CHRIS CORNELL DISCUSSES WRITING NEW SOUNDGARDEN SONG ‘BEEN AWAY TOO LONG’

Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell talked about Soundgarden’s new album King Animal and its lead single “Been Away Too Long” in a new interview with Live 105.  Here are two quotes from the interview from Chris.

“This new album King Animal, it has a lot of layers to it. It’s something that it will take time for people to kind of digest and it’s not something that I could describe to you right now or that you will understand based on listening to the first single for example. When Live to Rise came out, I did some interviews where a lot of people were asking ‘is this kind of indicative of the feel of the new album?’ And the answer was, no it’s not really. If you take any song from the new album, and take it out of context of the new album, that’s not either. There’s a lot going on, but it’s definitely [indicative] on some level of where we are now.”

“When we started talking about making a new album, this was almost two years ago, I was sitting around and one night having trouble sleeping. I was thinking of new Soundgarden songs and the music in my head was some sort of uptempo kind of Soundgarden version of a punk rock song, but not Been Away Too Long. And that line sort of flashed across as I was just kind of listening to what I call brain radio, and I thought wow that would be a great new Soundgarden song. Then I forgot it, completely. The music was something else that I had written and demoed in a fairly compact form without a bridge really it was like verse chorus solo with no lyrics no vocals nothing and played it for the band and they really liked it. We worked on it as a band arranging it, Ben came up with kind of a jammy bridge section that was really cool and we recorded it like that and it was done but I had still never wrote anything. Towards the end when we were almost to mixing and we were finished with the album I was having trouble sleeping one night and I remembered that line and thought, this would be really great for like a first Soundgarden single. But as I started to write the lyrics then it became more autobiographical and it became real. I don’t think I would write lyrics to a Soundgarden album that would be like Eminem writing lyrics to a new Eminem song, which is essentially telling the story of the making of the album and where he feels he exists in pop culture and that kind of thing. So it’s not really that, it’s more autobiographical and more of a look back at history in sort of a strange atmospheric way, the way that I write. But the initial spark of the idea did feel like it would be right in the narrative of, yes we’ve been out and we’ve been gone for 15 years and now we’re back. It’s about time, and we still have something to say about rock music that no one else is saying and I feel confident about saying that.”

  • Kirill

    yep thats exactly what i thought of the new song, sorta introduction and their excuse to step in 15 years later and explain. So think of this song as a bridge between DOTU and KA. As for the song being short and having punk attitude, i have nothing to worry about knowing the fact that they will rock. Probably because Ive never been fun of downtempo slower songs by Soundgarden.

  • gsush

    What can you say other than Awesome is on the way !

  • BillyL

    That’s one thing that amazed me about some fans’ reaction to BATL on here; they were saying things like “I hope the rest of the album is better than this”…And even though BATL is not my favorite SG song, althoug I think it’s great, there is no fucking way I would ever think that every song on the album would sound like it. I swear, people get so caught up in the moment and, I guess, are so shaped by this radio culture we have now where artists release the same shit over and over again, they they forget that it’s Soundgarden we’re dealing with here. It’s not a band trying to get the same-sounding hit after hit after hit. This is SOUNDGARDEN.

  • Pingback: Chris Cornell on New Soundgarden Single ‘Been Away Too Long’: ‘It’s About Time’

  • Mark

    That’s the perfect description of the song. “Autobiographical.” And I’m glad he is describing the album as a real album, not most albums where you can just pick apart each song and listen to it… this one sounds like it will beg to be listened to the entire way through, like a Tool or Pink Floyd record

  • warriorwoman

    Like Chris said, “It’s something that it will take time for people to kind of digest….” My taste palate must be fine-tuned and my digestive tract up to par. I loved it the first time I heard BATL! I thought it didn’t sound like anything out there that I’ve heard lately. Different – yet pure Soundgarden!

  • Deviate

    Agree 2/ BillyL.

  • Deviate

    w/

  • BillyL

    I’m glad someone agrees with me for once!

    I’m just saying that Soundgarden’s albums were never just about the singles. How many people bought Superunknown based on hearing Black Hole Sun only to realize that there wasn’t any other songs like it on the album? That’s what I love about Soundgarden. Chris even said himself not too long ago that he wants to bring back how people used to buy an album and listen to the whole thing, not just one song here and there. That’s how I’ve always done it and it’s how I plan to do it this time as well.

  • Pingback: Chris Cornell on New Soundgarden Single ‘Been Away Too Long’: ‘It’s About Time’ | Your Daily Extra News

  • NickG

    This is a pretty cool read. BillyL, I have to say that many people bought Superunknown because of Black Hole Sun, not to mention the stellar line up of singles they released for that album: Spoonman, The Day I Tried to Live, Black Hole Sun, My Wave, Fell On Black Days (in which at least 3 of those were solid hits)
    And it’s not that they necessarily sound the same, but they definitely have a very cohesive vibe to them, atmosphere, etc.
    Of course I’m not expecting this to be another Superunknown nor am I disappointed by Been Away Too Long by any means, however I am very much looking forward to the rest of the album.

  • Brian

    I wish I could listen to Chris Cornell Brain Radio

  • SUICYCO

    Love the new song… love the lyrics.

  • thefreewheelinMarkArm

    My brain radio has been playing Been Away Too Long since fucking Wednesday morning. The FIRST time I heard it I was thinking, OK this is definitely Soundgarden, but I didn’t think it’d be a song that would be stuck in my head or anything. Maybe because I left the song on repeat for about 5 or 6 times and then later kept circling back to it, but it’s really been in my head for 3 days now.

