1 on 1 with Corbin Reiff, Author of TOTAL F@&KING GODHEAD: The Biography of Chris Cornell (2020)

As you may already know, Corbin Reiff is the music journalist who is taking on the enormous task of writing the upcoming new biography of our dearly departed Chris Cornell, due out sometime in 2020. Someone capable of taking on a project this immense must be a pretty remarkable person considering how intense and incredibly vast Chris’s career was and how rich his legacy is proving to be.

So, naturally, we wanted to get to know a little more about the man who is tirelessly conducting interviews with people who have worked with Chris, along with giving us exciting Twitter updates about his writing process. Corbin has written for publications like Rolling Stone, Billboard, Uproxx, Complex, Noisey, The A.V. Club, Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, and Guitar World Magazine. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, he’s also the author of a book called LIGHTERS IN THE SKY: The All-Time Greatest Concerts, 1960-2016, which is out now.

lightersinthesky.com

lightersinthesky.com

We were lucky enough to meet Corbin at the ‘I am the Highway Tribute’ in LA and chat briefly, but we still want to know more about his thoughts and ideas in regards to Soundgarden and Chris’s other bands and musical projects. He was gracious enough to give us a little bit of insight into his life and the future of this TOTAL F@&KING GODHEAD biography.

 

What were you doing before you became a music journalist?

I was in the U.S. Army for about five years before I started really writing. I joined out of high school and deployed to Iraq in 2009. When I came home, I enrolled at the Evergreen State College and then began blogging, mostly as a hobby.

How did you get into writing?

I’d been writing casually for about a year when a guitar magazine hit me up and asked if I’d like to write a 3,000 word piece about this obscure, English session guitarist named Big Jim Sullivan. I was supposed to interview him for my own blog, but he died literally the day before we could talk, so I posted an obituary instead. They noticed it, and the rest, as they say, is history.

What your favorite music memory from childhood?

That’s a tough one. I think I’ll fast-forward a few years to seeing my first concert at 14, at ARCO Arena in Sacramento. Nine Inch Nails was headlining, with Queen Of The Stone Age and Autolux in support. The intensity and the volume are what I remember most fondly. I guess I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since.

Do you remember the first Soundgarden song you ever heard?

It had to be “Black Hole Sun.” Even as a young, young kid, that song was everywhere when it came out.

What are some of your favorite Soundgarden/TotD/Audioslave/CC solo songs?

Do you have an hour? Haha. “4th Of July” from ‘Superunknown’ is probably my favorite Soundgarden song. “Reach Down” is my favorite Temple Of The Dog track. I’d have to go with “Shadow On The Sun” for Audioslave.” And then Chris’s solo work, excepting “Seasons,” which is incredible, I think I’d pick “Can’t Change Me” from ‘Euphoria Mourning.’

Do you have a personal story or connection to Chris or any of the bands you’d be willing to share?

Chris Cornell has always seemed like an omnipresent musical force in my life. I was in High School around the time the first Audioslave album dropped and it was inescapable. Then you realize, ‘Oh, that’s the guy from Soundgarden??’ and get to really dig into that collection of music. A few years later I moved up to the Seattle area, and you could feel the mark he left on that place, even if he wasn’t living there at the time. Seeing Soundgarden at the Paramount in 2013. Seeing him solo and as part of the Mad Season celebration at Benaroya Hall where Temple Of The Dog reunited. Bumping into him in LA for the onstage chat with Jimmy Page he did at the Ace Hotel. His music meant a lot to me. 

What did you think of the I Am the Highway Event? Who was your favorite?

I thought it was spectacular! My first book, ‘Lighters In The Sky’ is a year-by-year profile of the greatest concerts of all-time, and if my publisher asked me to cook together a chapter about 2019, I mean, it’s only January, but I can’t imagine another show surpassing the quality and emotion of that one. Favorite singer was probably Miley Cyrus doing “Say Hello 2 Heaven” or Dave Grohl shredding his vocal cords on “Show Me How To Live.” The most powerful moment however, was at the very beginning, just seeing the three Soundgarden guys together again and the outpouring of love from the crowd for them. I still think about Matt Cameron’s speech.

What has been your favorite part of putting the Total F@#king Godhead biography together? What has been the most challenging?

