Chris Cornell Reveals Why Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains & Nirvana Sound Similar


Chris Cornell discussed the early days of Soundgarden and Grunge in a recent interview with Mike McCready on Pearl Jam Radio. Alternative Nation transcribed his comments.

“I remember the first couple of weeks of me, Kim [Thayil], and Hiro [Yamamoto] writing songs. It was one of those brand new band things, where we wrote probably 10 to 15 songs in a few weeks, really quickly. I got a sense of the sound of the three of us, and that it had its own unique identity, and it wasn’t like anything else. I just remember that as being this really euphoric moment, that we were inventing our own thing. That was kind of what it was about, and that’s what it was about I felt in the Seattle music scene at the time. There were predecessors that we loved, like the Blackouts or the U-Men, bands doing something that you could relate to, other indie bands at the time, but they still kind of had their own thing. That’s what we wanted to be a part of, we wanted to be a part of the sort of U.S./U.K. post punk indie scene.”

He also discussed the ingredients to the success of the Seattle Grunge scene.

“I think there was a lot more to that scene that was happening than what people sort of understand it to be. I think what it became known for is chiefly four bands: Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains. That’s all sort of guitar heavy, and is also sort of known for more maybe what it leaves out, or had left out at the time, than what was in it, necessarily.

But there was a lot more going on, Feast was always a good example I thought. Initially as a band, they shared lead vocals between a guy and a girl, and when the guy wasn’t singing, he would play this kind of free jazz sax, but over these huge riffs. There was something to that that I felt was in a little bit of everything in that scene. Over time I think it deteriorated, as all scenes do, but it was pretty exciting, and I also don’t think that any of us knew that it wasn’t the same way in every other city our size in the U.S., but it really wasn’t. We didn’t really discover that until we started touring.”