Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell: “We’re Back. It’s About Time. And We Still Have Something To Say About Rock”

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Jim Dyson / Getty Images

Jim Dyson / Getty Images

After being separated for nearly 13 years, Soundgarden is reunited and set to unveil a new, highly anticipated album on November.

King Animal is said to have “a lot of layers to it. It’s something that will take time for people to kind of digest,” says frontman Chris Cornell in an interview with Miles the DJ on San Francisco’s Live 105.

The foursome from Seattle released the album’s first single, “Live To Rise,” to coincide with The Avengers film, which turned out to be a much bigger blessing than they’d anticipated. Within just a few weeks of its opening, the reached near Titanic box success.

Yesterday, the band released the album’s second single, some critics are comparing to AC/DC.

Cornell describes “Been Away Too Long,” as a biographical song saying, “As I started to write the lyrics, it became more autobiographical. 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. It’s more autobiographical and more sort of a look back at history in some sort of a strange atmospheric way.”

As if anticipating questions about the “feel” of the album and if the first single was indicative of the sound on the entire album, Cornell offered, “King Animal has a lot of layers to it. It’s something that will take time for people to kind of digest and it’s not something I could describe to you right now or that you will understand based on listening to the first single. There’s a lot going on.”

Much of the new album is a look back at the ground the band has covered over the course of their career.

“We were a band that started in a basement, whose biggest goal was to participate in the U.S. indie scene at that time, which was super super creative and strong and interesting and it wasn’t music that you could hear anywhere except for college radio… But that was the venue that we wanted to be in. We just wanted some indie to put out records. And that took three years. And finally we did that. And that was the beginning of a long long story.”

While Soundgarden was disbanded over the thirteen years, Cornell did stints in Audioslave with members of Rage Against The Machine, collaborated with Timbaland, and put out music as a solo artist.

The singer/songwriter is doing his best to bring those experiences back to Soundgarden.

“It’s like a homecoming in a sense,” Cornell offers. “It felt super satisfying to be able to suddenly, after this much time, to be back in this creative environment with these three guys and Soundgarden which I can equate as my first love, and be able to take all this experience that I have now, all of the triumphs and mistakes and everything and be able to now apply it to what I now feel  is my first love.”

Cornell says the band still has quite a story to tell.

“Yes, we’ve been away 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. I think we definitely do.”

“King Animal” track listing:

  1. Been Away Too Long
  2. Non-State Actor
  3. By Crooked Steps
  4. A Thousand Days Before
  5. Blood On The Valley Floor
  6. Bones of Birds
  7. Taree
  8. Attrition
  9. Black Saturday
  10. Halfway There
  11. Worse Dreams
  12. Eyelid’s Mouth
  13. Rowing

Listen to the full interview.

– Jay Tilles, CBS Local

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