Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil thinks drummer Matt Cameron came up with the idea after writing songs that wouldn't work for his current band Pearl Jam so he decided to ask his former outfit to try them out, reports Classic Rock.
The axeman remembers they found themselves jamming a few months after completing unfinished old track 'Black Rain' for their 2010 'Telephantasm' compilation.
Thayil tells Consequence of Sound: Matt demoed a couple of songs that he wanted us to learn. He sent us an email saying he booked studio time that November and that he'd love to show us these songs and have us learn and record them. I guess he just wanted to hear what they'd sound like with us playing them. I'm inferring from that that they didn't work out for Pearl Jam or something.
Asked if Cameron might have had the intention of reuniting Soundgarden, the guitarist says: He might have. I shouldn't speculate, but I think he wanted to get us back together because that's where we are. We went into the studio, rehearsed and jammed on those songs, and from there other ideas started coming forward.
He was surprised to discover that the reason he believed the band would never regrouped was actually the reason they did. I think the direction I went in wasn't the direction that Chris Cornell wanted to go in. It was just hard to imagine the four of us creating, given where we all went.
What I failed to recognise was that, individually we might be showing interest in other subgenres but there is a collective way that we communicate musically that is probably always going to be Soundgarden. I failed to recognise we are that band, even if individually we might have grown over the past 15 years.
Meanwhile, Cornell has speculated that the reason it took so long to get back together was that the band were very happy with how it had ended.
He tells QMI: We put away Soundgarden in a very kind of triumphant and complete way. Our last album was one of our best in terms of all four band members really being completely immersed in the whole process. It's one of my favourite albums and then we walked away from it.
So it wasn't a question that tugged on heartstrings where you think, God, if only we could have done X,' Or, Yeah, it would be really great to get back so we could redeem ourselves for that long period of crap.'
Soundgarden's new album, King Animal, is on sale now. Watch the band performing opening track 'Been Away Too Long' on Jools Holland's BBC TV show.