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Soundgarden Look to ‘Add the Parts That Suck Back In’

Chris Cornell
Mark Metcalfe, Getty Images

Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil made a statement years ago that is blasphemous to headbangers. He once said that the band wanted to sound like “Black Sabbath without the parts that suck.” Wait, what? There are parts of Sabbath that suck? Who knew. See what we meant about blasphemy?

Well, fast forward several years, a breakup and reunion. Now, singer Chris Cornell has admitted that the band has changed the formula. The frontman told Classic Rock in the July issue of the mag that “we’re trying to add all the parts that suck back in.”

Cornell also detailed the genesis of the band’s reunion. It was the result of a meeting where the members reconvened to find ways to connect with fans via their website, fan cub and more. You know, general band/brand logistics. After spending time together, they realized that the idea of playing music together again was enticing.

In 2012, Soundgarden are incredibly active, contributing ‘Live to Rise’ to the ‘Avengers’ soundtrack, with a new album on the horizon. That hasn’t stopped Cornell from being a bit hesitant about the idea that Soundgarden’s reunion is messianic and that they are back to save rock music, as some fans have commented.

“Rock is a moving target and everyone has a different list of specific things for their definition of it,” he said. “But if it’s a list of what we do, then yeah, rock needs saving. But who knows what rock is any more?” The singer went on to suggest that rock could be an attitude or a background and that it’s not exactly a cut and dried notion.

Cornell wasn’t all serious in his chat with the magazine, which asked him what he can do that no one else can. While we were thinking that he hits the high notes in a way that few vocalists in the genre can, Cornell has a more unique skill that involves his bones. “I can turn myself inside out and play percussion on my own skeleton – if it’s mic’d correctly, it sounds really cool,” he said.

If such a sound made it onto the new Soundgarden album, that’d definitely be a part that doesn’t suck.

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