Soundgarden look set to reform after a 12-year hiatus. The US rockers, who disbanded in 1997 following tensions in the band, have put an announcement on their website, Soundgardenworld.com, suggesting that they are set to gear up again soon.
“The 12 year break is over and school is back in session,” read the Twitter message from frontman Chris Cornell, pictured here in 1995. “Knights of the Soundtable ride again!” Pic: PA Photos
Leading lights of the grunge scene, Seattle’s Soundgarden were pivotal in the development of indie label Sub Pop, who later went on to sign Nirvana. Soundgarden ultimately sold 20 million albums worldwide. Their biggest hit was ‘Black Hole Sun’, taken from 1994’s breakthrough album, ‘Superunknown’.
Soundgarden’s career mirrored that of sometime labelmates Nirvana – their breakthrough album ‘Badmotorfinger’ came out just a few weeks after ‘Nevermind’, in October 1991, and the two bands even briefly shared a member (though not simultaneously), guitarist Jason Everman.
The band was named after an art installation in Seattle’s Sand Point Park. The pipe sculpture is said to produce sounds when wind whistles through its hollow structure. Guitarist Kim Thayil (pictured here, in 1996) explains: “It’s a name that conjures up powerful visual images.” Pic: PA Photos
Frontman Chris Cornell has had a successful career outside of Soundgarden. As well as fronting Audioslave – essentially Rage Against The Machine with him on vocals instead of Zack de la Rocha – as a solo star he co-wrote and performed the theme song ‘You Know My Name’ for the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale.
The group traces it origins to The Shemps, a covers band that performed around Seattle in the early 80s and featured both Chris Cornell and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. They morphed into Soundgarden in 1984. Originally, in addition to singing, Chris Cornell played drums.
Cornell is not the only member of Soundgarden to join other bands. Matt Cameron was drummer with Pearl Jam from 1998. Meanwhile, Kim Thayil – Number 100 in Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time – played guitar for Probot, Dave Grohl’s heavy metal side-project. Pic: Press
Metallica are big Soundgarden fans. When the former band headlined US Lollapalooza tour in 1996, they insisted Soundgarden were added to the bill. Pic: PA Photos
‘Down On The Upside’, released in 1996, was Soundgarden’s fifth and final album. It was kept from the top spot in the US by The Fugees’ ‘The Score’.
On April 9th 1997, the band broke up, citing the classic ‘creative differences’. Drummer Matt Cameron claimed: “No matter how much success you’re having, you can’t continue working together if you can’t communicate”. Though in 1998, Kim Thayil appeared to leave the door open for a reunion: “As long as we’re all alive and kicking and enjoying ourselves, nothing’s over”. Pic: PA Photos