There's no doubt that Chris Cornell's latest album, "Scream", has been a topic of discussion amongst the singer's fans. On the one hand, some see his collaboration with hip-hop producer Timbaland as a breath of fresh-air in the singer's catalog. Of course, on the other hand, many see it as Cornell "selling out". Aidin Vaziri of Gibson.com spoke with Cornell about the album and why he chose to work with Timbaland.
You can read their conversation below:
Why he decided to work with Timbaland instead of Steve Albini:
"I felt like I sort of established the concept that I'm going to be doing whatever it is I'm going to be doing after I made the Temple of the Dog album. That was the moment I had all these songs that didn't fit with my band and suddenly there was this opportunity to go in with these other people who I had known for years and record that album. I was scared. I was afraid of the concept because I knew the band I had was special, but I didn't know what it would mean if I was going to create some music with some other people. It ended up being that album. From that point on, because it was such a great experience and it could have easily not happened, I decided to always be open and aware and focused on any concept of collaboration. That's how Audioslave happened. I did it; I'm really glad I did it. The Timbaland album was the same thing."
Why playing Soundgarden's rocket-fueled metal on the reunion circuit doesn't appeal to him:
"That, to me, is similar to playing the back of Chinese restaurant. My heart needs to feel good while I'm playing a song. In order to play old songs from my history, I need to be able to also play songs from the present and songs that will literally turn into the future in a moment's notice. That does work for me."
Why he spends most of his waking hours on Twitter:
"For me, it's actually become a way to communicate with fans that I've never been able to do before. It's been difficult to figure out a way to do that that's honest and direct enough but still comfortable and not weird or dangerous. With Twittering I found out people can ask me any question and I can answer it really quickly. You have that layer of safety they don't know where you are, you don't know where they are. If somebody is crazy you can tell. And, yeah, I can have conversations with people that have real fan questions. A lot of the time in terms of celebrity, people separate themselves from their fans. In a way that becomes a little bit unrealistic because at the end of the day we're allowed to do this for a living because of our fans. For me, there can also be insight into who I am and what it is I do by actually responding to fans' thoughts and ideas."
Why Audioslave had an uphill battle even though it sold a bazillion albums:
"With Audisolave the numbers were the same as Soundgarden but what it meant was different. Now it was this new story about a supergroup, and what does that mean? That was what those records meant and our job was to go out and be who we were. I think we successfully changed that perspective and reminded people that Led Zeppelin and Crosby Stills Nash and Young were supergroups. Something happened in the '80s where there were so many bad ones that it left an awful taste in peoples' mouths. So we had that going on."
Why he doesn't care what you think of Scream:
"My strongest belief has always been that as long as I'm inspired by it, other people will be. I feel that now. The creative process of making the album and going out and performing it is what's important. I don't think anything is as challenging as that process, or as exciting regardless of what happens after the fact. I'm on the road playing a catalog that goes back to 1990. The response to my newest material from some of my oldest fans is phenomenal, at least in terms of what's happening in front of me. It's an unbelievably satisfying experience because there's so much musical diversity on-stage. I have more fun doing it now than I ever had in my life."
Report by David Lowe-Bianco.