Our Temple of the Dog box set just arrived ! See Photos
We'e also put up this Temple of the Dog countdown page for their tour where we'll [try] to post any links to the more reasonable priced tickets that we see online
Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil Discusses Vinyl Reissues, Potential New Album + More
Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s Los Angeles-based Monday night radio show. He discussed the vinyl releases of ‘Louder Than Love’ and ‘Down on the Upside,’ shedding light on how time has treated their classic records as well as the new era of musicians the band impacted as well as peering into what Soundgarden has planned in the near feature. Check out the chat below.
How are you, Kim?
Great Jackie, how are you doing?
Great, thank you so much for being on the show.
Great to be here.
Lots going on with Soundgarden, obviously. You have re-released 1989’s Louder Than Love on vinyl. There’s also a vinyl 20th anniversary reissue of Down on the Upside from 1996. What changes about the importance of Soundgarden albums years later, now removed from the context of the time and place they were first released?
One thing that the band has noticed since getting back together in 2010 is how the young musicians in bands cite us as an influence. That’s certainly sort of a surprise for us. That’s probably where we would have loved to have been when we started playing. To be like the guys in our record collection, the people that inspired us, the people that got us playing together. I think for that reason, it’s good for us to keep the catalog active. There are some upgrades to this. It’s on 180 gram vinyl, which is really important to audiophiles. I myself and perfectly happy with the scratches and pops. I know other people are a little more discerning when it comes to their vinyl.
Kim, what made you fully understand the longterm impact that albums like Superunknown and Down on the Upside made on people’s lives?
The longterm impact was appreciated after the band had been apart for 10 to 12 years. I would meet other people in bands. I’d meet people who were younger most of our initiate fans who are probably in their 40s or 50s or 30s now. You meet young musicians, you meet kids who’d say that this record got me through high school or college. Maybe even junior high or younger. They’d describe how important it was to them. Then I’d remember having those very powerful feelings in regards to my Ramones records or Aerosmith records, [Led] Zeppelin records or Stooges records.
I thought, ‘This is great. This is perfect, we’ve done something right that years later we’re still seeing that kind of impact from people’s personal lives’. I think importantly, even more exciting was to find that many of these people learned how to play guitars and drums or keyboards or whatever. They started their own bands — that was really satisfying to learn that we had that kind of impact on people who wanted to write their own songs and start their own bands.
In our culture of streaming and downloads, why is it important to you that Louder Than Love and Down on the Upside be rereleased on vinyl?
What I’ve noticed and what makes it important that we keep these things out on vinyl / CD and cassette and especially vinyl, is that I found that people who enjoy music, music is the activity that they’re pursuing. These people like to listen to things, whole albums, they like to listen on vinyl. It took me years to grow away from vinyl and get used to the portability of CDs. But I currently maintain my collection of both CDs and vinyl. People who enjoy music as a secondary activity, something that they might use alongside some other activity like jogging, working or driving, I think those people are perfectly happy with MP3s.
Whereas vinyl is definitely for people where listening to music is the primary activity and the goal of that particular activity on any given day. I myself probably have music that feels great when I’m driving or if i’m doing something else. But when I listen to music it’s pretty much there in front of the stereo or with headphones on. I think people who listen to vinyl, and people who purchase vinyl, are definitely oriented towards music as that primary activity and not as an accompaniment to some other thing they’re doing.
Sonically, Kim, what did you feel needed to be addressed when remastering the old albums?
Especially with Louder Than Love, remastering was necessary because of the newer technologies and the potential for increased quality in the listening experience that have developed over the past 28 years. I think that in it of itself is one issue that is addressed by remastering. There are certainly others, the fact that when this record came out there wasn’t this commonly available digital technology. We have it on the players, it’s more available in professional studio systems. That gives us an extra ability in fine-tuning the volume and the tone, frequencies that we would have put down on tape. All of these, both these albums are remastered from the original analog tapes. So I think you’ll get a warmer and more accurate representation of when they were recorded.
Musicians grow and mature, improving their musical sensibility. How has your understanding of making and playing changed since Soundgarden first started?
