soundgarden broke up in 1997 after 12 years together and five studio albums. Along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains, the band led the way for the Seattle "grunge" sound and alternative music revolution of the 1990s.

Thanks for the report to

82 comments sorted by best / new / date

    soundgarden reunion would be amazing! i want to see soundgarden because they are one of my favorite bands of all time and i hope that chris sees the light and does it!
    Lisen soundgarden is my faverite band ever and i'd pay a million dollars to see them together again i've seen cornell 3 times during solo tours and he's geting his voice back big time and the switch of genre's has really effected it in a positive way too i think he's had some vocal training resintly anyways i personally love scream and hate r&b guess im just a huge fan its still his voice and lyrics behind the music you could play nails on a chalk board behind it and i'd still love it
    The Master Plan
    ordinary_story wrote: Wait he didn't really explain why he didn't reunite with Soundgarden...
    Yeah he did, he said he didn't even know they were going to play together, so he didn't reunite because he did not know about it.
    I remember seeing an interview a couple years ago where Chris said that a reunion was unlikely because he didn't think any of the members were interested. I think now that he has seen that Kim, Matt, and Ben have played and are most likely interested, I think that it could happen. It may not be any time soon, but maybe in a year or two... "You never know" lol
    The thing with it being two years ahead of its time is that any modern music can technically be deemed "ahead of its time". Music that was released in the past is considered good, bad, ahead of its time, old school for its time, etc, and the way it is considered is straightforward because one can compare it to other music of that time, and music released before/after it so you get a full spectrum to investigate. That's why music considered truly great tends to be old, usually very old. But if you want to say how good or bad modern music is, well, you simply can't. You can't definitively say if it's ahead of its time because you can't predict the future, and you can't say whether it really has longevity because you may well come back to it many times in the future, even if you don't like it now. I personally think Cornell's solo work is good. However, it is just that; GOOD, not GREAT, or above average. I also think that "ahead of its time" should be a phrase reserved for technology and raw, measurable things. Art is never "ahead of its time" because art is supposed to be timeless, it is supposed to be something reflecting and expressing that moment in time but it shouldn't be exclusively definable according to that moment in time.
    Man oh man! I nearly pissed myself at that "You never know" statement. If we were to have a new Soundgarden album I'd cry tears of joy. I've been waiting YEARS!
    vabrownsfan89 wrote: shit dude as bad ass as that would be to see them get back together, i almost think it'd be kinda like the Zeppelin reunion. you get a singer who clearly doesnt have the range that he used to playing stuff that requires an insane range. i just dont want to have the latest time i hear soundgarden be chris butchering loud love or hands all over or some of the early stuff
    No. He still has the range. He doesn't have the power or clarity. It's mostly clarity that he doesn't have right now. He's getting healthier.
    johnny rex
    Fuelie79 wrote: Soundgarden reunion is toward the top of the list of things that I want to see before I die... It's right behind Nickelback breaking up.
    haha, agreed.
    The guy's voice is dead. SG reunion is a terrible idea. You'd just have lots of disappointed people leaving the shows each night.
    i don't think they should reunite. Soundgarden was at the top of the world when they broke-up. and people will always remember them for being a great band. if they reunite they might end up like one of those great bands that slowly dies and dies and thats just sad
    A Soundgarden reunion would be horrible. Cornell made SG music when he was completely ****ing miserable, and now he's happily married and raising a family. The music would also be infinitely compared to every other SG record, something they couldn't live up to. Plus, I'm not so sure if Cornell could sing the old songs like he used to. I enjoy some of the songs on Scream, it's not a horrible record. It could've been better, but it's good enough. It's kinda of punk, in a way - going against what everyone wants you and expects you to do like that.
    after this album, good to hear he still thinks fondly of his tim with them and hasnt closed the door does anyone have a camera? i want to do a tribute to the scream album cover, it will be me leaping up in the air holding an object i am about to smash into the ground - a copy of scream...
    Flying Afros
    Only thing is Pearl Jam has Matt Cameron now....But I'm sure he can find time to do some shows with Soundgarden. Do it Chris. Call the guys up and have a chat. The world needs Soundgarden.
    Don't kid yourselves..... Putting those 4 guys together doesn't sound like Soundgarden anymore. Chris Cornell has lost his pipes. He's 45 years old, and he's not going to get them back. Sure, he's singing SG songs now, but he's struggling through them AND he's given up any guitar playing he used to/would normally do to focus on singing alone. Look, I LOVE SG, and if those guys throw a tour together I'll be the first to buy tickets, but I know they wouldn't live up to expectations. I'd love them to be great again, but I KNOW it's simply not a possibility. I'd rather not see these guys struggle through the old songs that we love and one time kicked ass.
    Cactus Jumper
