Posts Tagged ‘Chris Cornell’
Soundgarden release video for the new track ‘Live To Rise’
Having recorded a brand new track for the astoundingly good Avengers Assemble movie, Soundgarden have just released the video to go with it! Featuring the band along with a whole host of clips from the film, it is well worth checking out!
So to save you the effort of looking it up, here it is….
Chris Cornell announces the opening dates for his June 2012 European Tour.
Rock icon Chris Cornell has announced his first headline UK tour dates in over three years. UK audiences will be the first in Europe to get the chance to see Chris perform unplugged, up close and personal.
This much-anticipated ‘Songbook‘ tour highlights works from Chris Cornell’s entire catalogue, including songs written for Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog and has already attracted universally positive reviews around the world. As Jim Farber of The New York Daily News observed, “sometimes you don’t recognize the full power of a voice until you strip everything away from it.“
Chris Cornell has the ability to connect with listeners like few others of our time. Within this alternative setting, Cornell can easily interact with the audience and share insights about his music. Familiar songs emerge in a new context, showing that great songwriting translates to any idiom. Ranked as “one of the best voices in music history”, Cornell has successfully maintained his own unique identity over more than two decades as a
multi-Grammy award winning musician, Golden Globe nominee and universally acclaimed singer, songwriter and lyricist.
Here are just a few things people have had to say about ‘Songbook‘ in 2011:
“A master class in the fine art of solo performance” – Boston Globe
“His talents as a storyteller and poet come through as loud and clear….music has few individuals left who can grab an acoustic guitar alone and
make a sold out crowd laugh, cry, feel, and dream.” – Artist Direct
“The intensity of his voice enveloped the room… a night of rare beauty.” – The Australian
“A perfectly guided tour of the nuanced poetry of songwriting led by a cordial host who gripped the focus of his audience.” – Pop Matters
Chris Cornell’s headline UK tour comes to the following venues this June; further dates for mainland Europe will be announced shortly.
SAT 16 JUNE MANCHESTER LOWRY 0843 208 6000
MON 18 JUNE LONDON PALLADIUM 020 7403 3331
TUE 19 JUNE BIRMINGHAM SYMPHONY HALL 0121 780 3333
WED 20 JUNE NEWCASTLE CITY HALL 0191 277 8030
TICKETS ON SALE 10.00AM FRIDAY 24 FEBRUARY.
Buy online at gigsandtours.com <http://gigsandtours.com/> |24 HR CC Hotline: 0844 811 0051
Currently on his acoustic ‘Songbook‘ tour of the States, Chris Cornell will be releasing an album of live Songbook tour performances on November 21st (UME). The album features songs written by Cornell as well as a few covers and you can see the fulll track listing below. In addition to being one of the most acclaimed voices in rock, Chris Cornell stands in a class of his own as a songwriter whose works have reached limitless audiences, the world over. Familiar songs emerge in a new context, showing that great songwriting translates to any idiom.
Songbook Full Track Listing:
1. As Hope and Promise Fade
2. Scar On The Sky
3. Call Me A Dog
4. Ground Zero
5. Can’t Change Me
6. I Am The Highway
7. Thank You (Led Zeppelin)
9. Wide Awake
10. Fell On Black Days
11. All Night Thing
12. Doesn’t Remind Me
13. Like A Stone
14. Black Hole Sun
15. Imagine (John Lennon)
16. The Keeper
Recently, Cornell wrote and performed ‘The Keeper’, the poignant original song for Relativity’s feature film Machine Gun Preacher (directed by Marc Forster) which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this month. The film stars Gerard Butler and is based on the true story of Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing criminal who finds faith leading him on a path to help the children of East Africa.
The song is available via iTunes and a portion of the proceeds will go to Childers’s charity, Angels of East Africa. Cornell has performed the song on The Late Show with David Letterman, PBS’s Tavis Smiley and Jimmy Kimmel Live!
You can watch the video in full below.