Since Soundgarden first started, certainly you become a more experienced and better player just from the function of time. Also the function of the frequency of performing or playing. Any professional musician or anyone in a band who is touring is certainly getting many more hours under their belt of playing and performing under what might be a stressful situation. Having a few thousand eyes staring at you. Some people thrive in that and some people, they get their — they work their nerves and jitters out onstage. I think over the years, we’ve developed that kind of familiarity of the instrument, the audience, the music and the material. That’s one thing that improves. But certainly over the years, there have been many other songwriters and artists that are publishing. That material itself has some influence or inspiration on the people who are listening to it.
The guys in Soundgarden included. I think when we came up, we probably, our record collections consisted of a lot of pop rock, classic rock, some metal and some art-rock stuff. As well as your jazz and blues records. Since then, we’ve had all kinds of movements. Everything from the indie and lo-fi movement to the brief little venture in lo-fi to the rap which was popular, even though it started in the late ’70s it got real popular in the mid to late ’80s and early ’90s. EDM, which [laughs] I’m not the hugest fan of, but it does have its moments. Certainly all these musics are social, so regardless of what genre you have an affinity for, you’re going to become exposed to them because of the music your friends and family are playing. These things all contribute to the base of understanding of our band, socially and culturally and it’ll find its way into our songwriting.
Culturally and musically, in a lot of ways Seattle was an opposite of Los Angeles. How would Soundgarden be a different band if you came up in L.A.?
I don’t know how different it would have been. There’s sort of a little more of a complicated biography with the band. A few of us moved to Seattle from Chicago; we were raised in Chicago. I was born in Seattle, but raised in Chicago. Matt Cameron is from Southern California, so our first full length album was released on a Long Beached based label, SST. They were releasing records by other bands from San Pedro, Long Beach and the L.A. area. It’s very likely that we would have still been affiliated with SST and some of the artists that were playing around in L.A. I think that’s the kind of people we were, as individuals, both socially and culturally.
I doubt very much that we would have been the kind of band that was into, I’m referencing by ’80s imagery now, but spandex and bikini girls dancing on the hood of your car, oh I don’t know, cocaine. Those are cliches of the L.A. scene and we weren’t interested. There are other things that drew our attention and i think if we were L.A., we still wouldn’t have been caught up in that. I think. There are other aspects of geography, maybe we would have spent more time on the beach. Maybe that would have come into our music. More time driving too, we certainly got some of that in.
Kim, is there anything you can tell us more about what’s to come in terms of Soundgarden. There’s some other rereleases, new music, timeline? Anything that you can share?
There are definitely other catalog projects that I’ve been overseeing over the past year and one of them is the record I referred to, earlier from the SST label which is out of Long Beach. That record, Ultramega OK, we’ve remastered and [it’s being] remixed here in Seattle … and we’re hoping to put that out early next year. We’ve moved the labels, we’re putting that out on Sup Pop. All the paperwork is in order. We have something slated for Black Friday and I think the most exciting thing in the next few months is we’re hoping, we plan to, the street date of November 18th with the 25th anniversary boxed for Badmotorfinger.
So there’s still a lot more to come.
Yeah, you’re talking about a catalog that was probably overlooked for a decade or so.
But not a band that hasn’t been noted, as you mentioned, as an influence for so many other bands. The band, of course, important to the genre and has some serious historic significance and so glad that you guys are still together and making new music. It’s amazing.
Yes and we’re certainly happy about that. Like I said, well I didn’t say this. In previous interviews, you’ve pointed out the most exciting thing was having the new material be so fresh and to add to the new material with the individual musical experiences we’ve acquired over the past decade or so. That kept everything with the same songwriting and personnel dynamic, augmented that personal dynamic with these new ideas, new music and new experiences that we’ve acquired over the past decade or so. It’s with any relationship with family or loved ones, boyfriend / girlfriend. Sometimes you grow apart. You grow apart when you’re together, you grow apart when you’re away but after this long period of time we’re still sort of where we’re at with each other and that’s been a very positive thing.
Probably because only those years where the band was not together we were all still in touch and all sharing similar social circles and the same friends. So we’re always constantly doing things together and running into each other. It was just a matter of getting the four of us all on the same page and putting our nose to the grindstone and do the work that was required to keep the Soundgarden machine going the way it was when we split in the late ’90s. I think the added maturity and growth was probably a bonus as well.
I know you all have a lot going on. When do you think you guys are going to get back to with a new record in terms of a release and will there be Soundgarden tour?
