Grunge may be so two decades ago, but Soundgarden is determined to bring the past alive.
Last summer, the group played shows at Lollapalooza and in Seattle, its first since splitting up in 1997. The band -- singer Chris Cornell, drummer Matt Cameron, bassist Ben Shepherd and guitarist Kim Thayil -- played in other acts during its time apart, with Cornell singing in Audioslave and Cameron hooking up with Pearl Jam.
But now, Soundgarden is officially recording new music and back on tour, which will stop at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater Saturday. Front man Cornell recently discussed reuniting with his old mates and what's changed after almost 15 years apart.
What's it been like to work together after such a long break?It's been great. It didn't really seem like it was that big of a deal, in a way. Even though we had kind of a prolonged break, it didn't feel like it was that long. And then we just got right back into playing music and it didn't seem like that much time had gone by or that much had changed. It felt really good and natural.
Is there any pressure on the group to perform after the break or is the atmosphere more relaxed?I don't think we'd be doing it if it wasn't relaxed. There has to be some aspect of that. That's why we really stopped being Soundgarden -- because it seemed like the business side of the band had kind of taken on its own life. I think it's important to look forward and to look forward in a way that's confident and relaxed as opposed to worrying about the past.
How have you tried to avoid tying yourself to one kind of music or sound?One of the main factors, I suppose, is that everyone in the band writes songs, which isn't always the case. Most of the time it's not the case. Over the years, we've written songs as a group, sort of collaborating on one idea, and rearranging things as a group. We've been doing that a lot now, but we'd also all bring in separate song ideas. When you've got a band of four people where everyone's bringing in their own material and different things that they think would be a Soundgarden song, it's a lot of variety.