Chris Cornell has been heralded as one of the pioneers of the grunge era for writing a string of hits for Soundgarden, including the Grammy award-winning ‘Black Hole Sun’ and ‘Spoonman‘. In 1991, Chris formed Temple of the Dog, writing the classic song ‘Hunger Strike’ featuring a duet with Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. In 2000, Cornell joined former Rage Against The Machine members (Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk) in Audioslave and wrote a series of the band’s hits including ‘Like A Stone’, ‘Be Yourself’ and ‘Doesn’t Remind Me’. Cornell’s career as a songwriter for film has included such songs as ‘Can’t Change Me’ and ‘Mission’, from the soundtrack to Mission Impossible II as well as hit theme song ‘You Know My Name’ for James Bond thriller Casino Royale, one of the most successful installments of the spy franchise to date. His songs have been recorded by diverse artists from Johnny Cash to Alice Cooper.
As promised, here is the second part of the interview with Chris Cornell. Plenty more interesting revelations including a tease about a possible Temple Of The Dog anniversary celebration…..
PM: What inspired to do a solo acoustic tour?
CC: One day, who knows when, I came to the realisation that although I’m in a successful rock band and the music and albums are important to people, there are other musicians, Elton John comes to mind, who can sit down at a piano, perform song and it would just knock you over. He doesn’t need anything else, he’s completely autonomous. Spoonman, who we wrote a song about, could walk into a room anytime and with his spoons, talent and energy could entertain a group of people from ten to ten thousand. And there was something about that which appealed to me and made me think ‘if I can’t do that then what good am I?’ What happens when it’s the post apocalypse and we don’t have any electricity? It was just a weird thing where I felt like I can’t really call myself a musician or entertainer if I can’t pick up a guitar by myself and hold someone’s attention. Plus it was something that really terrified me. When I first quit drinking in my mid thirties I had an excess amount of energy, as you do, I had spent years anaesthetising myself. So I made a list of things I’d never done, because I was intimidated by it, and started doing those things one by one and getting up by myself was a big one so I started doing it and got over the fear of doing it right away. Then it became something people responded to positively and that I enjoyed doing. I’d sit at home and entertain myself coming up with silly songs to do covers of, which is how ‘Billie Jean’ came about.
In the context of me sitting with a guitar and singing a song, it’s something that naturally happens. In the context of a super aggressive rock band it’s not really that easy to do because there’s so much else going on. Some songs are ‘that’s a great guitar riff and who gives a shit what the guy is singing about?’ And sometimes it’s not important what the guitar is doing, it’s just there to support the vocal and the lyrics and when that happens, it’s much easier to convey the emotion of the song, there’s nothing in the way.
PM: Do you think with the Soundgarden reforming that fans with have fewer expectations with regards to your solo career?
CC: I don’t know. I already think about what expectation fans have with the new Soundgarden album and then quickly dismiss it. With the solo carer; whatever the next thing I do is, it’s going to be different to the last thing I did…unless I do another album with Timbaland (laughs).
PM: Is there anyone else you would like to collaborate with?
CC: I was going to work with Daniel Lanois when I was making ‘Euphoria Morning’ but that kind of fell apart at the last minute. But I am still haunted by the idea of working with him, I like what he does. He still makes guitar-based rock exciting and interesting.
PM: Its 20 years since Temple of the Dog album was released are you planning to anything to commemorate the event?
CC: We’ve talked about it. We’re going to do something at some point, I’m not sure when. We all have great memories of the very brief experience that it was. We only did one show ever where we played 10 songs, which was the whole album.
PM: How much did your using and sobriety inform your music?
CC: I think I talked about it when I was newly sober because that’s what you do. As a songwriter I was never someone who spent time doing it on any kind of substance other than coffee. If ever wrote anything, especially lyrically, when I was drunk or high on anything, I never kept it. I always hated it. So creatively nothing’s really changed for me. The worst period for alcohol and drugs getting out of hand to the point where I was mentally ill was in my thirties. Before that I was so wrapped up in the creative process with Soundgarden that I kind of managed being a drunk at the same time. There was only about five years where I would really do anything, I didn’t care. I know people who are drug addicts and have managed to live for decades that way. I’m glad I only had five years because it’s such a hard life and it was really hard to recover from, just mentally. I think Audioslave suffered from that because my feet hadn’t hit the ground yet. I was sober but I don’t think my brain was clear. In the last couple of years of getting fucked up, I was getting really fucked up. It took a while to gain perspective and I regret that. I regret that it affected Audioslave. It took me about five years of sobriety to even get certain memories back.
