Reprinted without permission from Request, October 1994

"Hey, did you all have bratwurst?" Chris Cornell asks, playfully taunting the capacity crowd filling Marcus Amphitheater on an unseasonably cool July evening. The answer, of course, is, yes, we did. After all, this is Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Pabst Blue Ribbon is on tap everywhere and the phrase "a day on the links" has nothing to do with golf. "This is a PBR town," Cornell continues, generating a hail of boos for the local brew. "Come on, don't try to pretend that you're beer connoisseurs or something." Neither beer nor fashion, it turns out. Many of the male audience members are turned out as carbon copies of the Soundgarden vocalist in his pre-haircut days - flannel shirt, combat boots, flowing locks, and insouciant tufts of facial hair - making the first 20 rows look like a casting call for a grunge production of The Three Musketeers. What they have come for, Soundgarden delivers in spades. Without the benefit of a mosh pit, the crowd thrashes as best it can to the opening songs, "Jesus Christ Pose" and "Spoonman," and head bangs to slower, more metallic numbers such as "Mailman" and "Like Suicide." But then, these are the faithful who have led the way for Soundgarden's belated charge toward mainstream acceptance, which the band achieved at last with Superunknown, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's album chart and went platinum a mere two weeks after it was released in March. Following the concert, Soundgarden's backstage antics are kept to an almost ascetic minimum, especially considering it was the band's last show for two weeks and everyone is going home for a well-deserved vacation. Guitarist Kim Thayil warmly greets friends from the Milwaukee area, while drummer Matt Cameron hangs with members of one of the opening acts, Eleven, and bassist Ben Shepherd yuks it up by trying to arm-tackle unsuspecting guests. Cornell, who for the most part has given up drinking, pops the tops on a few celebratory beers as he huddles with his wife, Susan Silver, who manages Soundgarden as well as Alice in Chains, and with singersongwriter Jeff Buckley, who also opened the show. Finally, at 1:30 a.m., Cornell plops down on a couch in a room adjacent to the party and agrees to talk. The singer traditionally disdains the stereotypical role of the swaggering frontman. Yet, either out of dire need, or as if to prove he's still part rock 'n' roll outlaw, he rises during the interview, ignoring the bathroom that's a mere five feet away, and, talking nonstop, urinates in the vicinity of a plastic cup in the corner of the room - twice. Fortunately, as he spoke long into the night about what it's like being alive in the superunknown, Cornell's thoughts flowed just as freely.

The success of Superunknown has brought your music before more people than ever before. Have you always made music that you consider to be for a broad-based audience, or has your success been a happy accident resulting from attempting to please a select few?

The people we started out playing to are probably the people we consider most. It's a very small group; we could fit them in this room. Beyond that, we've never had any specific expectations. Sometimes we're surprised when we do really well, and sometimes we look at the charts and think, well, we're selling a lot of records, but look at these other bands that have more or less ripped us off and are selling even more. We wonder what it is that people aren't hearing in our music when more of them are buying somebody else that's a diluted version of us. But we also know that we're not that obvious a package that you can see us on TV or hear one song and know what we're about. We've always known, realistically, that we're not going to be the kind of band that has CHR hits. We're not going to be Aerosmith, and that's good. I don't want to, when I'm 40, be rehashing stuff I did when I was 19.

But you do have hits on MTV, and there's a price to be paid for that. Has your rapid rise after all those years of perseverance made you feel that you've suddenly lost control over what you do?

Not right now. The singles are still challenging enough and unusual enough that I don't think they betray our values. I don't think that people are going to get the wrong idea or that too many of the wrong people are going to like us. I don't even know whether there are "wrong" people. The only thing that worries me is that sometimes when we're playing a show and there's eight or 10 thousand people, and we look out on the audience and they're responding to songs they've heard on the radio or seen on TV, do they really know there's a difference between us and, say, Candlebox or Stone Temple Pilots or Collective Soul or something else? Because there really is. If they buy the record and listen to it and then listen to this other person's record, do they really know that we're not two bands that are in the same genre doin' the same f---in' thing?

What exactly is that difference? What is it that people should understand is unique regarding Soundgarden?

