Chris Cornell rang in 2010 with a bang, announcing on New Year’s Eve that, after a 12-year hiatus, Soundgarden would be re-forming .
That was followed by a handful of secret gigs — including one under the anagram “Nudedragons” — and a headlining slot at this summer’s Lollapalooza . And on Tuesday (September 28), fans got the next, somewhat inevitable step in the reunion: the release of Telephantasm, a career-spanning greatest-hits/ odds-n-sods collection.
But how did Soundgarden get to this point? Well, as Cornell told MTV News, it happened both very slowly and very rapidly, but always at the band’s own pace.
“The thing that makes this work is one of the issues we had was kind of the cyclical nature of the music business: There was always a schedule, we were always late for something, or somebody was saying we were late for something, there was always sort of a two-year schedule put out, and Soundgarden didn’t really start out that way,” he said. “We were an indie band, and we just kind of did what we did a few weeks ahead. So now it sort of feels like we’re back at that place … we’re doing what we want, when we want, in sort of a relaxed environment … and, approaching it that way, we managed to put [Telephantasm] together in really a pretty short amount of time.”
With the album now in stores, could there be plans for a full-scale tour? Well, maybe not quite yet — “We’re taking baby steps … Baby Godzilla steps,” guitarist Kim Thayil chuckled — but that doesn’t mean Soundgarden are done with all this reunion business either. They still have plenty of vault mining to do.
“We have a bunch of unreleased demos that we never put out that we recently unearthed, and they sound really good, so that’s going to be something as well,” drummer Matt Cameron said. “They’re from this one specific [session], maybe it was [in] ’88 or ’89, so there’s this one chunk of demos we’re looking at. And also, when we release the catalog, hopefully we can include demos that are specific to each record too.”
So if Telephantasm doesn’t slake Soundgarden fans’ thirst for the old stuff, there’s plenty more to look forward to. And though there may not be a tour on the horizon, the guys say they’re still going to be playing the odd festival gig or one-off show here or there. But, unlike the past, they’ll be the ones deciding the particulars. That also extends to exploring brand-new revenue streams. After all, this is very much a reunion, and, after spending the last dozen years on the shelf, Soundgarden are looking to take full advantage of this brave new world.
“Maybe we’ll do, like, ’Soundgarden: On Ice,’ ” Cornell laughed. ” ’Sound-Capades.’ I’d watch that.”
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