Even though I wasn’t a raging drug addict in my twenties and early thirties I was drinking all the time. I only knew life as drinking to the point of being drunk almost every day and that affected me with my relationships. Now I have a very close relationship with my wife that I’ve never actually had with another person. I never thought that I was a person that could have a relationship with another human being where I wanted to be with them all the time. I was so isolated before and I don’t blame that on the drugs and alcohol but when you take them away and you’re not fucking up your physiology you’ve got nothing else to do but figure out what the hell is wrong with you. I was essentially making myself insane and while I was insane I thought everything is normal.
PM: Why are there so few Soundgarden live albums?
CC: It’s because we haven’t got many tapes of our live shows. We brought Adam Kasper (who had worked on ‘Superunknown‘ and ‘Down on the Upside’) out on the road to record some shows with the idea of a live album and we broke up shortly after that was done. I didn’t even remember there was any recording because I was staring to get drunk all the time. Matt and Adam pulled the tapes out and started listening to them and it was just really surprisingly good. I felt like it was a really different glimpse into the band. The live versions of songs are much more expressive, moodier and darker. We started getting a lot of attention as a live band before we actually released anything and then we never released a live album, which is kind of stupid.
PM: What are Soundgarden up to at the moment?
CC: Writing new material. It’s really fun and different to anything we’ve done before. It sounds like we just took a year off, doesn’t feel like we took thirteen years off, it just feels like a brief break. Everybody has been super focussed and dedicated to getting into a room and writing music. It’s been really fun and all-inclusive. It’s really interesting to see after thirteen years what makes us sound like us. I’m not sure if I have a better handle on it than I did before. From day one when we started rehearsing for a show I realised that there’s something out of control that happens when we start to play. I’ve played the songs with other people but it’s not the same. It’s indescribable, hard to put your finger on but it has to be there and sometimes there’s too much of it.
PM: Finally can we expect any more ‘off the wall’ cover versions?
CC: So far I haven’t found anything as unusual or as interesting as ‘Billie Jean’, because it was such a retarded idea to begin with. I may just do the original version of ‘Billie Jean’ as a dance track…everyone will be happy with that!
Peter Makowski (Copyright 2011)
I’ll try to keep this relatively short and sweet. Not because it looks like the sun is coming out and it’s my day off today, but because I named Soundgarden as an all time favourite of mine in my article in the ‘When I hit rewind’ section of this site, and there is a frankly amazing interview by Pete Makowski with front man Chris Cornell in the ‘Interviews’ section. Soundgarden are in danger of taking this site over and they’ve barely lifted a finger as a band since 1997!
That said, Soundgarden’s first live album and first commercial release since ‘97’s greatest hits ‘A-Sides’ deserves a mention. It’s a collaboration of live tracks taken from their 1996 tour of the U.S which turned out to be their last until recently reforming. According to the sleeve notes, the whole tour was recorded on analogue equipment – 3 sets of 24 track mobile trucks with 24 track machines running 20 seconds apart so as not to miss a note when a tape ran out. A pretty big effort, but well worth it.
The songs captured on here show the band at their best. The sound is massive and shows the many different faces of Soundgarden: the heavy, slow, grinding Sabbath-like side, the scuzzy, punky side, the psychedelic guitars, the apocalyptic drumming, and the much talked about voice of Cornell which sometimes defies what one persons vocal chords should be capable of.
These influences are affirmed by a cover of The Stooges ‘Search And Destroy’ and The Beatles ‘Helter Skelter’ which leads straight into Soundgarden’s own ‘Boot Camp’. Two great choices as it can be easy to just lump Soundgarden’s sound with Led Zeppelin which would be very short sighted as this CD, along with any of their albums show that there is so much more to them.
All the classics are on here and they offer something more than the studio recordings. ‘Black Hole Sun’ is done as a solo effort from Chris Cornell, and ‘Jesus Christ Pose’ is frantic, fast paced, immense and enough to wake the dead! The band thunder thorough ‘Nothing To Say’ and make these huge live shows seem like a walk in the park. ‘Slaves & Bulldozers’ would put most bands live efforts to shame, such is the tightness of the bass and drums, the quality of Kim Thayil’s guitar and those incredible vocals. ‘Fell on Black Days’ and ‘Rusty Cage’ are two more fantastic songs played fantastically well live, as are ‘Burden In My Hand’ and ‘Dusty’ from the bands last album ‘Down On the Upside’.
