Friday, February 18, 2011

Soundgarden talk live album, new music

This past week, Soundgarden broke their recent silence to let fans know that their goal for 2011 is to make a new album.

In the meantime, Soundgarden’s first-ever live album, “Live On I5,” is due out March 22; the set features tracks taken from the west coast leg of Soundgarden’s 1996 tour.

In addition, singer Chris Cornell launches his first solo acoustic "Songbook” tour, spotlighting songs from throughout Chris’ career (Soundgarden, Audioslave, solo), as well as a few surprise covers. The North American tour runs April through May.

Rolling Stone caught up with guitarist Kim Thayil to talk about a variety of things in Soundgarden-world, including the live release and their plans for new music.

Here’s a sample of the conversation:

RS: What did you think of Live on I-5 when you heard it from start to finish?

Kim Thayil:
Ben and I were just talking about this last weekend – we're both still in awe of this album, the performances and the songs. It's kind of ridiculous how fast we're playing "Jesus Christ Pose" or "Ty Cobb" – it's much faster than the studio version. And there are some crazy fills in there from Ben, Matt and me. Guitar solo things, weird bass runs and drum stuff. I think everyone was listening to the recordings and were surprised by individual performances, flourishes, and collective performances.

RS: There is also a bonus disc of tracks if the album is purchased through the Soundgarden site, or as downloadable content through iTunes, right?

Tentatively, we're calling it Before the Doors, because it's during soundcheck, before the doors were opened. We'd run through some songs and record them – both as a test of the recording equipment, but also for us to run through some songs that we may or may not want to include in our set. What's unusual about them is that they sound live, but there's no audience present. These amazing performances played to an empty arena, but you get the ambience and sound of the arena, and you get the reverb and echo that is emanating from the stage. It's a pretty trippy thing, it's like we're playing alone in a canyon or a cathedral.

RS: Future plans?

Definitely Live on I-5, and at some point, the B sides album. The only thing that could put the B sides album on hold now would be if we were to focus and concentrate on new material.

RS: New material?

We are jamming. Just getting to re-learn and re-love each other in a creative fashion. And it's wonderful, it's been going great. Everyone's happy, and there are a lot of ideas being thrown around. We do apologize that we haven't been able to share the past few months with our fans, because it really has been a couple of months of a lot of creative insight and sharing amongst the band members. Although there are many of our fans that would love us to be entertainers, we love that too, but the one element that we hadn't fully re-explored and re-established is the creative element. The creative partnership is certainly the one we wanted to set aside time to enjoy, and that's what we've been doing over the past few months. And I really would like the fans to know that.

RS: So the obvious question remains - is the band's goal to get into the studio at some point and work on a new album?

Now, we are not currently recording, but we plan to - and will. The time we've been spending as a creative partnership playing music together and writing, with the definite objection to record and release new material. We're not yet recording, we're not yet releasing new material, we are writing – for that purpose.

RS: When do you think the band will go in the studio to start recording?

There are some ideas. Once again, that's in flux. As soon as possible, or as soon as we feel comfortable. I would say definitely do something in the spring.

There's lots more; check out the full Soundgarden story at Rolling Stone here.

Soundgarden Soundgarden

Soundgarden – Rusty Cage
Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL – August 8, 2010

See also:

Soundgarden planning new album in 2011
Soundgarden offer exclusive bonus disc with live album pre-orders
Soundgarden: Chris Cornell announces solo acoustic tour
Soundgarden live album due in March