KIM THAYIL On Continuing SOUNDGARDEN Without CHRIS CORNELL: 'I Don't See The Dignity In Pursuing That Course'
SOUNDGARDEN guitarist Kim Thayil says that it’s highly improbable that the band will ever resume without Chris Cornell. ”It’s not likely that we could ever do SOUNDGARDEN without a missing piece,” he told Billboard. ”I’d like to do more with Matt [Cameron, drums] in the future. I’d like to do something with Ben [Shepherd, bass] in the future. It’s likely Matt and Ben and I will do something in the future — it just probably won’t be SOUNDGARDEN. I don’t see the dignity in pursuing that course.”
Thayil went on to say that he is ”completely satisfied” with the status of SOUNDGARDEN’s legacy, but added that ”it needs to be maintained. That’s why I’m overseeing the catalog and the merchandise, and I’ve been doing that all along because it’s important that the legacy is understood,” he explained. ”There’s an ever-expanding demographic of potential SOUNDGARDEN fans amidst a shrinking demographic of consumers, so it’s important that they there are good ways for them to hear what we did.”
Asked what is on the horizon, Thayil said: ”Really, the ’Screaming Life’ and Sub Pop sessions. We recorded enough material for an album-plus, but we only released an EP initially (in 1987), and the moved on to doing the ’Fopp’ thing (in 1988) and had some new songs for that. So there were things that were recorded for (a full) album that weren’t released because we had to compact it into a nice little EP, which is what Sub Pop was interested in doing ’cause in the early and mid-80s, EPs were punk rock albums and a great way to introduce new artists. So we have other material and Sub Pop is interested in putting it out, so we’re gonna do that, with Jack Endino mixing. There’s interest in putting out the ’Live At The Paramount’ that was part of the ’Badmotorfinger’ 25th anniversary, in the super deluxe version, as a standalone. We’re coming up on the 30th anniversary of ’Louder Than Love’, and the ’Louder Than Live’ album was never released commercially, just as a promotional thing. I’m sure there’ll be another greatest-hits recording. And there are so many lives shows we recorded over the years that have interesting takes and covers.”
Kim went on to say that it is possible the material SOUNDGARDEN was working on at the time of Chris’s death will also see the light of day. ”We were working on an album and there’s material there that we demoed that we can flesh out when we can access some of the basic, multi(-track) recordings, sure,” he said. ”That’s being discussed.”
Cornell died by suicide after the band’s May 17, 2017 concert in Detroit.
Thayil was involved in assembling ”Chris Cornell: An Artist’s Legacy”, the upcoming comprehensive compilation of the late singer’s work in SOUNDGARDEN, TEMPLE OF THE DOG and AUDIOSLAVE, and as a solo artist.
Cameron, Thayil and Shepherd attended last month’s unveiling of a commemorative Chris Cornell statue at the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) in Seattle.