Reprinted without permission from Metal Hammer, May
Soundgarden are a band born of isolation, riding out of the Seattle wastes on Sub Pop with a seventies round trip entitled UltraMegaOK. Having visited these shores for a brief two dates in London last year, the band have now returned for a short tour that winds up with a couple of Marquee dates, before they hit Europe for a lengthy stint that will probably be followed by another US tour. I chatted to vocalist Chris Cornell and found that it is the metal cities who are really taking the band to their industrial hearts.
"Detroit is always good for us, I don't know why but most Seattle bands seem to do well there. We get the same sort of feel in Chicago, that's always very exciting, but in a more violent way." (laughs) "One night I got all my clothes and jewellry ripped off and there was like this ongoing battle between the audience and security! When you tour for months and months on end, as we are now, it takes something lile that to break up the monotony! I think eventually I'll have a giant Jungle Jim made out of steel on the stage to amuse myself with. I don't really understand how bands like Metallica can tour for two years and still keep focused on playing the same songs!"
Louder Than Love was an aggressive and extremely heavy piece of work. Do you think it surprised a lot of people, debuting like that on a major?
"Yes, it definitely threw a few people in the business, but in 1990 major labels are no longer an alien environment for heavy aggression and extreme sounds, lyrically as well as musically. Lately it seems that they are willing to take a chance with more excessive acts and Soundgarden are hopefully an important part of that."
Kim Thayil's intense guitar work really fuels Soundgarden very much like Jim Martin pumps Faith No More.
"Right, and what's funny is that he gets in a lot of magazines, like Guitar World, Guitar Player and Guitar Player For The Practising Musician, and most of them really go on about Kim's style, I mean it's kind of unusual, especially for a magazine like GPFTPM, as Kim never practised in his life! He just plays by feel, pure and simple."
The band have a new EP about to be released, Hands All Over, that features two tracks off Louder Than Love, a Beatles' cover, an oldie, Heretic, and LAVISH packaging.
"We are very happy with the way that EP has been presented, even though it was kind of surprising being totally the record company's idea! As for the tracks, Hands All Over was coming out as a single in the US anyway and we thought that it was very indicative of the kind of band Soundgarden are. Big Dumb Sex is there because it's both funny and memorable. We chose The Beatles' Come Together because as a band we are BIG Beatles fans, and when it comes down to it they have some very heavy songs! Confrontational stuff that really managed to strike nerves. In the early days Heretic was a firm crowd favourite and is therefore very much part of this band's history. Really, Hands All Over is a clearing of the decks so we can concentrate on getting new stuff together."