SOUNDGARDEN RADIO INTERVIEW, 14 MAY 1996
transcribed by Justin Nicholls
Aired on Australian ABC Radio...
American disc jockey: I've had the pleasure of listening to an advance copy of the album, and it sounds very majestic to me.
Chris Cornell: Where'd you get it, where'd you get it?
DJ: The underground.
CC: How'd you do that, get the advance copy?
DJ: Uhh, was really nice to the record company people.
Everyone: Ohhhhhh. <laughing>
DJ: Incredibly nice. Probably nicer than I have ever been.
CC: Wow...anyway...majestic...ok, thankyou.
DJ: The vocals are particularly powerful. Did you set out to make it so strong vocally?
CC: You know, I was thinkin' strong. I dunno...
Kim Thayil: I told Chris not like the other albums <laughing>.
Matt Cameron: Get it right this time, Cornell. C'mon! <laughing>.
CC: This record was self-produced, so these guys were sittin' there going: no, you're playing it fuckin' wrong.
MC: Cut! We gonged him. Take forty-five.
CC: No, I don't know, I just sang the songs really. I mean...
KT: You can't say fuck on the air.
CC: You're right, I'm sorry.
MC: You can, it's Australia...right on! Fuckin' A!
CC: Yeah, right on, J fuckin' J motherfuckin' J <laughing>.
KT: That's for jumping jerkin' Jehosaphat?
CC: You know what it is, and I'll tell you...producers get really spooked when you do things, like with vocals, that aren't normal, and I don't know, everyone always told me as producers "Y'know, sing your ass off, and then sing it really well", and for some reason, it just seems to work better if I do it myself.
Australian disc jockey (Costa Zulio): Ok, and next up we have Cheryl.
Cheryl: Oh, hi guys.
CC: Hi Cheryl.
Cheryl: Do you think there will be...
KT: Wait a second, you're feeding back.
Cheryl: Do you think there will be, or is there already, what you would deem to be the definitive Soundgarden album?
CC: I think if we had made the definitive Soundgarden album we'd be all done. I don't know what...
Ben Shepherd: Every time it's called Soundgarden, whatever record it is when it comes out.
CC: I don't know what the definitive Soundgarden album would be.
KT: I think it's a Butthole Surfers record.
CC: Have you listened to a lot of Soundgarden records?
Cheryl: Uh, yeah, I have.
CC: Do you think there is one?
Cheryl: Well, I have what I would deem or what I would call my favourite, perhaps. But that doesn't mean that that wouldn't change in the future, that something would take the place of that.
CC: Which record is that?
Cheryl: Well, Badmotorfinger definitely.
KT: Well, we're not very proud of that one...<laughing>.
BS: That was our left hand record.
Cheryl: Hey, I'm left-handed, leave us alone.
BS: Oh good, come pitch in the minors.
KT: No, we think it's a great record.
CC: I mean every record we've done, we did for a reason, there was something about the record we liked and something about the songs that we liked. When we put out Superunknown we got a lot of press saying "Well Soundgarden's grown up, Soundgarden is making better records", and I think partly it had to do with it had a hit single and nothing to do with the record. We'd go back and listen to Badmotorfinger and think that's a *great* record, what are you talking about? It's not inferior to other records, it's not inferior to Superunknown...
KT: It's more grown up, which means we say please and thank you now.
BS: We recorded Badmotorfinger because we invented a sport during that time, and we were playing it at all...what was the name of that sport?
Cheryl: Do you want to inform us on that?
KT: Nerf football.
CC: It was called soak-em-duece, we had a Nerf football and one frizbee, and we threw them at each other...we're not kidding, we invented a sport on that record. <laughing>
KT: We had rules and everything.
CC: The point is that we really liked that record and every record that we've made we've really had fun doing, and we did it because we wanted to and we're proud of those records. I think the idea of the definitive record kind of has something more to do with people who write about records, than it does with bands making records, because the idea isn't that you perfect some ideal and then that becomes the benchmark of what you do. The idea is that every time you make a record you make music that you like, and its making music from a fan's standpoint. That's sort of the beginning and the end, y'know, that's it. Every time we make a record we'll make music that we like, and it won't be the same as the last record and there'll be different things that we like about it more and there might be things that we like about it less.
MC: I think the party's over.
CC: It's the last call Cheryl, here in Seattle.
