UG Special: Exclusive Interview With Chris Cornell and Kim Thayil of Soundgarden

UG readers united to interview the grunge legends - read what Chris and Kim answered here.

UG Special: Exclusive Interview With Chris Cornell and Kim Thayil of Soundgarden
This year has been pretty busy for Soundgarden. The band celebrated the 20th anniversary of "Superunkown" with an album reissue which came out on June 3 on iTunes and Amazon. Earlier this spring grunge veterans announced a co-headlining tour with Nine Inch Nails, which will start on July 19 in Las Vegas. Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell even speculated on the idea of performing "Superunkown" in full once again during the upcoming tour.

We were lucky to catch up with the guys from the band and have them answer some the questions you submitted. Here's what we've got.

: Chris, would you be up for an Audioslave reunion if the other guys wanted to?

Chris Cornell: Sure, Why not?

Zerath: What new bands are you influenced by and what are some new bands that you listen to?

CC: All music and art/film etc. Is always on the table as an influence. With the possible exception of modern dance.

shwilly: Is there ANY chance of you guys collaborating on a documentary about the band or something?

CC: Maybe, when the the time is right.

Silveroon009: Chris, how did you train your voice in the early days? Has it changed much from the way you do it now?

CC: I had mostly on the job training in the early days. Later I worked with a brilliant voice teacher named Ron Anderson. He taught me techniques that have made singing much more satisfying.

Silveroon009: How do you go about writing songs? Do you improvise-jam, bring them in mostly done, or a bit of both?

CC: Pretty much every way I can think of with the exception of using outside writers. It's good to NOT have a formula.

deadbeatmax: Were there times you had to re-listen a song to remember how the song go? I mean you got quite extensive catalog to go back and rehearse them for each tour, and they all have interesting time signatures.

CC: Relearning old songs has been a pastime of the last few years and oddly seems easiest when we rely on muscle memory. We just start playing the song and all the parts start to fall into place and the memory of what we did just comes back.

N7Crazy: Do you think there will ever be a revolution in music again similar to the one of grunge, sweeping away shallower commercial artists and introducing the public to a long line of fresh, and unique bands/artists?

CC: I think they are out there but with the lack of one consistent focus such as MTV there are too many gate keepers so an underground movement becoming a dominant commercial force seems impossible.

claudiorndm: Chris, do you have plans to make music or a duet with Mark Lanegan someday?

CC: I co-produced an album for his band Screaming Trees, "Uncle Anesthesia," back in '91. You never know what the future holds.

PoorePlaysBass: Constant rumors about the Pearl Jam/Soundgarden joint tour, mind shedding any light on that?

Kim Thayil: A Pearl Jam/Soundgarden joint tour isn't likely because it would require Matt Cameron to play for 4-5 hours in one night and anyone that has seen Matt play a set knows that 4-5 hours of playing would require a unique endurance.

YorkieBar147: What were the first songs you learnt to play and on which instrument?

KT: The first songs I learned how to play were on piano, even though I don't play the piano - "Chopsticks" and the intro melody to Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer." The first songs I learned to play on guitar were Deep Purple "Smoke on the Water," Black Sabbath "Iron Man," The Kingsmen "Louie Louie."

JOHNSTONE6: Kim, when you first started playing guitar what sort of exercises routines (if any) would you do? How did you practice?

KT: I never took lessons so I never had any assigned homework or exercises. I had a book of guitar chords that I would repeat and make different chord progressions that were familiar from the radio. I did finger and wrist exercises, similar to ones I did when I played baseball.

Elegitii: Over the years you guys have worked with some great producers. Which producer do you think had the biggest effect on your music and what different elements did each producer add to it?

KT: We've always co-produced our albums as a band so my answer would be the band. Original rock bands tend to use producers more as engineers than arrangers of songs.

hudsonstradlin: Kim, do you remember the experimentation process of coming up with your guitar tone? How did you manage to think outside the box in developing it, rather than going for a standard clean/overdriven combination?

KT: The guitar tones I use have changed over time as my taste has changed. I try to dial in a tone that is pleasant to my ear and fits within the song we're working on at the moment. For example, it would be difficult to use an Elvis Costello tone for a Metallica song.

JimBonJovi: To either Kim or Chris, do you have a favourite tuning?

KT: Standard tuning is what I use most often. I always keep a guitar around the house that is in drop D tuning and I like open D tuning that I use in "Head Down," "Burden in My Hand," "Never the Machine Forever," and "Thousand Days Before."

the_hoodster: Kim, what is it about the Guild S-100 that has made it your go-to guitar since the dawn of Soundgarden?

KT: It has very quick action and comes with Grover tuning keys which are the best. The Grover keys allow me to get alternate tunings without the guitar shifting out of tune. I'm also able to play and make particular sounds below the bridge.

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    That is a mistranscriptation of the open tuning for those songs. Its not open D, it's CGCGGE, Kim has mentioned it in many other interviews.