Hearing people’s stories about Chris. It’s incredible how many lives he touched and humbling as a biographer to learn how much he meant to people. That’s also the challenge. I just want to make sure that I tell his story as accurately and empathetically as I possibly can.

Without prying for spoilers, what are some of the most exciting parts of the book that we have to look forward to regarding interviews and new information?

I think the area I’ve focused on the most thus far is Chris’s development as an artist. In terms of new information and insight, I think, or at least I hope, that people will come away with a better understanding of how he created and recorded everything from Soundgarden’s first contributions to the DEEP SIX compilation in 1986 to his last solo album HIGHER TRUTH and beyond. Why he did what he did. Why he wrote what he wrote, etc. Chris once said that, “My albums are the diaries to my life.” Any understanding of who he was has to begin there.


I think it’s safe to say that Chris’s biography is in good hands. Soundgarden fans have this innate over-protectiveness over the band and its members, especially now that Chris is no longer with us. It’s comforting to know that Corbin is not only a fan but someone who is genuinely interested in Chris’s music process and the man that was behind all of the songs and albums that have defined the soundtrack to our lives for over three generations.

Big thank you to Corbin for giving us some insight! To stay current with his updates, give Corbin a follow on Twitter or Instagram.



Article: Matt Cameron Premieres "Time Can Wait" Lyric Video [Billboard]

Source: Billboard
Author: Gary Graff
Photo: Danny Clinch

Soundgarden and Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron released his first-ever solo album, Cavedweller, last week, and today the lyric video for the opening track "Time Can't Wait" is premiering exclusively below.

"I was certainly on the fence (about releasing the album) when I came home from the Soundgarden tour, but it feels good to take one step forward here," Cameron tells Billboard. "This has been a positive step for me, for sure."

Cameron began working on Cavedweller early in 2016, at his own studio and the Bait Shop in Seattle and Bunker Studio in Brooklyn. The diverse but definitely rocking nine-song set takes Cameron off the drum stool and puts him behind the microphone, and on guitar, bass and keyboards as well. He gets help from Alain Johannes (Eleven, Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures) on two tracks, as well as Tim Lefebvre (Tedeschi Trucks Band) on bass and David Bowie's Blackstar drummer Mark Guiliana.

"For me it's just the basic joy of songwriting, and my whole mission draws out of that," Cameron explains. "It's something I've done over the years for sure, when I have time between gigs. I was just trying to zero in on each particular track, and I tried to bring each musical and vocal part out as much as I could. That was basically the goal, and that's what's so fun about doing my own record was completely making all the decisions myself. Working in these enormous bands I've always had to play my role -- and lovingly so. I love my role in all my bands. It's nourishment for me.  

"One of the millions of takeaways from being in those bands is just full creativity, 100 percent of the time. So that was one of the goals for me even wanting to do a record was to make sure that if I was going to release a full musical statement like this, it was going to be 100 percent me."

"Time Can't Wait" -- whose lyric video was directed by longtime Soundgarden designer Josh Graham -- was among the first songs Cameron created for Cavedweller, "just a nice little garage stomp that has some nice little rhythmic twists" courtesy of Guiliana. And Cameron did not find it strange to have another drummer playing on his own material. "I know on paper it seems a little weird, but it wasn't as strange as it seems," notes Cameron, who's been playing guitar since he was a teenager and bass and keyboards since he moved to Seattle from his native San Diego during 1983. "Working with Mark was seamless and easy, and he knew exactly what I was going for. I kinda knew Mark would completely understand what I wanted so, no, it wasn't hard at all."

And though it was recorded before Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell's death in May following a concert in Detroit, Cavedweller's lyrical approach proved a bit prescient. "I don't think there's any sort of direct story other than...what I've been going through recently, just feeling a lot of love and a lot of loss," he says. "I think those are my central themes throughout the album." And rest assured that the shock and grief over Cornell still weighs heavy on Cameron and his Soundgarden bandmates.

"I don't think we're ready to say anything other than...Kim [Thayil] and Ben [Shepherd] and I are certainly aware of how much our fans are hurting, and we're certainly hurting right there along with them," Cameron says. "But we're extremely private people, and we're all still processing our grief in our own way and on our own time. But we definitely are thinking of our fans and love them very much."

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