Reprinted without permission from the Toronto Sun,
May 10, 1996
SOUNDGARDEN'S NEW VIDEO CAUSES CONTROVERSY
TORONTO -- In the original video for Soundgarden's new single Pretty Noose, a dead woman lies sprawled out under the sheets before the camera closes in on the killer, singer Chris Cornell. It's not one fans will see in the U.S. or Canada.
"A&M was serviced with a revised version," says Shawn Marino, a publicist for Soundgarden's record label. "That's the one MuchMusic was given."
Writing on the Internet, poster artist Frank Kozik, who directed the video, said the original was "censored" because the ending was "too heavy" for the "dips..ts at MTV," the U.S. video channel. "They got a dead girl in that lame Stabbing Westward video so I don't understand their problem," he writes.
Pretty Noose is the first single off the band's new album, Down on the Upside, the Seattle band's first since 1994's mega-successful, double-Grammy winner Superunknown. A limited-edition vinyl version of Down on the Upside is due in stores Wednesday. The CD will be available May 21.
After listening to the song "a million times," Kozik portrayed the "pretty noose" as "your average bad-girlfriend experience," which is how he interpreted Cornell's song. Cornell, who wrote the lyrics which include the line "Eat the fruit, and kiss the snake goodnight," agrees the interpretation is apt.
"(Pretty Noose is) an attractively packaged bad idea, something that seems great at first and then comes back to bite you," Cornell said recently on the line from Seattle.
Guitarist Kim Thayil, bassist Ben Shepherd and drummer Matt Cameron are his bandmates.
Soundgarden is expected to perform Pretty Noose when they appear on Saturday Night Live next week. The main reason Cornell and the TV-shy band agreed to perform was because Canadian comedian Jim Carrey is hosting, and the band members are big fans.
Not long after their SNL appearance, Soundgarden hits the road to play the mainstage on the Lollapalooza tour, which stops in Toronto July 4, Quebec City on July 7 and Vancouver on Aug. 9.
Cornell, who couldn't be described as an effusive interview subject, has heard the negative buzz about the annual festival losing its alternative edge by signing Metallica as headliner. But he's having none of it.
"Who played on it last year?" he challenges, not waiting for an answer. "Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day -- they sell more than we do. Green Day outsold Metallica."
That's true in Canada. Green Day's 1994 release Dookie has gone diamond, selling one million units. Metallica's last album, 1991's self-titled disc, is just now closing in on that benchmark.
On Soundgarden's part, Down on the Upside, their fifth album, is less mainstream-sounding than SuperUnknown, which sold five million copies worldwide.
Recorded in Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard's studio, the CD is grittier, nosier and lyrically darker.
"That's fair," Cornell says of the assessment. "But that can be misconstrued. It's not that we went and did a bunch of punk songs to put out this super-edgy record."
The finished product is self-produced, which may explain the less-than-pristine sound, he says. "Producers are the first guys who want to clean those things up, bits of feedback or parts a little bit out of tune."