    Who’s to say this can’t be someone’s new favorite Soundgarden song? I’ve had SEVERAL favorite Soundgarden songs. It would depend on where I’m at mentally or which album had just come out. Then there was a big lull.. I started going backwards into their catalogue– and I’m sure that Entering and Hunted Down will always be favorites for me. BUT this song has a chance. It’s SOundgarden. It’s got that groove to it that no one else does. SO why fucking not?! Quit acting like Soundgarden was writing songs for you because they weren’t. Take it or leave it. Either way this is a dope ass fucking song. Take it for what it’s worth to you. It’s sad, but I never gave up hope for Soundgarden. No other band did what they have. After the early 2000’s I really gave up on new rock music. So what is this song worth?? Every-fucking-thing

  • Shadow on the Sun

    Batl def gets better with each listen. I really would Love for Chris to be this descriptive about all of the songs. I I have this little book where they discussed details about nearly every super unknown song. It fascinates me how this stuff comes together

  • BillyL

    @ Shadow of the Sun

    Imagine a VH1’s Storytellers with Soundgarden. Holy shit.

  • Superman

    Also sounds like its about moving back to Seattle, nobody hates me, this place has a special kind of falling apart, etc… Chris and Seattle are a clean slate now too.

  • Deviate

    Agree with BillyL’s statements again, as well as freewheelinmark’s.

    And each song on every album has its own vibe. It is impossible to take any individual song out of context with the rest of the album and make any assumptions about the album as if you didn’t hear any other songs from said album. That’s what I love about Soundgarden’s music.

    Each song are individual ingredients to a magical fucking stew. And I’ve got a big ass bowl and spoon ready when this new album drops.

  • http://twitter.com/adamhewett Adam Hewett

    @superman

    did chris and seattle have a falling out or something? public fallout?

  • BillyL

    @ Deviate

    Exactly. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

  • Brett Buchanan

    I posted this on SoundgardenWorld too, I don’t love the song as much as I did in my initial review which I’d written late at night after hearing the song a few times.

    I think the song has a solid energy level, Chris Cornell’s vocals are solid and the musicianship is great. My favorite part is the bridge 2:20 in, that is classic Soundgarden and by far the most memorable part of the song. I think the lyrics of the song in general are inspired as well, about the city of Seattle. My criticism of the song is the lack of a consistent strong melody. The song just takes too long to hit a memorable melody, while “Live to Rise” is not perfect it has a chorus that I remember that comes in at the right time. BATL improves 2 minutes in and generally flows better when it hits that point. The last take on the chorus should have been repeated more throughout the song. The first time you actually hear the chorus is about 1:40 in but it only lasts about 10 seconds before the breakdown.As always my thoughts on the song could continue to change as they have. I think the song will make sense in the context of being the first song on the album. Let’s hope so.

    I don’t think it’s better than any of Soundgarden’s old catalog, outside of some songs. I don’t think it’s better than anything off of Temple of the Dog, Euphoria Morning, or the first Audioslave album. It is better though than a lot of stuff off of Out of Exile, Revelations, Carry On, and Scream. As far as recent Cornell output, I like The Keeper more than BATL or Live to Rise.

  • Brett Buchanan

    Deviate, I still think the album will be good, but if you take any of the Superunknown singles (Black Hole Sun, Spoonman, The Day I Tried To Live, Fell On Black Days, and My Wave) or any Down on the Upside singles (Pretty Noose, Burden In My Hand, and Blow Up The Outside World) or Badmotorfinger singles (Outshined, Rusty Cage, and Jesus Christ Pose) they’re all great songs on their own.

  • Deviate

    I agree. It’s not that any of those aren’t great songs on their own, as singles from previous albums. It’s just that no one song, or single, from any of their albums was indicative of what the rest of the album sounded like. Every song is a piece of the puzzle that is the whole album.

    The songs that were released as singles just happened to be songs that worked well as singles. The fish that best survived out of their particular body of water.

  • BillyL

    By the way, just noticed that the track listing for King Animal Deluxe Version on iTunes lists a bunch of demo versions of King Animal songs as bonus tracks. That’s news to me!

  • Deviate

    I heard that too, which interests me. I’ll listen to their clips first, before I go purchasing a digital copy in addition to the CD.

  • BillyL

    Amazon.com (where I pre-ordered the Deluxe version) doesn’t have the tracklisting up yet. Hopefully it will also include the demo versions and not just the live songs as previously mentioned.

  • Spoonman

    brett i think you were too high on it before and now i think you are definitely too low on it. its a very solid sg song and above average when compared to their old catalogue but still not one of their top 10 in my opinion. blows the keeper away for sure

  • CousinPetty

    I can almost hear a real Soundgarden wanting to break out of a Rusty Cage… But it’s like they’ve Fell on Black Days and are commiting suicide in a Black Hole Sun…. I truly hope the other tracks will have more to offer.

  • Mark

    “BillyL said:
    I’m glad someone agrees with me for once!

    I’m just saying that Soundgarden’s albums were never just about the singles. How many people bought Superunknown based on hearing Black Hole Sun only to realize that there wasn’t any other songs like it on the album? That’s what I love about Soundgarden. Chris even said himself not too long ago that he wants to bring back how people used to buy an album and listen to the whole thing, not just one song here and there. That’s how I’ve always done it and it’s how I plan to do it this time as well.”

    I’ve been preaching that on SGW forums and on some Facebook groups, don’t worry, there are others out there that agree… B)

  • MAYAN CALENDAR 2012

    CHRIS CORNELL WEARS GLASSES 🙂

    HAHA
    SPOONMANS GETTING OLD

    HIS VOICE PROVES IT 😉

  • http://bit.ly/SLjGka King Animal Cornell & Super Queen Corgan

    A word that came to mind with this song was Cheesegarden, due to its punkiness… but it’s still very much SG. I’m sure there will be sludgier moments on the record to compensate! 😀