Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil says Chris Cornell tribute show was like “an open wound”

The guitarist's sentiments around the event were bittersweet

In a new interview published today (September 10), Soundgarden‘s lead guitarist Kim Thayil has discussed the experience of performing at the I Am The Highway tribute show for Chris Cornell last year.

The I Am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell show, organised by the deceased Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman’s wife, Vicky Cornell, took place in Los Angeles in January 2019.

In an interview with Kerrang!, Thayil recalled the event initially with warm nostalgia around performing again with bandmates Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd. “The best thing about it was playing those songs again with Matt and Ben,” he said.

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He continued to share bittersweet sentiments about Soundgarden’s participation at the event.

“It was picking at an open wound, emotionally, and nobody was that thrilled to do it,” Thayil said.

“The takeaway was the band being together with our family, crew and friends. To see that family together again was love. Everyone was happy and teary-eyed.”

“It was the Soundgarden family together, doing what Soundgarden does and honouring and missing our beloved, departed member.”

Thayil concluded by saying that outside of that sense of dedication, the “celebrity nature, promotion and focus was bullshit” and that Soundgarden were aware of a lack of intimacy putting on the event.

“We did it for each other, to support Chris’ legacy,” he said.

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As well as Soundgarden and Audioslave, members of Cornell’s other band Temple of the Dog, Foo Fighters, Metallica, Josh Homme and Fiona Apple among others, paid tribute to the late musician.

Thayil and his remaining Soundgarden bandmates (Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler and Metallica’s Robert Trujillo taking on bass duties) paid tribute to Cornell – who died by suicide in 2017 – performing five songs with different singers.

The band’s set featured performances of their hits ‘Cochise’ with Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell, ‘Be Yourself’ with Juliette Lewis, ‘Set It Off’, with Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath), ‘Like a Stone’, with Brandi Carlile and ‘Show Me How to Live’ with Dave Grohl.

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