Prior to Chris Cornell‘s death in May 2017, Soundgarden had been working on a new album, the follow-up to the grunge legends’ 2012 comeback effort, King Animal. Speaking with Rolling Stone, guitarist Kim Thayil says that material might see the light of day.
“We were working on an album before everything came to a head,” Thayil says, referring to Cornell’s death, which was ruled a suicide.
He continues, “So we have some pretty strong demo material that we’re still trying to finish developing and accessing some of the recording material, to be able to flesh it out.”
While we wait for that to happen, a career-spanning Cornell box set will be released on November 16. Thayil, who helped put the collection together, says he wants it to represent “the breadth of [Cornell’s] career, and the large spectrum of stylistic approaches to songwriting and the growth that was shown.”
“Obviously Chris isn’t there to put in his two cents, so we have to try to appraise what his feelings and sentiments will be,” Thayil explains. “There are some cases where I remember distinctly that Chris didn’t like this song, or he didn’t like this record, or he didn’t like this particular version, so it’s like, ‘Let’s don’t use it.'”
Presented largely in chronological order, the box set lets you follow Cornell lyrics as they become “more sophisticated” and “poetic,” Thayil says.
Many of Cornell’s songs, such as Superunknown‘s “Like Suicide,” contain dark themes and titles. Thayil chose not to include those songs, given Cornell’s cause of death.
“One of my concerns was just making sure there weren’t any difficult lyric or themes. Just keep that off,” Thayil says. “There’s lyrics, or titles that may not be appropriate in this context. That might be difficult for friends, family.”
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