What would be nice to hear 15 years from now is that Soundgarden influenced a large number of bands that ended up being household names, which is true, almost to the degree of saying we influenced an era of music. We didn't have the kind of commercial acceptance that Nirvana or Pearl Jam would have, but a lot of bands that did were very much influenced by us, and a lot of bands that are just starting to have it now were, too. It's like, OK, let's took at the history of music, and then music from five years ago up till now, and then what it will be five years from now. If we were pulled out of the chain, had never existed, would it be exactly the same? My opinion is that, no, it wouldn't. Pearl Jam and Nirvana didn't even exist when we were starting out and there was this real honest urban alternative-music scene in Seattle. But, also, they didn't exist when we were initially starting to get label attention. I'm not saying we helped create those bands: All I'm saying is that we were there first, and we've been there the longest.

When those other bands broke before you, was there a sense of frustration on your part, or even paranoia?

Not for me, because I understood why it was happening. You can say, well, these other bands have sold more than us because we're not as good. Or you can say that it's because we're better, that we're true artists, and you can't sell a ton of records and be true artists. Those are both extremes, and I don't believe in either of them. I put us right in the middle. We don't make records that you can easily package, that you know exactly what you're buying, what you're connecting yourself to. That's one thing I feel really proud of when I think about Soundgarden. That a 15- or 16-year-old or even a 19- or 20-year-old buying our music is buying into an honest thing. That it came from the heart of this band and it became a part of them, and it was honest. We weren't pandering to them. I can go to sleep at night knowing I wasn't trying to steer them in a direction where they'd give me money and I'd walk away laughing all the way to the bank. We don't do that. Never have, never will.

You're only saying that because you didn't think of using the chords to "More Than a Feeling" in a punk song before Nirvana did.

[smiles] There you go.

Many of your songs, including new ones like "Black Hole 5un" and "Fourth of July," trade in dark, apocalyptic imagery. Does any of that flair for the dramatic come from your having grown Catholic?

Yeah, I'm sure some of it does, but you wouldn't catch it in an entire song. Like "Jesus Christ Pose" people think is an angry religious reference, but it doesn't have a thing to do with that. That song was based entirely on seeing rock stars like Perry Farrell or some top model doing these photo shoots where they were the Christ figure with this stupid-ass crown of thorns and their arms out. It became fashionable to be the sort of persecuted-deity guy. It started to get annoying that peopie were trying to associate themselves with that, because they don't even know what it is, other than a symbol that a whole bunch of weak people deify. Did you attend Catholic school when you were young? Yeah, grades one through seven. I got the whole thing. Me and my sister got kicked out of Catholic school when I was in seventh grade and she was in eighth grade. Actually, our mom pulled us out because we were about to get kicked out for the reason that we were both too inquisitive. That's kind of a testament to our mom, who allowed us enough space to kind of question shit. With a religion like that, it's not designed for anyone to question. Being young people who have a natural curiosity and half a brain, you're going to start finding inconsistencies, which there are tons of in organized religion. We both sort of made it clear in classroom situations that we didn't get it. "Explain this to me." And they couldn't, so we started creating a lot of problems.

I was in a theology class once, and we were discussing the possibility of life on other planets and what its discovery would mean to our world view and our belief in God and Jesus Christ. And the priest said, with a completely straight face, "Well, we have to believe that he died for their sins, too."

Wow. The key phrase there is "we have to believe." That spells it out perfectly.

Have you put your religious training behind you, or is it something you still think about a lot?

No, it isn't. I feel sorry for the people who honestly swallow it. To me they're fish. I don't wanna be a fish.

Getting back to Superunknown, the first single was "Spoonman." The song is superficially about Artis the Spoonman, but the underlying sentiment is that rhythm and music have healing properties.

It's more about the paradox of who he is and what people perceive him as. He's a street musician, but when he's playing on the street, he is given a value and judged completely wrong by someone else. They think he's a street person, or he's doing this because he can't hold down a regular job. They put him a few pegs down on the social ladder because of how they perceive someone who dresses differently. The lyrics express the sentiment that I much more easily identify with someone like Artis than I would watch him play.

"Let Me Drown" and "Fell on Black Days" are relentlessly bleak. Do you consider yourself, at heart, to be a pessimist and a cynic?

Yes. I battle with that all the time. "Let Me Drown" is probably one of the most disturbing songs I've ever written. Usually, if I write lyrics that are bleak or dark, it usually makes me feel better. That one didn't. It made me question whether it was a song that was all right to play. Should we even do this? It was so negative. But that's the only one I can think of that's like that. Otherwise, it's like watching a horror movie: It makes you feel better after feeling worse.

