BECAUSE YOU ASKED FOR IT, HERE ARE MY SPECULATIVE MUSINGS ON THE SOUNDGARDEN REUNION
Unless your New Years Eve revelry landed you in county lock-up or somewhere else without Internet access (or you just own an iPhone), you’ve likely heard the fantastic albeit unsurprising news that SOUNDGARDEN HAS REUNITED. Chris Cornell announced it precisely at the stroke of midnight (Eastern Standard Time) via his often bizarre and unintentionally hilarious Twitter account:
The 12 year break is over & school is back in session. Sign up now. Knights of the Soundtable ride again! www.soundgardenworld.com
So Soundgarden’s back together. What the hell does that mean?
Well, we can pretty much guarantee that, at a minimum, Soundgarden will play some shows in 2010. Surely the folks from the Coachella festival have been or will be in touch to secure the band for this year’s installment, and they’ll probably end up on a few other such lineups for events like the U.K.’s Download weekender. Ideally, the band could follow in the footsteps of the reunited Jane’s Addiction or the reconstituted Alice In Chains, which did some smaller warm-up shows at tiny U.S. clubs before embarking on a full-blown tour. I’d proffer that Soundgarden could sell out mid-sized venues in most major and minor markets, and potentially a few large venues in some cities if timed right. However, if they pull a Faith No More and limit their 2010 appearances to Europe and other places that aren’t part of the United States of America, I’m likely to go Observe-And-Report-Seth-Rogen postal.
But what about the music, maaaaaaaan? Well, Cornell mentioned in a Rolling Stone interview last year that the band was considering both a box set and a B-sides collection, the latter of which would be fucking awesome provided that it includes currently unavailable tunes from old singles released on indie labels. “H.I.V. Baby”, anyone? Of course, the big question on every Soundgarden fan’s lips is whether or not they’ll record and release some new tunes, either as bonus tracks for said boxset or as part of a proper full-length. Alice In Chains didn’t exactly dazzle this grunge-ager with last year’s Black Gives Way To Blue, but I really believe that Soundgarden could pull it off. Since the breakup, Kim Thayil’s output has been limited to guest appearances on releases from Southern Lord artists and a stint in Jello Biafra’s fleeting No WTO Combo (as I documented here in 2008), so he’s gotta have some riffs stored up in his virtual “rainy day” jar. And this is the exactly same lineup that gave us Badmotorfinger and Superunknown, two of the greatest hard rock albums of the 1990s!
So what about the band’s non-Soundgarden projects? Well, I’m not exactly going out on a limb when I posit that Pearl Jam wont be extensively touring or recording in 2010, since drummer Matt Cameron will be unavailable. (A handful of European dates are planned for the summer, and though it seems unlikely that Pearl Jam would play without Cameron after all these years, it’s not inconceivable.) Cornell’s planned rock rework of the Timbaland produced aural atrocity known as Scream will likely be shelved, but that’s probably for the best. As for Ben Shepherd, nobody knows or really cares what he’s been up to since the breakup because, well, he’s a fucking bassist.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, that Audioslave reunion is still on for 2012, just as the Mayans predicted.