Soundgarden made their official return at Showbox in Seattle, Washington on April 16th. 13 years after they decided to quit while they were ahead. By the looks of this footage I found of them doing "Beyond The Wheel", the evil still lurks inside their souls. I first witnessed the power of Soundgarden at The Hampshire College Dining Commons back in 1988. At the time, my roommates and I were keeping Metallica's "..And Justice For All" on auto reverse when I received a cassette copy of "Ultramega OK" at our college radio station. The covered featured a stage shot of Kim Thayil, Chris Cornell, and Hiro Yamamato lined up looking like they were laying a serious onslaught on the crowd. When I removed the well worn Metallica tape and replaced it with the new find it seemed like the world slowed down and mutated into a Creature Double Feature flashback. It was sludge, black tar like sludge with Kim Thayil's guitar making freakish noises like monkeys drowning in a lava flow. Their version of the blues standard "Smokestack Lightning" was an endurance test for my skull. But most of all it was HEAVY. The music was like the teutonic plates of the earth colliding with Cornell wailing like a Banshee over it. The room was instantly divided. Some saying they were poor musicians ripping off Black Sabbath, others were taken with it but not sure why.
Later we found out they were playing nearby Hampshire College so a couple of us piled into my shitty Cutlass and made the trek to see if these guys were for real. The Hampshire College Dining Common is not a big room. Not big enough to handle the tsunami of sound that was coming out of those hairy freaks from Seattle. You know it's a good show when the most hardcore of hardcore skinheads is holding his hands over his ears. It was a continuous sonic slamming for over an hour. Kim Thayil was making his guitar sound like a screeching T trolley trying to stop from hitting a drunk on the rails.
The next time I saw them was at The Metro(later Avalon) in Boston opening for Danzig. Pepper Keenan from COC, who were also on the bill, and John Christ, who was playing guitar for Danzig at the time came out to play "Gun" with Soundgarden. The sound of the three guitars slowly ramping up the tempo to a molten cacoughony was too heavy to handle. I almost lost control of my bowels.
I later caught them at Lollapalooza 92 in Restin, VA. They were more straight ahead garage band at this show. Tearing through material from Badmotorfinger like someone was pointing a gun at them, making them hurry up. Still it was a flesh tearing performance.
Since then we have seen Chris Cornell release solo albums that lacked fire, his work with Audioslave which was at times spotty, and a failed experiment at mainstream pop with a collaboration with Timbaland(cue fart noise here). When I first heard they were getting back together I instantly thought, "He's not going to be able to hit those panty drenching notes like he used to." But if you check the video below, you'll realize I am more wrong than a Cars reunion without Ben Orr or Ric Ocasek. Kim Thayil has also retained the ability to make his guitar sound like it's being worked over by the Spanish Inquisition. Sweet deafness embrace me...
And did you happen to catch the grin that Cornell flashed to the crowd after he hit the first series of high notes in this video of "Beyond the Wheel"????? As if to say..., "Yeah, motherf***ers! I still have it!"
Retribution in its prime!!! LOL!
nice post. thanks.
ya Chris still dose have it!!!!in fact he never lost it, just got better and better
Aero Force One
Don't be hatin' on the Timbaland/Cornell collab. Steven Tyler was reportedly impressed, and will soon be making a Timbo record of his own:
"On March 26, 2010, it was reported that Steven Tyler, intrigued by the 2009 Chris Cornell record Scream, would beteaming up with Timbaland to record a rap album. Guest appearances by Reverend Run and Darryl Mac of Run-D.M.C., Kid Rock, and T-Pain are rumored to be featured on the new project."