We’re planning that out as well. Right now there are some other projects that are taking up band members time. Matt’s got some Pearl Jam touring and projects. Chris and Matt together are working on this Temple of the Dog thing. Over the past year we’ve had a number of songwriting and jam sessions, Soundgarden, getting together to simply exchange ideas and document and record them. So we’ve had some rough demos of a dozen or so songs. We’ll continue to do this as everyone’s schedules open up. Hopefully next year we’ll find ourselves in the studio fleshing out these ideas.
Sounds like you’ll be busy. Good luck and always appreciate talking to you. Thank you.
Thank you, and I want to add, probably in the future this is probably the schedule. As Matt and Chris, especially with Matt involved in Pearl Jam there is plenty of catalog issues and releases that the band will be paying attention to during the touring downtimes. There’s other things that are being developed, compiled and collected for future releases over the next few years.
One thing you don’t have a shortage of is content.
We did accumulate a lot.
Thanks to Kim Thayil for the interview. For more information on the Soundgarden vinyl reissues and to grab a copy of your own, head to the band’s webstore. No tour dates are booked at the publication time, but keep up with Soundgarden on the road and more on their Facebook page.
Soundgarden announced the winner of their fan art contest today via Twitter and Facebook [Link] and we're happy to say the honor went to Hannah Christine Nicholson, who just recently worked with us to provide her artwork throughout our site.
Follow Hannah, and her art:
This week, Soundgarden’s 1989 album Louder Than Love is being treated to a vinyl reissue, as it deserves to be. The band’s major label debut—after releasing material on the prominent indie labels Sub Pop and SST—Louder Than Love cemented the up-and-coming Seattle band’s instantly familiar yet radical mix of hard-rock traditionalism and post-punk attitude. Naturally, Louder Than Love is being hailed for this reissue as a grunge milestone. Seeing as how it appeared a full two years before Nirvana’s major label debut, Nevermind, there’s no countering that argument. But there’s something else Louder Than Love should be hailed as: one of the milestones of alternative metal.
Grunge often gets called the nail in the coffin of 80s hair metal, but if that’s the case, alternative metal built the coffin. As a once vital and exciting crop of glam bands in the early 80s got watered down into gruel by the end of the decade, a disparate bunch of bands rose to fill the void. Faith No More mixed rap and synthesizers into their riffs; The Cult brought a dark, Doors-y vibe to their retroactive rock; Primus put a cartoony, virtuosic, Zappa-like spin on things; and King’s X’s melodic, progressive songs were grab-bag of styles and sounds.
Some of these groups had been around for years before getting tagged as alternative metal in the late 80s, a label that never really became popular. On a larger scale, Metallica and Guns N’ Roses were already digging an escape route out of the hair-metal purgatory American metal found itself in, but alternative metal was something else entirely: a loose confederation of oddballs, misfits, artists, and colorful characters whose anything-goes ethos fit better with the rising tide of alternative rock, which was just starting to make massive commercial inroads with R.E.M. and The Cure.
Alternative metal came into its own, though, thanks to the success of a handful of groups in the late 80s. Living Colour’s Vivid, Jane’s Addition’s Nothing’s Shocking, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Mother’s Milk, and Faith No More’s The Real Thing came out in 1988 and 1989, and they redrew the metal blueprint. None of them played metal in a strict sense; everything from goth to folk to funk to art-rock popped up on these albums, and they were more apt to sing poetry or politics than the tried-and-true metal topics of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll. But for an audience weary of hair-metal’s decreasing returns—'88 and ’89 being the age where Warrant, Winger, and Slaughter reigned supreme—the vibrancy and diversity of alternative metal was a breath of fresh air.
That said, skaters and college kids were much more likely to rock out to alternative metal than your average headbanger in the late 80s. But some bands lumped into the alternative metal category had one foot squarely in the metal camp—most notably Queensrÿche and Voivod. Both groups openly expressed their love of science fiction, which imbued their music with a geek-inclusive mystique that hadn’t been seen since the heyday of progressive rock in the ’70s. Indeed, both Queensrÿche and Voivod felt like new, heavy-metal incarnations of Pink Floyd than anything else; Voivod even covered Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine,” whose video saw plenty of play on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball in 1989.