Still, the first few lines of "The Day I Tried to Live" - "I woke the same as any other day/Except a voice was in my head/It said seize the day, pull the trigger" - are pretty disturbing. There's also another song, "Like Suicide." Do you think about suicide a lot?

No. "The Day I Tried to Live" has nothing to do with suicide. It's much more meant to be like everyman's story. In spite of how most people present themselves, they probably struggle to feel comfortable or normal around other people, to feel as if they fit in. Everybody wants to and tries to. That's what that song is about. And "Like Suicide" is just a title. It's not about suicide at all.

Perhaps not, but my point is that when you throw - down a powerful word like suicide these days, people are going to start taking away your belt and shoelaces. Now everyone is saying about Kurt Cobain, "Oh, we should have known; look at all the times he mentioned suicide in his lyrics."

Maybe Kurt meant it; maybe he didn't. We're never going to know. When Andy Wood died, there were tons of lyrics that he wrote that sort of alluded to, well, it's possible that it's going to happen. It's not likely I'm going to kill myself, but those lyrics are still there

Another song I wanted to ask you about is "Limo Wreck." Is that song a reminder to yourself how quickly this all could be over, to not take the ride or granted?

No. The title came from us being on the L.A. freeway about three years ago. I just started looking at the traffic and realizing there was such an array of vehicles, from Mexicans in f---ed-up Chevys with dents and white guys in f---ed-up pickup trucks to guys with orange sun-bed tans in Porches and limos. And you'd always see these f---ed-up cars on the side of the road. The idea of seeing a couple of limos smashed into one another, I'd never seen that before, and I thought these people in expensive cars - especially the limos where the windows are blacked out and someone else is driving - they seem to have a feeling that they're not susceptible to mortality. During our trip down the freeway, I was talking to this guy who drove a limo, and he said that once this guy was in the back and some supposed vagrant came up and started knocking on the window. The guy opened the door like, "F--- you, you can't touch me, I'm in a limo." And a bunch of other vagrants came up and beat the shit out of the guy, almost killed him. The song describes that sort of decadence and this strange perception that you're so high on the social or political ladder that you're somehow beyond all that. But it's not true.

But that is an attitude that has carried over from the rock 'n' roll stars of the '70s, that you're some kind of royalty and should be treated as such.

Yeah, Like that Guns N' Roses video, the one with the dolphins in it [" Estranged"]. A big chunk of the video is Axl [Rose] coming out of this huge mansion on a hill with a bunch of servants wearing white and him getting into this huge stretch and having a motorcade of police wearing white ice-cream-salesman suits. Who the f--- does he think he is going to honestly connect with besides Donald Trump? Who else is going to give a shit about the fact that he can afford that kind of attention? It goes beyond decadence; it's spitting in the face of the people that have put you there. I was offended by it, and I don't get offended by much.

So Chris, what do you drive?

[smiles] I have an array of very expensive limousines and a motorcade of cops that wear ice-cream-salesman suits.

Seriously, how do you keep that from happening to you?

We were never looking for a different lifestyle. We weren't doing it for fast cars and big houses and a and there doesn't seem to be any regulation in terms lot of model chicks following us around like idiots. It's not like we have to reach back and try to hang on to our roots. We never left them. Our lifestyles haven't changed. Maybe we're making mortgage payments now instead of rent payments, and we own the car we're driving instead of making payments on it, or maybe we're driving a new car instead of a $500 15 year old car. But we're still driving to the same places, we still live in the same neighborhood, we still have the same friends.

Do your songs offer an accurate portrait of who you are? Can anyone expect to know you through them?

I don't imagine that anybody can know anybody through their music or art. And specifically not me. I don't make any kind of effort to make that connection like, "Here I am, this is me." That seems so limiting. For me it can be anywhere from "This is me" to complete fiction or fantasy.

But you were talking about how people buy into a band and make that band's music a part of their identity. Some of them begin to feel that they have a connection with a band or person that doesn't actually exist.

Yeah, especially this postmortem trip when people die and then everybody writes about what they felt that person is going through. It's really surprising to me that anyone can think that they have those kinds of insights or spend that much time really worrying about somebody else. I think they should spend more time trying to figure out who they are. That's my whole trip. I can't imagine anybody knowing me through my lyrics, because I don't particularly feel like I know myself. And I have more than the benefit of just lyrics to go on.

