Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell: Something Occurs When I Let My Guard Down


Story by Cat Badra

Soundgarden vocalist discusses his introspective songwriting

Chris Cornell has a gift for bringing the listener into his world. When he’s crooning with alternative band Soundgarden, that world is often speckled with dark imagery and introspection. Just look at the emotive lyrics to Soundgarden’s perennial rock ballad, “Black Hole Sun”: “In my eyes, indisposed / In disguise as no one knows / Hides the face, lies the snake / The sun in my disgrace…”

Cornell believes he’s at his musical best when he’s comfortable sharing deep, personal feelings through his songs. “ … I think that there’s something that happens when I sort of let my guard down and allow whoever that person is and that character – and I don’t know who that is – [come out],” he said in a video interview with the New York Times. “Maybe it’s the disappointed version of me as a child. I don’t know. Maybe it’s the observer that sees things as what you imagine the world is gets replaced by different glimpses into reality, which is often awful. It’s probably that startled, scared kid that’s reacting in an aggressive way and descriptive way out of defense, I suppose. But then there are little things and bits and pieces of inspiration and imagination that come from that…”

When it comes to the dynamics of Soundgarden, Cornell says everyone in the band has their favorites songs and passages, which is why the band’s albums are so famously long. “’Superunknown’ and ‘Down on the Upside’ are both as long as you could possibly have on a compact disc sonically, because we couldn’t agree on what could be cut,” he explained. “And we all had different favorites and different ideas as to what the best songs were, what the second best songs were; that kind of thing. But that’s normal, I think, and I think we ended up making these epic albums … because of that. Because we had different attitudes and different ideas … but I think we always agreed on influences.” (Photo via Soundgarden’s Vevo Channel.)


Cat Badra
Posted by Cat Badra | Alternative, Grunge, Music, Rock News

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