BS: Thanks for listening Cheryl.
CZ: Next up we've got Jodie, having a chat to the guys over in L.A.
Jodie: Yeah, g'day guys.
Jodie: I'm interested to know, obviously you guys have attained a fairly huge level of success in your music and so forth up until now...wondering about your mind set as you came through that process, whether there were times when you wondered whether maybe you were going to make it as big as you have and if it was a plan you always had?
KT: No, it was never a goal, not that much of an issue. We never set ourselves up to be disappointed because we never had that as a goal, that huge success. We tried everything...taking Satan out on dates...
Jodie: And you would have remained focused on your music, and stayed dedicated in that no matter what happened?
CC: Well, I think that's it. We just play music that we like, play songs and release records...and whatever people think of it...I mean, it's not like we want people to hate us or anything. But we don't really care, once we know we like the record as individuals and as a band, we are sort of done with it at that point, and then we're thinking about the future.
BS: And then you guys get to have fun kicking us around for awhile.
CC: Yeah, give us a little bit of shit.
KT: Those Soundgarden guys, always chasing rainbows <laughing>.
CC: Give us a little shit, like, criticise us a bit, what's wrong with us.
KT: How do you guys feel about really sucking on your last record? <laughing>.
CC: Not you Kim.
MC: C'mon Jodie, give us the skin.
BS: What's the dirt?
Jodie: Uhh, getting the haircuts from all the girls here, they don't like the short hair.
CC: The girls don't like short hair.
MC: Ohhh, Jodie, you've gone to far...<laughing> you've crossed that line buddy.
CC: Do you have long hair Jodie?
Jodie: No no, it's not a personal preference.
CC: Do you have long hair though?
Jodie: Long hair? Yeah, it's on the way.
CC: On the way <laughing> Ah, I see, you're trying to work the girls.
Jodie: Picked me in one <laughing>. Something else completely different against the music side, has your success allowed you to pursue other interests?
KT: Pershaw? Yeah, we pershaw a lot of interests.
CC: I don't think anybody, I don't think anyone in this band has used success for something they couldn't have otherwise done. Anything that anyone in the band is interested in they would have already done it anyway. Y'know, I can't really think of any examples of the band changing what they do because they're successful and now they're taking advantage of it. I can't really think of anything like that.
MC: Well, I purchased a leper colony...and then had to buy my own island.
CC: But y'know, Matt always had an interest in lepers, and I never really understood it myself.
MC: He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not <laughing>.
Jodie: I gonna hand it over to someone else here.
BS: See ya.
CZ: Next up we've got Lyana, and you're on the Three Hours of Power with Soundgarden.
Lyana: Hi, how are you?
CC: We're great.
KT: We're really good.
Lyana: Do you still get to go out and see many local bands...when you're at home or when you're on tour?
BS: They're all normal.
BS: They're not loco.
Lyana: No, local...do you still enjoy going out and seeing bands?
CC: Do we enjoy going out and seeing bands?
BS: Los Lobos played the other night...yes, we see local bands.
Lyana: Anybody you have enjoyed lately?
KT: Uhh, Steppenwolf.
BS: Iggy's looking pretty old.
CC: Old, but still really good.
Brett: Yeah, on that Chris, is that something where you woke up one day and went "Hell, I'll give it a go" or has there been some sort of training?
KT: I think he takes a shower <laughing>.
MC: We wish <laughing>.
CC: I don't know. To be honest I think it had to with, like, being a drummer in a lot of really shitty bands. I played drums in a lot of lousy bands...
KT: Like Soundgarden.
CC: ...No, well yeah. I sang in that band, I actually played drums in Soundgarden and sang and we thought we need either a singer or a drummer because...
KT: We looked hard up and down for a singer.
CC: ...me doing both, but y'know no really great singer walked into the room and said "I'm a great singer" and then sang, so I just kinda ended up doing it by default almost.
CZ: Next up we've got Louise...I feel like a gameshow host.
Louise: I just wanted to know if you have any plans on any other side projects, like Temple of the Dog or Hater?
MC: Nothing is in the works right now, but if it is Louise, we'll let you know.
CC: You never know, if somebody wants to do something and they get the feeling, then they just do it and that's just the way it works. Anything anyone wants to do is alright.
Louise: Great, thanks then.