Headbanger’s Ball gave a needed boost to alternative metal on those pre-Nevermind months, but it was Soundgarden that inadvertently waved the banner. No one embraced the tag of alternative rock at the time; as genre names go, it’s vague and clumsy. As a way to draw in new audiences, though, it didn’t hurt. Neither did the strength of Louder Than Love. Soundgarden had been releasing music since 1986, when two of their songs appeared on the seminal Seattle compilation Deep Six (alongside, among others, the Melvins, another band lumped briefly into the alternative metal category before establishing the band as a category unto itself). But Louder Than Love honed Soundgarden’s seamless blend of metal roots and forward-thinking weirdness, from the menacing psychedelic undertow of “Hands All Over” to the Zeppelin-esque stomp of “Loud Love.” Kim Thayil’s riffs lurched like wounded dinosaurs, and in Chris Cornell, alternative metal had a burgeoning, bona fide rock star with the potential to rival—if not displace—all the Kip Wingers and Sebastian Bachs of the world.
But was it metal? Thayil didn’t think so. As quoted in Ian Christe’s book Sound of the Beast, the Soundgarden guitarist “hated heavy metal for years. […] I thought it stood for everything I hated about the rock industry and all the jocks, musicians, and jerks in high school.” He went on to add, “Some people think heaviness is distortion, loud volume, or kicking drums. They may all have a place in warranting a heavy sound, but above all it’s got to be mind-bending.” This sentiment was echoed later by John Stanier, drummer of Helmet, one of the most powerful bands to have been slapped with the alternative metal label in the early 90s. “We fell into the whole metal thing by accident,” Stanier says in Sound of the Beast. “We always hated it when people mentioned metal in conjunction with us.” But that was the whole point of alternative metal; purity and authenticity were rejected as false premises, while a freer synthesis of styles, approaches, and attitudes was the only rule.
By the time the 90s rolled around, the seeds of grunge had sprouted—and they’d done so in the soil of alternative metal. Nirvana’s debut album Bleach may have come out in 1989, but it had little impact outside the underground; meanwhile, fellow Seattle bands Mother Love Bone, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden were releasing dark, brooding, heavy albums on major labels. They didn’t sell all that much, but they started a collective buzz, helping to prime listeners for the widespread acceptance of Nirvana when Nevermind hit like a brick in 1992.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” didn’t happen in a vacuum; Soundgarden’s Louder Than Love and Alice in Chain’s Facelift had already sparked the hunger for heavy music that was subversive, mysterious, cryptic, and challenging. And, yes, from Seattle. And after Nirvana’s ascendancy to godhood, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains were removed from the alternative metal column and placed front and center in a new marketing brand that the music industry appropriated from the underground: grunge. It was far more lucrative, but far more restrictive.
The term “alternative metal” still pops up from time to time, but it’s no more relevant or meaningful today than “alternative rock.” Instead, it’s a relic. But the brief, nebulous era of alternative metal in the late 80s and early 90s remains a snapshot of a vibrant time when a brash new generation of heavy-leaning bands threw everything against the wall to see what stuck. Ultimately alternative metal was an imperfect, arbitrary, and ultimately cynical tag, a desperate attempt to find a marketing niche and identifiable brand for metal at a time when metal, at least on a mainstream level, was withering. But it also gave a boost to many good bands that might otherwise have foundered along without support or visibility, and in a way it helped pave the way for a crop of bands that rose to prominence immediately after grunge, from Tool to Neurosis. Alternative metal, flawed though it was, showed the world that heavy music had more life, vitality, color, and imagination to it than anyone during the hair metal regime ever dreamed.
Jason Heller is flying the alt flag on Twitter.
Hear Lost Temple of the Dog Song 'Black Cat'
Track will appear on upcoming deluxe reissue of supergroup's 1991 grunge classic
Temple of the Dog's lone LP will be re-released on September 30th in several editions, most notably a super-deluxe package containing previously unreleased demos, alternate takes, live cuts and concert video. Right now you can preview the reissues with "Black Cat," a demo of a song that didn't make Temple of the Dog, which has never seen official release until now. "Black cat, black cat's gone," Chris Cornell howls on the track. "Gone for good, gone for long/Don't believe I made it home/And I hope he don't come home."