In short, this live album successfully spans the career of Soundgarden. It’s shows the musical ability of a band at their best in the same way The Who‘s ‘Live at Leeds‘ showed just what they were capable of live. It shows that the songs translate live just as well as the studio recordings. It makes me pray that they play in the UK so I can tick them off on my wish list of bands to see before I die.
Not very short and sweet in the end! But hey, you can’t just listen to an awesome album and say ‘Yeah it’s good, go and buy it.’
The early 90s were the defining period for my musical tastes, the bands I grew up with then still shape and influence my life today. It seemed to be a never ending adventure of discovery as I was introduced, overwhelmingly at times, to the grunge era and rock music in general.
Now whilst the press of the day would argue that Pearl Jam were mere sell outs, Stone Temple Pilots just cheap grunge wannabes and any rock band on a major label had somehow lost their edge, to me it was just a never ending deluge of exciting new bands producing the kind of music that would impact on me more than I could ever have known.
Even in my naïve state however, there were certain bands that even I could recognise were a different breed. Nirvana goes without saying, one of the singularly most vital parts of my being and then there was Soundgarden, or more accurately, Chris Cornell.
Soundgarden were always a fringe band with my friends, too rock for some, not grunge enough for others but despite this, ‘that’ voice was uniformly hailed as something spectacular. The soaring anguished cries displayed on pre-Superunknown global domination never disguised that Chris Cornell was a genuinely unique voice in rock and once ‘Black Hole Sun’ and ‘Fell On black Days’ were released, well that just confirmed it. Few will argue that he is one of the greatest rock vocalists of a generation.
Seemingly at the height of it all, 9th April 1997 to be precise, Soundgarden split and all eyes turned to Cornell to see what he would do next. An eclectic solo career followed, two solo albums, one ‘supergroup’, a James Bond theme and then ‘that’ third album with Timbaland. No one can accuse Chris Cornell of playing it safe.
Then, the impossible happened, a Cornell ‘Tweet’ announced the news that Soundgarden were reforming and a new ‘Best Of’ and Live album are currently paving the way for a potential new studio set…. Eventually.
So here we are in 2011 and I find myself with the opportunity to help Pete Makowski write an interview piece with Cornell that will grace the pages of Mojo. 14 year old me would not believe it.
Having mutually agreed to let Pete go on his own to LA (or I was never invited, I forget which) some 3 hour interview was whittled down to a Mojo friendly spread….. but the story doesn’t end there. Here you can read the bits that never made the magazine; here is the full transcript from that sunny afternoon in LA!
Pete Makowski (PM) meets Chris Cornell (CC) Part One:
PM: You were quite a rebellious teenager, did Soundgarden help you express your aggression
CC: Absolutely. And also it was a source of discovery because the band started immediately doing things that I’d never heard on a record. It was music that made me feel something that I had never experienced listening to another band. It was something very special and I recognised that right away.
PM: You started off as a drummer what persuaded you to pick up a guitar?
CC: I learnt to play guitar simply to write songs and parts for Soundgarden and I was immediately encouraged by everyone else in the band, when I would come up with something they liked it. I never learned anyone else’s songs on guitar, I simply came up with somewhat unorthodox ideas, which I feel now was a good thing.
PM: In the early days some parts of the media labelled you as a heavy metal band
CC: The heavy metal part was always a curse of timing because when we signed up with a major record label it was almost to early for them to understand what to do with a band like Soundgarden. There was a period of crisis where we were presented alongside commercial metal bands of the time and it felt very self-conscious and it also felt that, to some degree, we owed homage to the principles behind punk rock. To then be in magazines alongside Poison was challenging.
What does that mean? It can’t make us sell-outs just by the fact that we end up there, because we certainly didn’t change our music to achieve it, ever. If anything Soundgarden were probably the most individual, we never let any of our producers have any idea about anything. We allowed them to be in the studio because it stopped the record company people coming. We were extremely focussed on making records we wanted to make because we liked them. Now looking back on it, it’s all nonsense. You are who you are and unless you wind up onstage playing somebody else’s songs there’s nothing to worry about.
