King’s X icon Doug Pinnick discussed Soundgarden in a new interview with Detroit’s WRIF.
“There was thing called drop-D tuning we did in ’88 when our first record came out. And almost the whole record was drop-D tuning.
“Someone told me one time, they said, ‘The quickest way to get everybody to mimic you is to play something that any kid can play when they pick up a guitar immediately.’ And drop-D tuning, when you pick up your guitar, you can play with one finger up and down the neck,” he explained. “All of a sudden you’ve got Helmet and you’ve got — down the line, all these bands that were playing two-chord drop-D songs. And then Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam, they’ll all tell you that we influenced them.
“I know Chris Cornell [late Soundgarden singer], and me and him were neck-and-neck sometimes writing songs. We’d talk about it. Somebody called me up one time and said, ‘You heard the new Soundgarden tune?’ And I go, ‘Why?’ And they said, ‘It sounds like a King’s X ripoff.’ I go, ‘What was it?’ They said, ”Outshined’.’ And I’m going, ‘Yeah, it has that vibe.’ Somebody said ‘Spoonman’ sounds like a song Ty [Tabor] wrote. And we were making those records at the same time.
“I remember talking to Chris when we were making the ‘Dogman’ record [and] they were making ‘Superunknown’, and we were laughing about how high we used to sing. And we made an agreement to sing lower on the record. And we got ‘Black Hole Sun’ and ‘Flies And Blue Skies’. So I think that me and him, I’m sure, we influenced each other and pushed each other.
“I remember when ‘Gretchen [Goes To Nebraska]’ came out, we went on tour. And I remember coming home after seven months and turned on ‘Headbangers Ball’ and every band was drop-D-tuned and they were all new — except for Bon Jovi. All the rest of them, because of this whole new thing that had happened. And I’m going, ‘My goodness, they’re doing kind of what we do.’ And the screamers had disappeared, and those singers that sang real high to glam rock were gone. And people were grooving again and they were singing lower melodies. And that’s kind of what we were doing when we first came out. So if that was an inspiration to people, yeah, I’ll take that, ’cause we were just imitating people that we heard. [Laughs]”