Chris Cornell Rips ‘One Guy With A Bunch Of New Guys’ Reunions

Chris Cornell discussed writing Soundgarden’s new album in a new interview with DC101, and also criticized rock reunions, particularly ones with only one original member. Alternative Nation has transcribed Cornell’s comments.

“Once we were done with King Animal, I felt like we didn’t skip a beat really, we’re still the same band we always were. Everybody still has the same capabilities they always did have, plus some new tools in the toolbox that we developed in the decade that we weren’t together.”

“Without comparing to specific other bands, a lot of things can happen when a band takes a decade or more off, and then reform. Sometimes there’s personnel changes, sometimes there’s kind of a directional shift, where they dramatically will sort of go for something that is the sound of the moment, and kind of abandon their own identity to the degree that it’s really alienating, and I’m speaking as a fan now of bands where they’ve done that. I think the thing that happens the most is one guy with a bunch of new guys, and still calling it the same band, and pretending it’s the same band.”

He added, “It’s different people, and that’s something we never would have done.”

Chris Cornell’s Soundgarden bandmates also ripped ‘one man bands’ in a 2013 Gigwise interview, with many fans assuming they were talking about Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan based on his comments criticizing their reunion for being a cash grab.

Kim Thayil: “It’s not possible for us to do a bad record. Here’s how it’s possible to do a bad record. You’ve got one jackass who runs the whole thing, and a bunch of guys they hire around him.”

Matt Cameron: “Who you talking about?”

Ben Shepherd: “You mean the yes men?”

Kim Thayil: “Now you can make a bad record because your stupid ideas aren’t being bounced around, going to the fucking ether.”

Ben Shepherd: “Some are like a yes men thing, we’re like a no men thing.”

Kim Thayil: “If you’ve got a band where one guy calls the shots, that’s a band that’s going to suck. Because the guy might have bad thoughts in his head. Well I just came out of sobriety and I’ve got this idea for a rock record, I just married my third wife and I have this new idea for a rock record.”

Ben Shepherd: “How we deal with it is we just control ourselves so we just focus on what we’re going to do, how and what we’re going to be and that’s all you can really control in life, not what some dickhead says about you, so you just don’t worry about it.”

  • Felonious Punk

    This explains why all of Marilyn Manson’s records since Holywood have pretty much sucked ass.

    • Corndog

      I quite liked The Golden Age Of Grotesque and Born Villain personally, but The High End of Low was utter shite. I haven’t heard the new one yet, but i think that he’s back with Twiggy now, right?

      I know that Soundgarden are quite highly regarded around these parts, but am i the only person here that thinks King Animal was crap?

      • Jimmy Intense

        King Animal wasn’t complete crap but there are a few filler tracks and some stuff that doesn’t fit with their style (“Halfway There”)

        Pumpkins was never all Billy until Iha left…James wrote a bulk of music in their heyday and also sang on a few tracks.

        • Corndog

          I always got the impression that Billy wrote pretty much everything, and the other guys where just glorified session musicians.

          • Jimmy Intense

            I’d say James only wrote 20% of the songs himself during 1993-2000 and that’s being generous

          • Corndog

            Thanks:)

          • Corndog

            That’s actually very interesting. According to that he wrote some of the bands most successful singles. Perhaps he is what has been missing from the band in recent years? As i said above, i really didn’t like their last 2 albums, but i have to admit i quite liked Zeitgeist.

            What did Iha to make Corgan hate him so much?

          • Jimmy Intense

            Probably called him on his bullshit. No greater threat to a narcissist

          • Jimmy Intense

            Hmm not sure if Google or Wikipedia is incorrect but check out James Iha’s Wikipedia article. He may not have been responsible for their bigger hits

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Iha

          • Corndog

            Yeah that seems to have the same list as the link i posted. Seems he was only responsible for a handful of songs; some of which were co-written with Corgan. If Wiki is correct, he has very little input into the Pumpkins. That is pretty much what i had always though. Billy did most if not all.

          • AlecWright

            Billy was on Howard Stern a few years ago and went into depth about James and Darcy. Interviews on YouTube.

          • Corndog

            Cheers man. I’ll look that up.

      • Ben

        Personally I wouldn’t say King Animal was crap. I think it is a pretty decent come back album and feels like a natural progression after so many years. Having said that I’m hoping the next album is heavier and more experimental. I haven’t really listened to KA a huge amount where as I have spun PJ’s LB a lot more.

        • Corndog

          I loved Lightning Bolt. The only issue i have is with the track listing order on the ‘second half’. It sort of fizzles out towards the end. Overall though, i really enjoyed it. Eddie really seems to have grown into his new studio voice on that album. Sadly, he’s still struggling live though. Much as i dearly love the guy, that is plain to see by watching any recent concert.