Our big moment of truth was when we were offered a slot opening up for Skid Row and we didn’t know what to do with that. Was that good or bad? And what happened was we toured with them and their audience all bought Soundgarden records. You can’t decide who you want your audience to be it’s not fair to judge an audience if they’ve never heard your music, you can’t say they’re not smart enough or cool enough, they’ve just never heard it. With Skid Row it was a great example, we went on stage and were who we were and all the fears of association with a band might put us in a light we maybe uncomfortable with was silly. The important thing was that thousands of rock fans from city to city saw that there was an alternative to the music that they’d heard and they responded.
PM: What did Soundgarden set out to achieve?
CC: Our attitude was, of course that we know who we are, we like who we are and we want to reach as big of an audience as we can reach. And we had been encouraged from the very beginning that we could be the new face of rock music, regardless of what you wanted to call it. The record companies attitude was more ‘we don’t really know what this is’. At that time (89/90) metal was most successful musical genre there was so we were put in those magazines and video shows and also on the Indie music slots. We were one of the only bands that got that.
They would put ‘Jesus Christ Pose’ on Headbangers Ball, probably one of the most aggressive things on an already aggressive show and then on 120 minutes alongside Sonic Youth and The Cure. To me that was a sign that we had something special and different. Now as I’ve done other things in my career it can be confusing for a fan of any one specific thing that I’ve done. And I get it to some degree I’m sympathetic but I’ve got to point out that as a little kid listening to The Beatles I loved ‘Helter Skelter’ but I loved ‘Eleanor Rigby’ just as much.
PM: How come you were such a huge fan of the Beatles?
CC: There was no cultural reason for me to listen to that band because they had already broken up by the time I discovered them; I was too young about nine years old. They were where I learned what a rock band was supposed to be; sing any way you want, sing about anything you want and write a diverse selection of songs from super whispery and personal like ‘Julia’ to something like ‘Helter Skelter’ which is over the top aggressive and screamy.
That’s what being a rock musician is and the closest thing to a genre that The Beatles could fit into in terms of their entire career is pop because they had so many hits.
PM: So why is harder to have the freedom to move today?
CC: I don’t know if there’s a support for the attitude of creative freedom. I think there was a time in the late sixties and very early seventies that the more you pushed the envelope, the more you experimented that was the norm, which was what you had to do. If you didn’t do that then you had no credibility. If you read reviews of the bands of that time, some of them were brutal. Even The Beatles when they first came out, the idea that they just played guitar, bass and drums was considered passé and they hadn’t even started yet.
PM: Why did Soundgarden split up?
CC: I think with the benefit of hindsight it feels now like it all happened perfectly. The biggest obstacle for us has been the cyclical nature of the music business. We never did well with schedules and projectives. We started out as a garage band just playing shows whose concern after three years of doing that was are we ever going to release anything. Once that happened we just kept bringing out records and having new release dates and having trying to meet them…. And most of the time we didn’t.
Rather than going into a room and saying ‘let’s write a song because we enjoy each other’s company and the creative process’ it was ‘we have a tour in February so we better finish the album’ (laughs). And that’s just not why we started and I also don’t think it’s a particularly a good way to make music. So consequently we never betrayed that goal in writing songs and making albums. Ultimately we were always late, we missed tours, we missed release dates and there was always pressure hanging over us. I know we’re grown up human beings and it’s the real world where there are schedules but I think it’s the artist’s responsibility to themselves to say ‘fuck you!’ to that and we did that. But at some point I think it was too much for it and us was time to not be Soundgarden anymore and have a break from that.
The music business being the necessary evil, necessary component to what we did…we just didn’t deal with it very well. Now that we’ve reformed and we’re being creative and writing new music, seeing how that feels I can see how much we just needed a break.
We never had a personal falling out. I think that when a band breaks up because one guy hit another with a vase and put him hospital then there’s always that need to get together soon because it’s nothing to do with the existential crisis of what are we doing and why are we doing it. It’s always something else, because the people are arseholes or something. With us there was never that need for personal reparation y’know ‘I love you guys let’s get back together so we can repair this and not feel bad about our legacy.’ We didn’t have any negative feelings towards each other.