Soundgarden has appeared on several cause-oriented albums recently, including Alternative NRG, Born to Choose, and No Alternative. You also have an NARAL booth in the lobby at the show. Has that kind of activism become a necessary element of rock 'n' roll citizenship these days?

For us, it comes down to the fact that, on a daily basis, we get asked to do a dozen of those types of causes. Because we get asked so much, occasionally we'll say yes. But whether you have to be involved with those sorts of things to be successful, I don't see that at all. If that were the case, Stone Temple Pilots would be doing much more politically correct things in their videos and on tour.

One issue I know you're interested in is free speech. You played "Cop Killer" on Lollapalooza II, while the controversy over that song was still raging. Eventually, it blew over, but now the forces for censorship are possibly stronger than ever.

For instance, there's the erotic-music bill they keep trying to pass in the state of Washington. It's been defeated twice, but it's spawned legislation in a bunch of other states that are sort of copying the same bill I don't think any of them have passed, but what they're going to keep doing is rewording it until it does because the people that are pushing for it are so dedicated to it. Hopefully, they'll reword it to the point where it won't actually be effective or it'll end up paralleling laws that already exist, so it'll just be a waste of time. But the way it was worded most recently has a 12 person jury decide on a case-by-case basis what would or wouldn't be suitable for minors, from music to art to literature, which is absurd. It didn't pass, but who knows? Maybe it will in some other state.

Is that problem compounded for you as a touring musician? You might find yourself playing in an area that suffers from some sort of cultural constipation, and all of a sudden they're out to get you for something that you or I think is pretty innocuous.

Yeah. There's definitely certain states you wouldn't want to get caught getting a blow job in.

And those would be?

I don't know. I don't worry about that any more, thanks.

One of the persistent digs against Soundgarden is that you reheat the hard rock of the '70s: Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Rush, etc. Are you guilty as charged?

You don't have to look back too much further than the '70s to figure out what Led Zeppelin was reheating. They made it pretty obvious to the point of lawsuits against them. When you listen to music, you're always going to look back to the previous generation and find some element that's comparable. To be able to go out and reinvent rock is going to happen only very occasionally. Every once in a while somebody shows up, and they might do something in a way you've never heard before, but seldom is it something deliberate. The focus for me, and I think the focus for most fans should be, is: Is what you're doing inspired? Does it draw you in? If it does, I think it's valid.

A lot of those bands from the '70s still walk the earth. Is that a good thing for music?

It can be. It's inspiring to me to see somebody like Neil Young or Johnny Cash doing what they're doing right now. They're of two different generations, but there are stages to their careers and they've both persevered in a way that is totally valid and inspired. Being a musician, it gives me the feeling that, you know, I don't have to be David Lee Roth. I can be somebody who makes music that is real for as long as I can breathe.

What do you make of Pearl Jam's war with Ticketmaster over the price of concert tickets?

As far as what people are expected to pay for a ticket, they should know what they're paying for. And it should be fair. I don't think anybody should literally be making fortunes off of touring artists and charging the fans, basically, 'cause that's what happens. The bands don't really pay for it; the fans do. Bands state their price and Ticketmaster throws a charge on top of it. It becomes difficult when, as in the Pearl Jam case, you want to keep a low ticket price, but you also don't want to go out and lose a ton of money. Ticketmaster is making tons of money, and there doesn't seem to be any regulation in terms of what they charge or where and how they charge it. And there's also a lot of bullshit between Ticketmaster and different promoters where oftentimes the promoter uses Ticketmaster to pad their situation, so they get kickbacks on some of that service charge. It's really difficult to find out where the money is and who it goes to.

Fans have no perspective on this at all. All they know is they're paying S35 for a ticket that used to cost $15.

And honestly, from a band's point of view, it's sometimes very difficult to keep on top of that as well. We've been touring for a long time, and I've talked to our tour managers on a lot of occasions where they were really upset and feeling very suspicious of what's going on with service charges. Like, how much is it really? 'Cause it isn't what they said it was going to be three months before we got there, it's $1.50 more and nobody said anything about it. It's that kind of shit. You can't go out there yourself and police the ticket booths and make sure it's the right price and that it's broken down the way it should be. I'm also really curious about things like this: If Barbra Streisand sells a ticket for $350, how much is that service charge?

