Comment on this artist

Soundgarden Biography

"When I think of Soundgarden, I think of a sound, I think of one entity, one organic thing," says singer and guitarist Chris Cornell, "but I guess that the exciting part is that it's always been really varied."

Hailed as grunge innovators, Soundgarden redefined rock music for a generation. In the 80s and 90s, the band's mesmerising soundscapes and compelling lyrics seduced audiences hungry for originality. It was a sound rooted deeply within the wild landscape of the Pacific North West - an atmosphere which still resonates strongly for Cornell. "The band is dripping with it", he says. "that indescribable longing. It's not about the society, it's not about the people, it's not about the city. It's some other thing."

That elusive 'other thing' pervades Soundgarden's new album 'King Animal', recorded close to their roots in Seattle and released November 13 2012. Over a year in the making, it promises to continue the musical evolution we anticipate from one of the world's most groundbreaking bands. One song, the yearning 'Taree', is a hymn to the wilderness - "my love song to the natural side of the north west where I grew up," as Cornell explains. "It was easy to feel like we were growing up in this strange, mystical place." By contrast, riotous album opener 'Been Away Too Long' is a doubled-edged blast of homecoming celebration and urban angst.

Soundgarden had been away since 1997, when its four members amicably agreed to put the band to rest while they pursued other projects. But by 2009 they'd decided to work together again. Rehearsals for a world tour swiftly turned into songwriting sessions. "It isn't really a matter of reinventing ourselves for a new chapter," says Cornell. "There's quite a bit of natural progression in just living life for 15 years....our lives progressed as they would have done if we'd still been together. We were just catching up."

The band's unique alchemy reasserted itself and ideas flowed freely, with some songs still under construction while others were already being mixed. "There's a certain amount of trust...that things are going to work out, and that songs are going to appear out of nowhere. The first day we started, everybody just would play a part or an idea or a song arrangement that they had, and it started going from there," recalls Cornell. "We had a studio engineer recording all our rehearsals and a few songs actually came out of that. The song 'Rowing' - Ben [Shepherd] played this incredible bass ad-lib part and because it was recorded, I went home and looped it and wrote a whole song to it. I've learned over the years that following Ben -- or Matt, or Kim - down these moments of creative brilliance is always a good idea."

'King Animal' can be explosive, as in 'Blood On The Valley Floor' ("the quintessential, perfect, heavy Soundgarden song"), nightmarish ('Worse Dreams') or wistful ('Halfway There'), leading us through changing sonic landscapes that can embrace both the jazz inflections of 'Black Saturday' and the driving simplicity of feral rocker 'Attrition'. The subject matter is broad - Kim Thayil's lyrics for 'Non-State Actor' are an incisive and cynical take on the powers behind political thrones, while Cornell's bruised and introspective 'Bones of Birds' explores the terrors and vulnerabilities of parenthood. "Having children forces you to look past your own mortality," says Cornell. "How loss is going to affect them, even long after I'm gone."

Soundgarden remain a truly 'alternative' band in an age when the word has been devalued to just another genre label. Though firmly rooted in their shared sense of place, they continue to be instinctive pathfinders. "I don't think we've ever had to find a compass and redirect ourselves to the north," says Cornell. That's never happened to us, and it certainly didn't happen to us this time."

Official Bio

Back to top

Soundgarden Picture Gallery

soundgarden in concert 190913
soundgarden in concert 190913
soundgarden in concert 190913
soundgarden in concert 190913
soundgarden in concert 190913

More Soundgarden Pictures

Back to top

The Latest Soundgarden News

Campaign Launched To Save Mixing Board Used By Rock Icons

18th April 2014

Owners of a Seattle, Washington-based recording studio have launched an online crowdfunding campaign in a bid to repair a mixing...

Sasquatch! Music Festival's Second Weekend Axed

22nd March 2014

Organisers of the Sasquatch! Music Festival have scrapped plans to hold a second weekend event in 2014 that was set...

Taylor Momsen Wants To Write With Noel Gallagher

22nd March 2014

Taylor Momsen wants to write a song with Noel Gallagher. The Pretty Reckless singer is a self-confessed Oasis fan and...

Nine Inch Nails & Soundgarden To Tour Together

17th March 2014

Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden have become the latest rock supergroups to plan a summer tour (14).The groups will hit...

Twenty Years On, Nine Inch Nails And Soundgarden Embark On Anniversary Tour

16th March 2014

Attention Nine Inch Nails fans, there’s finally some news for you. Well, for the North American bunch at least –...

More Soundgarden News

Back to top

Soundgarden Reviews

Soundgarden - Live on 1-5 Album Review

28th March 2011

Formed in the early 1980s, Soundgarden are widely regarded as being pioneers of the grunge...

Soundgarden - Telephantasm Album Review

26th November 2010

When Chris Cornell tweeted about 'The Knights of the Sound Table' riding again last new...

More Soundgarden Reviews

Back to top

Soundgarden Festivals


7th June 2014


20th June 2014

Big Day Out

17th January 2014

Download Festival

13th June 2014

Rock Am Ring

5th June 2014

More Soundgarden Festivals

Back to top

The Latest Soundgarden Press Releases

Soundgarden Announce Winter 2013 Tour

12th November 2012

Soundgarden have announced their Winter 2013 North American tour dates including two-night...

Soundgarden Reveal Full Details Of New Album 'King Animal'

18th September 2012

Seattle's Soundgarden will release 'King Animal' on November 12th 2012, the band...

Soundgarden Releases Telephantasm On September 27th 2010

4th August 2010

Recently reunited Soundgarden will release their first collection of music since 1996 in the...

More Soundgarden Press Releases

Back to top


Subscribe to this news alert service to receive news and reviews on

Unsubscribe | Unsubscribe All