The Seattle supergroup – which also features Pearl Jam members Jeff Ament, Mike McCready and Stone Gossard – came together in 1990 to honor late Mother Love Bone frontman Andrew Wood, who died of a heroin overdose earlier that year. Early on in the process, Eddie Vedder teamed up with Ament, McCready and Gossard to form Pearl Jam. The singer guested on a handful of Temple of the Dog songs, most notably "Hunger Strike." Temple of the Dog have reunited at a handful of Pearl Jam shows over the years, but this fall they're launching their first tour.
The group has yet to figure out exactly what material they're going to perform at the shows outside of songs from the album, but it's unlikely they'll do anything by Pearl Jam or Soundgarden. "I feel like that doesn't feel right in my gut," Cornell told Rolling Stone. "That's nothing that I talked about with anybody. It's just you asking and me reacting. It doesn't feel like the right thing, but I might change my mind."
Temple of the Dog kick off their tour November 4th in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, and wrap up November 21st with a two-night stand at Seattle's Paramount Theater. "I hope if these go well, there will be more in the future," McCready told Rolling Stone. "That's kind of why we didn't want to do an extensive tour. We just wanted to feel out the landscape. I hope we can go to Europe. It depends on how much fun we have with it, and how much people get out of it."
The various Temple of the Dog reissues are available for pre-order now.
The just-announced Temple of the Dog 4-Disc Box Set will feature some of our footage from the September 2011 PJ20 show.
Full contents of the Box Set:
- Original album newly mixed in 192/24 stereo by Brendan O'Brien
- Plus 3 Alternate Mixes newly mixed from multi-tracks by Adam Kasper – "Say Hello 2 Heaven", "Wooden Jesus" and "All Night Thing"
- 7 demos - 5 unreleased including 2 songs that didn't make final album sessions: "Angel of Fire" and "Black Cat"
- 5 Studio Outtakes newly mixed from multi-tracks by Adam Kasper – "Say Hello 2 Heaven", "Reach Down", "Pushin Forward Back", "Wooden Jesus" and "All Night Thing"
Disc 3 (DVD):
- 11/13/90: Off Ramp Cafe video shot by Badmotorfinger producer, Terry Date (previously unseen/unreleased) – "Hunger Strike", "Wooden Jesus", "Say Hello 2 Heaven", "Reach Down", "Call Me A Dog" and "Times of Trouble"
- 12/90: "Say Hello 2 Heaven" originally shot on film and newly transferred to HD (newly edited and never before seen in its entirety)
- 9/8/92: Lollapalooza, Phoenix "Hunger Strike" surprise performance
- Official "Hunger Strike" music video
- 9/11 PJ20 Alpine Valley fan shot and edited videos including:
- 9/3/11: "Say Hello 2 Heaven"
- 9/4/11: "Hunger Strike", "Call Me A Dog", "All Night Thing" and "Reach Down"
- All HD quality; includes Pearl Jam's stereo mix from the live multi-tracks from this event plus HD pit footage from the Pearl Jam archives
- 1/15: "Call Me A Dog" and "Reach Down" from Madseason's 2015 Benaroya Hall concert (newly edited and never-before-seen)
Disc 4 (Blu-ray Audio):
- Newly mixed 96kHz 24-bit 5.1 Surround mix by Adam Kasper (Superunknown 5.1 mixer)
- 96kHz 24-bit stereo mix by Brendan O'Brien
- Official "Hunger Strike" music video in 5.1
- HD versions of the bonus videos in stereo only
Magnetic flip top box package includes booklet with liner notes by David Fricke, a lenticular sticker and a poster.
PLUS exclusive 12"x12" litho with each Super Deluxe order.
UPDATE: SOLD ! Thank you
We ended up with 2 extra tickets for the New York Temple of the Dog show at Madison Square Garden on Monday November 7th.
Tickets are: Section 211, Row 10, Seats 17 & 18 (seats are together)
$216.60 which is the original face value
Contact: Jeff@Jeffgarden.com | Twitter.com/iJeffgarden | Facebook.com/jeffgarden | Google.com/+JeffAnsari
11.04.16 - Tower Theater, Philadelphia, PA
11.07.16 - Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
11.11.16 - Bill Graham Civic Center, San Francisco, CA
11.14.16 - The Forum, Los Angeles, CA
11.20.16 - Paramount Theater, Seattle, WA
Article Source: Radio.com
Matt Cameron Looks Back at Temple of the Dog
July 14, 2016 7:00 AM
By Brian Ives
Earlier this year, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell posted a photo of the master tapes to the legendary Temple of the Dog album from 1991.