Not three or four bucks, I'm guessing. But from a fan's point of view, $350 is ridiculous. Sure, she hasn't toured in 20 years, and it's a big deal, but you also have the Eagles out there at $100 a ticket, Elton John and Billy Joel at $80 a ticket. That sort of naked greed is very unappealing, even if some fans ultimately decide to pay it.

It's the same argument you have about sports, where it was something that was being demanded of him by players, I suppose. Maybe that's all they can do, and if there's a market for it, they have to take advantage of it because maybe it won't be there next year. When you're a musician, you pretty much put all your eggs in one basket. You have to. And if at some point in your career you haven't made millions of dollars or haven't been smart enough to keep it, your options are pretty much limited.

You did the track Seasons on the Singles soundtrack without the band, and you have a solo version of Like Suicide on the SFW soundtrack. Is it important for you to be able to step outside Soundgarden occasionally and do those things?

Not really. Those things just kind of happen. In the case of Seasons the song already existed. I had just done it for the fun, and somebody asked if they could use it. Like Suicide was basically the same situation. So it isn't something that I solicit.

Can you see yourself as a solo act further down the road?

At some point, it's likely that I'll put out some sort of solo thing. Just because, for every record we make, I write enough songs for two records. I write in big chunks. So there's a bunch of material that'll probably be worth hearing, but won't ever be done on a Soundgarden album.

You had a small role in Singles. Is acting something you would like to do more of?

Not really. I don't even have enough time to pursue everything I want to do musically. Also, there's a lot of people out there who spend a lot of time trying to act, so I think most of the good acting jobs should be reserved for those people.

Similarly, they shouldn't be making records.

Probably not. Those guys who do those really bad 90210 shows that put out records. And then there's that David Hasselhof guy.

Were you disappointed with the way Singles turned out? It seems to me that there's still a great film to be made about the Seattle music scene.

Yeah, but it should be understood that Singles was never an attempt to make a movie about the Seattle music scene. It was just a movie that was set in Seattle. In fact, it was written before the Seattle music scene had done anything internationally. By the time it went through the big corporate movie making bullshit, all these bands had broken and everybody expected to see this sort of strange documentary on the Seattle music explosion and were really disappointed.

Do people have a misconception about what it was like back then? Are the levels of camaraderie and competition that existed between bands kept in the proper perspective?

There's always a sense of camaraderie between bands. The only thing that I ever remember that starts to go outside of the normal healthy competition was when Kurt was slamming Pearl Jam. Once you get outside of your local little scene, lot of cases, writers will bait you and lead you down that path as cunningly as they can. I've seen it happen dozens of times. I've had people say, "Well, so-and-so said this about you, what do you say about that?" And they might be misquoting them, or maybe that's not what that person meant, or maybe that person was just in a bad mood. It's provoked out of you. They'll get you in a position where you start firing and they'll throw out little things about different people. But everyone that anyone would know as a successful Seattle band, or even an integral part of the scene, are all friends. Always have been.

Of course, one unfortunate aspect of the Seattle scene of the last few years has been the pervasiveness of drugs.

[sarcastically] Oh, really?

From Andrew Wood and Stefanie Sargent to Kurt Cobain to Kristen Pfaff, heroin has claimed a lot of lives in Seattle. And it's not just people involved with music. Do you have any insight as to why heroin has become such a popular drug again?

No. Ask the DEA. They get paid to know. It could be simply a matter of supply and demand. If it had been thrown around to me when I was 14 or 15 years old, if it was in my face, I probably would have done it. So it could just be a matter of availability. There seems to be a ton of it there, and everywhere else, too. It's easy to get, so people will get it. That makes more sense to me than some theory trying to make it some cultural trip that's changing. But it's been happening in Rock'n'roll even before there was anything that was understood to be a drug culture. Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis weren't exactly shining role models in terms of drugs for their generation. It kind of makes sense in terms of all the people that died in the 60's and 70's because there was this time when people were honestly experimenting with drugs to try and see if maybe it was a good idea. For the most part, they found out that it's not. But at least there was a moment when they were making sure themselves, not taking anyone else's word for it. But now, with all the information people have about drugs and the effects they have on your life and what they do to you psychologically and physically, there isn't much excuse for somebody to be screwing around with them. You can't be naive about them anymore. You'd have to be almost a complete idiot, unless you're suicidal. If that's the case at least it makes more sense to me.

