SOUNDGARDEN Frontman Says New Material Sounds ‘Very True To Form’

Vocalist Chris Cornell of reunited grunge legends SOUNDGARDEN spoke recently with John Jurgensen of the Wall Street Journal about the progress of SOUNDGARDEN‘s new CD, its first since 1996’s “Down On The Upside” and since reuniting last year.

When asked if it was hard to take the step from playing old songs to actually writing new material, Cornell said, “It’s like wearing two very different hats. Rehearsing for a show after 12 years off, there’s less tension surrounding that. You know it’s do-able. The songs are on a list somewhere. Writing a new album, that’s when the individual relationships come into play. In that regard we’ve always been a really great band. Everybody supports everyone’s ideas. But there are still question marks in writing new music. What’s it mean? Who are we now? Hopefully the answers are in the songs.”

Regarding what the new SOUNDGARDEN material sounds like, Chris said, “I’m really happy with it. I understand the feeling of the album. It’s very true to form for SOUNDGARDEN yet you can’t compare it to anything else.”

On the topic of how writing, playing heavy, aggressive music in his forties compares to doing it in his teens and twenties, Cornell said, “I don’t feel like the source has changed. In some ways as people get older they might have convictions that change but ultimately they may be more open-minded about everything. That’s part of being an adult and getting older. I don’t think music necessarily is affected by that. For me it’s important that the lyrics are borne of the feeling of the music. I don’t get in there and create a character. It’s more of a voice that I hear living inside the music.”

When asked how his voice — which was always one of the most distinctive aspects of SOUNDGARDEN — has changed, Chris said, “I never really stopped adjusting in terms of singing the old songs. Any of the hard parts for me are still hard when singing live. The thing that I like now is that we have the opportunity not just to rise to former glory, but to explore what these songs can do live. I never stopped thinking if there was a better way to approach it. It’s a moving target. And these songs have their own lives.”

Read more from the Wall Street Journal.