          Soundgarden just don’t do it for me, and they never have. I think i gave them a fair crack of the whip though. As Junior said, i guess they just aren’t the band for me.

    • Jimmy Intense

      Members have been in and out of Manson long before Holywood. Pretty much since their formation.

  • Bilbo

    Go tell that to Trent Reznor… It really depends on how good the main songwriter is, and the relationship that exists among the members. In most bands only one or two guys write, so it’s not like every band is a democracy.

    • Junior Moore

      Trent’s different projects and music have been mediocre for a while now.

      • AOKRCEO

        I strongly disagree.

      • ImmoralPoe

        That’s why he won an Oscar for the Social Network soundtrack right?

        • Junior Moore

          Right.

          • ImmoralPoe

            At least you admit you don’t have a fucking argument. Back to your mom’s basement for you.

          • Junior Moore

            Because Oscars, Grammy’s, Miss America pageants, album sales or any award shows are all really important when it comes to my own opinion. Right? Righttttt. :-p

    • AOKRCEO

      Well, he has always been NIN and he made it pretty clear since day one, that his touring band were just that, but he was the main force in the studio.

      Courtney Love recently said that Reznor was much smarter than her and Corgan because of this, because since the beginning he made it clear that he was NIN.

  • faith

    No, Chris, just because you recovered all the members of Soundgarden doesn’t mean “King Animal” is a great album as you would like us to believe. It’s not so bad, but not even so good. Just a decent album with some obvious fillers. It’s something I wouldn’t expect after a 16 years pause. If you have to come back, you have to do it strong, otherwise better not to do that. “Sol Invictus” is much better than “King Animal” but equally not necessary

    • Junior Moore

      King Animal is a brilliant record, imo. But just like any of their other albums, there’s always those fans that just aren’t in to where they take their music from album to album.

      16 years apart and they put out a heavier, more creative rhythm driven record than anyone I’ve listened to in a long time.

      • Corndog

        I have never been able to get into SG. They do nothing for me.

        Every now and then i wonder if i am missing out and will go back and listen to some of their stuff. Just this lunchtime in work i listened to Badmotorfinger, and it still does nothing to impress me at all.

        I think they’re a Marmite band. You either like them a lot, or you don’t at all.

        • Junior Moore

          Different strokes. Pearl Jam is the same way for me. They do absolutely nothing for me.

          Soundgarden takes me somewhere no other band or artist has been able to, and I listen to a lot of music. They just aren’t the right band for you, I suppose.

          • Corndog

            Never ceases to amaze me the way two people can feel something so completely and utterly different when listening to music. The way you described feeling about SG is exactly how i feel about Pearl Jam:)

          • Ben

            Well I actually love both Pearl Jam & Soundgarden.
            I listen to a way more PJ though! Love PJ live!

          • Corndog

            I want to like SG, i really do. Mainly because i quite like Cornell’s voice, but i just can’t get into their music. I have tried time and again over the years, but they just never clicked for me.

          • Ben

            Have you given a listen to Chris’ Higher Truth. Some people love it some people don’t but I have been spinning this album a fair bit and love it. Bend in the Road & Misery Chain deserve to be more than just bonus tracks.

          • Corndog

            No i haven’t got around to it yet. I heard the single, can’t recall the name – the one with the sort of western theme, and i wasn’t impressed with that song at all.

          • Junior Moore

            Easily my favorite solo album from Chris. I agree about Bend in the Road and Misery Chain , even Wrong Side.

            I’m wondering what he’ll release as a next single. I’m hoping it’s “Murderer of Blue Skies”

          • Junior Moore

            Sounds like their style and approach to rhythm could be holding you back maybe? I say this because I’m a very rhythm driven guy, and it took me a while to get in to their music because I just couldn’t catch on to the attitude and the creative sense of rhythm they have together. The guitars, bass, drums and melody are all usually doing something differen rhythm wise, but they still sound tight and perfectly on beat if you catch it. I dunno, I’m rambling lol

          • Corndog

            Yes!! This, absolutely!! I don’t like the weird time signatures they tend to use. Like, you’re sitting bobbing your head without thinking, and suddenly you’re not in time anymore and it sort of throws you off! You’re wondering WTF just happened?

            Man, i’m not making any sense, sorry. I know what i mean, i just can’t articulate it very well:)

    • Ishmael

      I feel like Sol Invictus was a fine but King Animal was really good.

  • Raj

    Can’t wait for Corgan’s response, Billy and Chris just need to duke it out then have a beer and laugh about it.