This was a big deal for fans, because the ownership of those tapes have been in dispute: Rajan Parashar, the co-founder of London Bridge Studios in Seattle, where the album was recorded, was claiming ownership of the tapes, and at one point was refusing to give them to the record company.
His brother, Rick Parashar, was the co-owner of the studio and also produced the album (as well as Pearl Jam’s debut, Ten).
Matt Cameron, the drummer for Temple of the Dog, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, spoke to Radio.com about another of his projects, Hater (whose debut EP is being reissued today, July 15). But the conversation veered to Temple of the Dog.
“It’s the 25th anniversary [of Temple of the Dog], but we had to go through this contentious court battle to get these idiots to give us our master tapes back. And that’s when Chris posted that [to Facebook]. But yeah, we’re figuring that stuff out now, as far as the re-release goes.”
“It was such an emotional record,” he recalls about the group’s self-titled album, which was a tribute to the late Andrew Wood; Wood was the singer of Mother Love Bone, whose guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament went on to form Temple of the Dog and Pearl Jam. Wood was singer Chris Cornell’s roommate (and his brother Brian Wood was in Hater with Cameron). “The music is emotionally jam packed. The lyrics, the music, the performance, it really captured the mood, and the sentiment really well. it was just a one-off record. that record’s always had more gravitas than other ‘side-projects’ like Hater or Wellwater Conspiracy. It was very specifically themed.”
The members of Temple of the Dog — Cornell, Cameron, Gossard, Ament and Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready — have performed together a few times over the years, including at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall last year.
“That album deals with death, so it’s hard not to have some of those feelings when you’re playing it. But I really dug the Benaroya performance, it felt really great.”
Between the upcoming Temple of the Dog reissue, today’s Hater reissue, and recent reissues from Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, Cameron has been part of a number of re-examinations of classic albums. He doesn’t always love the process. “I do not enjoy the current philosophy, where it’s sort of expected that you release all of your outtakes and rehearsals and demos, I really don’t like that aspect of it at all. But the fans really like it, so I’m always talked into having those things in our Soundgarden re-releases. We’re trying to get Badmotorfinger off right now, we’re trying to figure out what to put on that, and there were a lot really cool outtakes and things like that. I personally, as a songwriter and as a performer, don’t really want people to hear that [laughs]. But I guess as a fan, it’s cool to hear the inner workings of how a record gets made.”
What extras might make it onto the Temple of the Dog reissue?
“I think there’s probably alternate takes, and I think Chris made demos. But his demos are pretty freaking cool. Some of his demos are amazing. I think that would be OK. But I guess it depends on the quality. But as a musician, I like people to hear the finished product. It’s not a deal breaker for me, it’s more of a philosophical difference I guess. The process of creating music is fantastic, as an artist, but there’s got to be some privacy there.”
Looking forward, he’s also working on the next Soundgarden record. “I think we’ve got six solid tunes right now, we’re gonna get together in August for about a week, do more writing, and hopefully got five or six more going at that point. we’re off to a very good start.”
As for Pearl Jam’s next record, “Nothing [has been recorded] as of yet, there’s a bunch of gigs to do, after that I’m not really sure what’s going on.”
This will take you to our audio page where you can stream the songs from our site.
There will also be a download link on that page.
This link will give you the option to download as 1 single FLAC file, 1 single MP3 file, or MP3 files split up by song
Polygram Promo VHS [SP] -> DV/PC -> dED (no dEQ)
This is an upgrade from a pre-air promo master tape
Chris Cornell talks about his latest reinvention, living in Florida
Two things South Florida has in common with Seattle:
1. Rain. Lots and lots and lots of rain.
2. Chris Cornell loves them both.
"If you look at the continental U.S., it's as far away as you could possibly get," the singer-songwriter said from his home in Miami. "It's not something I would have guessed I would have liked, in terms of the heat and the humidity, and it turns out that I really do. After being here for a couple of weeks, I thought, I could really get used to it."
