Chris Cornell Reveals Who Really Created Grunge Scene


Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell discussed the Seattle Grunge scene in a recent interview with Full Metal Jackie. Alternative Nation transcribed his comments.

“We had a lot of that sort of talk leading up to it, before a lot of the other Seattle bands existed. Some of the people were there in different incarnations, but we were kind of the band where you would hear this whisper of, ‘Wow you could do exactly what you do, but it could be in arenas. This could work on a commercial level.’ That went back as far as the mid 80’s really, so we always took it with a grain of salt, and we were always cautious about what that could mean. We even continued to make indie records when we had major label offers on the table. We had these guys telling us we were stupid not to sign, and we said no, we have our own audience, we don’t need you. So for us, I felt like there were enough people saying that it was possible, maybe it was.

It wasn’t until Sub Pop kind of seemed to have the vision to draw a lot of these bands together, and in a sense as a label, give it an identity and a name, where I felt like oh, this can be a scene that can do that. Then I realized oh, there’s even a lot more power in the notion of it being marketed as a scene that includes geography. So it’s not just a label with a name, and that name as an identifiable logo, it’s also a place, and it’s a place that has never been identified with multiple bands before. It was almost sort of a mini British Invasion happening, and that’s when I knew we were actually part of something, and part of something that would change music. We had already been kind of changing it a little bit, but as a collective, then there was a notion where it just happened overnight.”

Temple of the Dog are reissuing their debut album, but frontman Chris Cornell doesn’t think the reissue crazy culture is necessarily a good thing for music. He discussed this in a recent Guardian interview.

“Companies figured out that the easiest way to make money was to reissue records that the accounting department had paid for years ago and already made a profit,” he said. “Every band is fucking doing anniversary projects. It’s the punctuation mark at the end of the record industry.”

He said when Temple of the Dog made their first album, it was done for the right reasons.

“We made the album in a really short period of time with almost no money, and without rehearsing,” Cornell said. “It worked because our hearts were in the right place and there were no expectations.”

In fact, Cornell says that when they delivered the Temple album to A&M Records, “they seemed to treat it as though it was a vanity project for me.”