Getting back together felt as natural as us forming the band in the first place. It wasn’t based on a tour offer or anything like that. We decided at some point as time was moving on and you could go into a store and see baby clothes with a Ramones logo that we do have a responsibility to our legacy. We had to pay attention to the fact that we had fans that are still fans that might want to go on a website and read about what the individual members are doing, order a t-shirt or buy a record.
Essentially our discography and everything attached to it was being completely ignored by everyone. There was no catalogue promotion, there was no Soundgarden website. So we got back to have discussions about serving the fan base and as soon as we started doing that after the first meeting it just felt really great. That led to the discussion of ‘maybe we should get in a room and play songs’. There was an idea of us going out and playing a couple of songs at the Sub Pop anniversary, which we didn’t get to do. But it all happened in a much faster and comprehensive way than I would have imagined, because I never really thought about it. But once we were in a room things kind of happened fast…probably not by other people’s standards.
PM: Were you wary of people thinking that this reunion is just cash in?
CC: Well it wasn’t because we can control what we do. We didn’t reform and then do a world tour followed by a rushed studio album, it was obvious that we wouldn’t send that message out. I mean that there were a number of opinions when it was first announced that we were going to reform, those are murky waters anyway.
PM: Would you be happy if you didn’t have to talk about making music again
CC: Yes, right now I feel talked out about it in a way. I think when there’s a new album coming out and you talk about it, you can’t do much more than demystify it. And if I talk about music in general, some of it is my perception at that moment, there’s a million different angles and music is kind of subjective anyway.
Music for me is a lot more immediate than anything else; other stuff seems to be hidden behind a wall of fog. With Soundgarden we’ve been working on some songs that we’ve never played live and that would rekindle memories of writing and arranging them in the first place, what room that we were in, what I was thinking. And it’s not always good, sometimes it’s shitty and I don’t want to go back. Memories for me aren’t always good; I don’t always like looking back.
PM: Do you feel that Audioslave lived up to the sum of its parts?
CC: I some ways it transcended that. I think the general expectations was that it would be some kind of simplified Led Zeppelin; basic Rage riffs with me screeching over the top of them. And ‘Cochise’ is kind of like that, but the rest was not what any of the fans or even the band expected.
There were a couple of times where I think it was bogged down by a lot of discussions about a lot of things and it wasn’t as fluid as I wanted it to be about things business wise. But a lot of that wasn’t about the band. Making the music was easy, getting the business side together to put it out that was difficult.
I look at my time with Audioslave as being as important as anything else I did. To me, in a sense, it was like another Temple of the Dog that’s why I even entertained the idea of getting into a room with them. TOTD was the first time I did something like that outside of Soundgarden and I didn’t even know I could have a relationship like that with some other guys. And it made me realise that later on in any point of my career I shouldn’t just immediately say no to any opportunities like that.
PM: Did you feel a weight of expectation when you released Euphoria Morning?
CC: I guess there was anxiety because it was the first time I released an album where it was going to be my fault no matter what. I just wanted to write songs that I liked as long as it didn’t remind of the process of writing songs for Soundgarden. I just wanted to do something completely different because I had been doing that for so long. And that’s what I did. After that I didn’t worry so much about what I would do as a solo artist.
By the time I did this album I had got a lot of phone calls from a lot of the obvious guitar players, European DJ’s, just a huge cross section of musicians all with ideas with what they wanted me to do and I said no to all of them. At that time it was kind of important to make my album and not do anything outside of that.
PM: How did you feel about the mixed reaction to Scream?
CC: I think time will help because it will help take it out of the context of my career. I still put it on in my car and listen to it beginning to the end; I love it. It’s a fantastic record. I can understand why people have a hard time with it in relation to the rest of my career and what I do. But what confuses me is that how can anybody who has been acquainted with my whole career say this is what I do? If you even just take a look at Soundgardens’ major label releases there’s much going on musically and stylistically. Having said that ‘Scream’ is still a dramatic departure from anything else I ever did (laughs).
(C) 2011 Peter Makowski.
Part Two follows shortly….. come back to find out more about Temple Of The Dog and the future of Soundgarden.