The golden-voiced Soundgarden frontman, who also has homes in New York and Rome, bought a home in Florida about three years ago after spending long stretches writing and recording here, including most of his 2015 album Higher Truth. Fittingly, Florida is where he'll kick off the next leg of his Higher Truth World Tour on June 16 at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
"I'd come down here enough times to where I sort of had a feel for it, but it wasn't until working here that I felt like it was a place I understood a little better, and really started to grow to like a lot," he said. "It might actually lend itself to the creative process a little bit, similarly to Seattle."
In some ways, the move to a more relaxed latitude mirrors Cornell's evolution as a singer, songwriter and human.
Soundgarden rose to fame through the Seattle punk and metal scene in the late '80s before dropping three albums — 1991's Badmotorfinger, 1994's Superunknown and 1996's Down on the Upside — that sold millions of copies and established them as icons of the grunge era, as big as Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
But by the time Down on the Upside was released, "it was a difficult period in my life outside of the band," Cornell said. "I didn't feel when that album came out like I was seeing the end of anything. But I'm not sure for me, personally, that was a period where I was seeing anything as clearly as I would've liked."
When Soundgarden broke up in 1997, Cornell became a free agent. He released a solo album in 1999 and formed the supergroup Audioslave with members of Rage Against the Machine, but could have joined any number of bands eager to utilize his one-of-a-kind wail.
"I started getting those (offers) probably around 1990, and haven't really stopped," he said. "What I do is attractive to guitar players."
Cornell's most recent reinvention came a decade ago, around the time of Audioslave's breakup. He wrote You Know My Name, the theme to the 2006 James Bond flick Casino Royale, and released his second studio album, Carry On, which featured his signature slow-burning cover of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean.
In 2006, while promoting an Audioslave album in Europe, he took his first-ever solo acoustic gig in Stockholm, Sweden.
"It included a couple of solo songs and a couple of Soundgarden songs," he said. "I felt at the time like I could probably get away with it for 45 minutes, and then people would start talking. And after the hour was up, it felt like I could have played for two hours."
A few years later, he decided to test the solo show on the road — just him, his guitar and his magnificent voice. He played Soundgarden songs, Audioslave songs, solo songs, covers ranging from Led Zeppelin's Thank You to Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U. The format was freeing, with Cornell able to take requests and banter with the crowd in ways he never could with his heavier hard-rock projects.
"Rehearsing for that tour is just me sitting in a room with an acoustic guitar, playing all my songs that I can think of," he said. "Anything that comes to mind, I'll just learn on the spot."
Soundgarden reunited in 2010, but Cornell has stuck with his solo career, too. In 2011 he released Songbook, a collection of live recordings from his acoustic tours. Higher Truth feels similarly intimate and stripped down, suiting his new life as alt-rock's top traveling troubadour.
"It's about creativity and writing songs and being inspired by something, and what that feels like," he said of the album.
Sober for years, Cornell doesn't look back on his prior life of addiction as something he survived — even after the high-profile, drug-related deaths of artists like Scott Weiland and Prince.
"What ends up happening with musicians and actors is, they're famous, so when somebody has an issue, it's something that gets talked about," he said. "People die of drug overdoses every day that nobody talks about. It's a shame that famous people get all the focus, because it then gets glorified a little bit, like, 'This person was too sensitive for the world,' and, 'A light twice as bright lives half as long,' and all that. Which is all bulls---. It's not true."
Living in Florida with his family is part of what has made his life feel more stable over the past few years, even if you won't be hearing steel drums and shakers in his music anytime soon.
"The first time I ever went to Hawaii, I was listening to island music, thinking, I could've been born here, and I'm pretty sure I would never play that," he laughed. "For me, it's some sort of osmosis, some other aspect of culture that I key into.
"I wasn't sure how that would work, being creative here, living here, writing here. But I just started doing that, and it seems to be doing great."
SOURCE: Tampa Bay Times
Contact Jay Cridlin at email@example.com or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.
The singer performs at 8 p.m. June 16 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $54.75 and up. (727) 791-7400 or rutheckerdhall.com.
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We're still adding some YouTube videos but the Jazz Fest 2016 page is up on the What's Mine Is Ours page
The page also has our Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers photos from the weekend shows.
In the YouTube video players, you can use the "hamburger menu" (the 3 horizontal lines) to drop down and choose a song to stream.