    PLEASE REUNITE THAT WOULD BE A GREAT DAY IN HISTORY i would give all my money and time just to see them live once in my life.
    I think Cornell could pull off old songs perfectly, I think he wants Scream to sink in a little more before he moves "backwards". It takes balls to cross genres, but with his voice he can carry any song he sings over. Every great artist I know of has had an experimental period in their career, good luck to him with his solo stuff, and good luck to all diehard soundgarden fans praying for a reunion within the next few years (I'll be there front row!).
    I wish he would stop trying to defend his solo album. By dance music standards, creativity standards, lyrics standards, etc. the whole mess was an utter pile of shite.
    Don't reunite, don't kill your legacy, hopefully CC will have a good head on him about this one (like Robert Plant).
    Plus, I;ve never heard a more copied singer than Cornell, finding someone who sounds exactly like him would be easy.
    I don't like it when people say, it ain't the same without [insert member]. 1) It's obvious, if you take out a band member no duh it can't be the same. 2) the band still likes to make the music. The members who do want to reunite can't help it if one guy doesn't. Should they have to sit around and mope instead of doing what they love? Hell no.
    Since when did music become about range? What happened to going to see a show to enjoy some good songs. I don't even care if they tune the songs down a bit, I just want to enjoy the songs Soundgarden wrote. I think the energy of them being together in a live atmosphere is so much stronger than Chris not being able to hit those high notes like he used to And Chris' album is ahead of its time, because no rock singer of his standard would dare do something that isn't rock, because people from the US will have such a negative reaction.
    RecluseHermit wrote: (Please excuse the broken link & double post.) '96:
    Sure, I agree, he doesn't have the voice he used to. But compare a live version from 2 years ago to the studio recording, which was mastered? Come on! Then:
    If anything, that's an improvement. He has more control, just sounds a bit tired and strained. Give it a bit of rest and I say he can at least give it a shot.
    I was there kim trading licks with tom on spoonman was probably the best thing ever. P.S i was the kid who dived for toms pick lol
    I can't stop thinking of how awesome a modern, "reworked for Chris's vocals" version of Black Hole Sun or Spoonman would be.
    So at some point, might we see a Soundgarden reunion? You never know.
    Make my day!
    THEN: ... re=related NOW:
    Tad Doyle is a Seattle vet and living legend. Got a problem with him? Suck a D.
    Vicryl 2.0
    Ooopppsss wrong reply jimmy..hehe its for those who never knew Tad Doyle.... my bad...
    Vicryl 2.0
    Jimmy94 wrote: He deserves to be singing for soundgarden more than Chris "Timbaland" Cornell right now. Chris is a parody of himself. Do you guys even know who TAD is?
    ill assume you just heard soundgarden recently or have been tuning too much on the radio during the 90s if you dont know who Tad doyle is.... Tad surely doesnt fit on soundgarden if ever as a replacement.. i love TAD and Hog Molly...
    Superperfex wrote:
    lol @ that fatass singing. It's a disgrace. Indeed, If I never hear Tad sing again it will be too soon. Either tour with Chris or not at all.
    He deserves to be singing for soundgarden more than Chris "Timbaland" Cornell right now. Chris is a parody of himself. Do you guys even know who TAD is?
    yea, it would suck with any ****in other person but Chris, and TAD sucks balls, that would sound shitty.
    This is not two years ahead of its time. It conforms to the popular shit of the now. NIN, now that's two years ahead of its time.
    save your career chris, do it, reunite, you play the songs at solo concerts all the time, hell, half the people come just to see those, the only thing that would make that better is kim, ben, and matt up there with u doing their thing, this is the time, Pearl Jam can find a new drummer
    SuicidalFreak wrote: Royyor wrote: Come on Chris doooo iiit!!! Yeah, a Soundgarden reunion without him would actually suck.
    the other guys did add to the music as well you know... but your right, it would not be the same
    Chris Cornell - You never know
    Thank you, UG, that little snippet was REALLY something to base an article title about.
    One tour That's it, that's all I will EVER wish for, Chris. I have no right to be pissed off at a guy who's delivered over 10 mindblowing records, just because the last 2 sucked. I mean, that would be like Brad Pitt demanding another baby from Angelina > "WUT, we only have 6 kids running around the house and you wanna QUIT ALREADY? But we don't even have any latinos!" Of course it would be cool if he gets back to releasing some mindblowing new stuff, but I would rather see at least 1 Soundgarden show before I die. Thats how much that music means to me...
    As much as I obviously want a Soundgarden reunion this article delivers absolutely nothing on a hint of any sort of reunion. "You never know" is what it's basically been ever since they broke up.
    shit dude as bad ass as that would be to see them get back together, i almost think it'd be kinda like the Zeppelin reunion. you get a singer who clearly doesnt have the range that he used to playing stuff that requires an insane range. i just dont want to have the latest time i hear soundgarden be chris butchering loud love or hands all over or some of the early stuff
    SuicidalFreak wrote: Royyor wrote: Come on Chris doooo iiit!!! Yeah, a Soundgarden reunion without him would actually suck.
    True. Chris completes the band. However, Tad is an amazing musician, so better him than some no-namer guy.