And now we're back to suicide. Some months have passed now since Kurt killed himself. Judging from his suicide note it seems as if he thought there was something that was being demanded of him by the music industry or fans or someone, that he either couldn't or didn't want to deliver.

I wouldn't even bother trying to guess. I'm not going to understand it no matter how hard I try. I understand being suicidal, but not for the reasons that I ever would be, and it would likely have nothing to do with anybody else. Therefore, it just becomes a waste of time. I don't really think its going to help anything for people to sit around and theorize how this guy who really didn't talk much to anybody felt or why he did what he did. Maybe it had nothing to do with anything. Maybe it was just a smoke screen. Somebody who is going to be taking a lot of drugs and is going to be suicidal, you can bet there's going to be lots of smoke screens. Or maybe that's entirely what it was. We'll never know.

Let's move on to a happier subject. How long have you known Susan?

Eight years I guess. Nine years.

Was she your manager before she was your girlfriend?

No, she didn't really do anything with the band before she was my girlfriend. She was my girlfriend for maybe a year before she ended up being our manager.

You're both in the music business. Is it difficult trying to have a normal life together?

Yeah, it is. It doesn't matter that much that she manages my band. Even if she didn't and she was still a manager of music, it would still be difficult, because I spend a lot of time at home basically trying not to be involved with that side of it too much, and it's her whole life most of the time.

Is it possible to have a normal conversation without the music business creeping into it?

Not much, no. But that's fair. What would we talk about? My whole life is music from an artist's point of view, and her whole life is music from a management/business point of view. What would we say? Like, wow, that's a pretty flower outside? It's not all we talk about, but primarily, music is going to be in there somehow. Overall, I don't really talk that much anyway. The only time it really bugs me is if all of a sudden we're gossiping about different people in the music industry, because to me, that's just totally annoying.

A lot of people who try to have a normal life under your circumstances fold under the pressure. Marriage seems to run counter to the typical rock 'n 'roll lifestyle.

Well, we haven't had what I would understand as the sort of sudden pressure that seems to screw a lot of people up. We've been under pressure for years. Most of the bands I can think of that have had severe problems with success pretty much had their first or second album go over the top, commercial success like we haven't even seen. And for me personally, and to a degree the rest of the band, none of us are really super social in particular. So we're not in situations on a daily basis where being somebody that's famous is going to become really annoying, or you can't go anywhere because everyone recognizes you. I don't go out too much anyway, 'cause I've never really liked crowds or been that comfortable around a lot of people. In that case, I've been really lucky.

People magazine question: Who proposed?

Neither of us. We just made an appointment. I think we just talked about it for a long time, and it was just a matter of looking at a calendar and figuring out when we had enough time.

Do you want to have kids some day?

Not yours, if you're trying to get rid of him [laughs]. I don't know.

How big a family do you come from?

Pretty big. Six kids, two parents.

You dropped out of school at age 15. Was it because you needed to get a job after your parents split, or were you just not interested in academics?

I couldn't do it. I'd go there, and it just made me sick to think about sitting down and applying myself to the shit they were trying to teach me. Not that it's not useful In a lot of ways, I regret it now, especially in terms of being a writer. I wish I had more skills and knowledge of the language. I have a fairly good vocabulary for how far I went in school, but I always wish it could be better. In a lot of ways, it screwed me up, but I just did not have the attention span for school. My mind would wander, and it would refuse to focus on something that, to me, was devoid of anything exciting or inspiring. A lot of kids really were excited by what they were learning, but I seemed to be a lot better at staring out the window and dreaming.

Was there a single galvanizing moment when you decided that music was what you wanted to do?

Not until I was older. I always had a knack for it. I bought a drum kit for like 50 bucks, and within three weeks I was in a band. Not only was I in a band, but people were saying that I was really good. Being someone with a short attention span who didn't have much patience for anything, that was great, 'cause it didn't take much. I could just sit down and do it instantly. I could play a basic rock beat right away, so it didn't require much patience, and that's probably why I ended up doing it. As I got some of the rewards for it, it fueled me to want to be better. Then the rewards thing gets old, and what you really want is to be good and understand it, 'cause you're so enthused by it. That's what got me into all the other instruments and songwriting and singing.

One last question. You used to be a seafood cook. What's the best way to cook a salmon steak?

Just cook it. Don't do anything. Don't cook it too much. You can put it in the oven, you can put it in a pan, you can put it on a big chunk of flaming wood. Nothing could be easier.