Soundgarden unlikely to continue without late singer Chris Cornell, says lead guitarist

October 12, 2018

Soundgarden lead guitarist Kim Thayil has cast doubt on the Grammy-winning grunge rock pioneers continuing as a band without late frontman and co-founder Chris Cornell.

“No, I don’t think that’s anything we’d give reasonable consideration to at this point,” Mr. Thayil, 58, told The Seattle Times with regards to Soundgarden potentially recording or touring without Cornell, the newspaper reported Thursday.

“When I say ‘at this point,’ I mean perhaps ever,” he added.

Cornell died while Soundgarden was touring in 2017, and Mr. Thayil’s bandmates drummer Matt Cameron and bassist Ben Shepherd indicated earlier this week that they were open to the possibility of a potential reunion.

“I don’t know really what kind of thing is possible or what we would consider in the future. It’s likely nothing. The four of us were that. There were four of us and now there’s three of us, so it’s just not likely that there’s much to be pursued other than the catalog work at this point,” Mr. Thayil told The Times.

Mr. Thayil plans to continue making music with Soundgarden’s rhythm section, albeit likely under a different moniker, the newspaper reported.

Formed in Seattle in 1984 by Cornell, Mr. Thayil and bassist Hiro Yamamoto, Soundgarden is credited along with the likes of Pearl Jam and Nirvana of shaping and popularizing the grunge rock genre that dominated radio airwaves during the early 1990s. Mr. Cameron joined the band in 1986, and Mr. Shepard replaced Mr. Yamamoto in 1990, the same year the group’s debut studio album earned the band its first of several Grammy Awards nominations in the category of Best Metal Performance.

Soundgarden split up in 1997, and Cornell subsequently co-founded Audioslave with members of Rage Against the Machine prior to the group reuniting in 2010.

Cornell was found dead in his hotel room following a Soundgarden concert in May 2017 in Detroit, Michigan, and his passing was subsequently ruled a suicide by hanging.

At a ceremony Monday held to commemorate the unveiling of a statue honoring Cornell in Seattle, both Mr. Cameron and Mr. Shepherd suggested a Soundgarden reunion could eventually be in the works.

“We’re just still taking our time and giving ourselves space to process everything,” said Mr. Cameron, 55. “We would certainly love to try to continue to do something, figure out something to do together.”

“On a personal level, we haven’t even gotten a chance to hang out, just us three, yet,” added Mr. Shepherd, 50. “We’re going through natural healing, then thinking about the natural next step.”

Soundgarden won Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance and Best Hard Rock Performance in 1994 for the songs “Spoonman” and “Black Hole Soon,” respectively.

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