CZ: You're on the Three Hours of Power, and you're listening to Soundgarden, and we're even talking to Soundgarden. Let's take another track from their brand new record that's out on Monday - Down On The Upside.
KT: Three Hours o' Power!
CZ: Here we have Robbie, with a bit of an ask of Soundgarden.
Robbie: How you goin' guys?
MC: Bit of an ask.
KT: Do you have a bit of an arse for Soundgarden?
Robbie: Special hi to Matt. Matt, how's it going?
MC: Hey, Robbie, Robbie!
Robbie: Guys, you've been all over the world, what's one of your favourite countries to play in and where do you have the most fun? Where do you think your music is most appreciated?
MC: Oh my goodness...I guess wherever our audience is, and our audience is growing, and we like to play for the peoples. Last time we played Australia was a lot of fun, lot of people came out, and I got stung by bluebottles, so there...far as favourite place to play, guys?
CC: I dunno, we'd try and play Australia a lot, even though it's really far away, but it's great. Yeah, we loved Australia.
CZ: When are you going to come back guys?
BS: Pay us.
CC: I don't know...
BS: Swim us there, you strong...<laughing>.
CZ: You've frightened Robbie off.
CC: Robbie, things are going bad here. Robbie, help me.
CZ: What's actually going on in the background there? How many people have you got there?
MC: You do not want to know...we are having a listening orgy.
CZ: And what time is it?
CC: It's evening here, later evening.
MC: It's past dinner-time.
CZ: Erin is our next cab off the rank, and she's going to ask you a question when she sits down in front of the microphone.
CC: Hi Erin.
MC: Hey Erin.
Erin: Chris and Ben, on the song Ty Cobb, the mandolin. Have you guys been playing it for awhile or is just something you've decided to pick up?
BS: About ten minutes. Seriously, about ten minutes.
CC: Well, Ben actually had the idea that he wanted to hear mandolin on that song, and so we called some people and they brought like, these older mandolins down for us to try, 'cause they thought they were really great, and then we picked them up and just played 'em, and that was about it, the first time we ever played them. But y'know, strings, guitars, bass, mandolins...
CC: It's all strings.
BS: Don't ever try to tune one of those things, though.
CC: Yeah, they're hard to tune.
Erin: I'll remember that, thanks.
CC: You're welcome.
Erin: We've also heard a rumor down here that you're possibly touring with Metallica next year. Is that anywhere near true?
CC: You mean in Australia?
Erin: Yep, down here.
KT: That's nothing...why don't I ever hear these things?
MC: Yeah, we're the last to know.
CZ: We've got our lucky last listener now, or fan with a Soundgarden t-shirt on, this is Deborah.
Deborah: Hi there.
CC: How are you?
Deborah: Very well. I just wanted to ask you, you produced this album yourselves. What made you decide to do that instead of going with someone else? No-one would do it or..?
CC: No-one else should do it, if anyone did agree to do it then we wouldn't trust 'em instantly. I don't know, we're just really good at it ourselves I think is the thing. I dunno, I think we're all going to become producers now, we're really full of ourselves after this whole record project. No, I think there is this perception that you need a producer, and young bands think "Well, we need a producer, because that's what everyone else does", but nah, you don't really, and we sort of realised that we don't, that it was just easier for us to do what we wanted to do without one and just do it by ourselves. From the first day we stepped into the studio and started recording our own record we realised it was true, it was really easy it was really fun.
Deborah: And is that why this one hasn't taken as long as the last album, because you didn't have to translate your ideas?
CC: Well, I don't know, that could be true. I mean, we wrote a lot of songs in the studio so if we had had...if we had spent as much time recording this record in actually recording of the songs and writing in the studio like we did, it probably would have taken longer, so yeah, I guess you're right.
CC: You're right, you've got it all down.
Deborah: I'm looking forward to seeing you in Australia soon.
CZ: We all are looking very much forward to seeing you guys in Australia, so hopefully you'll get here. And that's our last question for today, thanks for being on the Three Hours of Power guys.
BS: Andy, Tim, Russ hello.
KT: We'd like to say hi to You Am I.
CC: Yeah, You Am I, one of our favourite bands. We met 'em in Australia, played with them, brought 'em over to the US and did a tour with 'em. They've made some really good records...You Am I, go and hear 'em, they're your bros, support 'em, c'mon.