Kim Thayil says Soundgarden were greatly influenced by Led Zeppelin
This week marks the 40th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s groundbreaking album “Physical Graffiti.” In honor of that milestone, Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil has penned an essay for Rolling Stone discussing how Led Zeppelin, and specifically “Physical Graffiti,” have influenced his life and music.
“When we first got together, we were listening to a lot of post-punk and progressive hardcore, stuff like Bauhaus and Black Flag, after practice,” Thayil wrote. “Yet our friends are pointing out how our music has elements that remind them of (Black) Sabbath, Zeppelin and the Doors, and we started getting that a lot: ‘Zeppelin, Zeppelin, Zeppelin,’ and we were like, OK, let’s check some of this out.'”
Soundgarden have always been considered the Led Zeppelin of grunge. At first, that wasn’t a welcomed comparison. “We were all very acquainted with it individually, but collectively we weren’t sitting around the table listening them,” Thayil stated. “So initially we would deny that influence.”
But over time, Soundgarden became big fans of Zeppelin. One song it took him a while to appreciate was “Kashmir.”
“I think the reason why it took so long [to appreciate ‘Kashmir’] was there’s this amazing heaviness about it and this cool guitar riff, but then there’s these other elements that, when I was a young punk-rock guy, I saw as superfluous or unnecessary ornateness, sort of an art-nouveau thrills-and-stuff that perhaps I didn’t understand because I just wanted to get down to the power chords and play it really fast,” Thayil said.
Led Zeppelin’s deluxe remastered reissue of “Physical Graffiti” arrived last Tuesday.
Photo by Anne Erickson
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