Soundgarden, alongside Green River, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam and Screaming Trees, are considered one of the foremost members of the grunge movement in rock music that took place in Seattle in the early 1990s.
Pearl Jam’s 10 and Nirvana’s Nevermind, both released in 1991, were arguably the records that put grunge on the map, but Soundgarden’s Superunknown (1994) was a critical and commercial smash, hitting number one in the US Billboard charts and spawning three top ten singles, and immediately established them as one of the powerhouses of the genre.
In 1997, after an estimated 21-million album sales worldwide, the group broke up. The band’s fanbase remained strong, so when a tweet from frontman Chris Cornell hinted that a reunion was on the cards, they reacted with considerable excitement.
The problem? That wasn’t actually what he said.
The Knights Of The Soundtable Cornell was referring to was actually the band’s official fanclub, which they were about to resurrect.
The good news? Cornell and the rest of the band were so overwhelmed by the response to the tweet that they decided to regroup, first with a performance in their Seattle hometown in April, 2010, followed by a headline performance at the Lollapalooza music festival in August.
Explains guitarist Kim Thayil explains the part that Twitter played in this week’s Kerrang! magazine:
“I spent a lot of time trying to explain to my friends that we weren’t back together then!”, says Thayil. “My mother called and said, ‘We’ve heard the news, why didn’t you tell us?’
“We had neglected our legacy and our fans, so we were just starting the fan club up again. Of course, that tweet generated a lot of interest and my phone was ringing off the hook with people offering us shows. We turned most of them down, but thought it would be fun to play that show in Seattle and eventually Lollapalooza. It was only around then that there was talk about doing some new material.”
In February, the band announced via their official website that their goal for 2011 was to make a new album.
“Over the past few months, we’ve been busy jamming, writing and hanging out together – exploring the creative aspect of being Soundgarden. It feels great. We have some cool new songs that we are going to record very soon. Thank you for all of the support!”
In March, Cornell confirmed that the record would consist of material that was “90 per cent new”, plus some updated versions of older ideas. An album of live material recorded during the West Coast leg of their 1996 tour, Live On I5, was released on March 22.