Kim Thayil Reveals Truth About Chris Cornell & Andy Wood


Kim Thayil emphasized that Mother Love Bone’s Andy Wood was the one who encouraged the Soundgarden leader to be more productive and not overthink the creative process, pointing out that Chris Cornell used to be “self-conscious” about composing.

The terrible and beautiful story of the friendship between Andy Wood and Chris Cornell is told. The two musicians were well-known for being best friends, housemates, and mentors to one another, with one always encouraging the other to improve their skill.

After participating in Chris Cornell’s victorious ode to Andy, Temple of the Dog, the remaining Mother Love Bone members and Eddie Vedder sowed the seeds of that friendship that eventually bore fruit and became another iconic Seattle band, Pearl Jam.

Speaking to Pete Thorn in a recent interview, Kim Thayil said that Andy Wood should be credited for teaching Chris Cornell not to be self-conscious (transcribed by Ultimate Guitar):

“This would be attributed to Chris’s relationship with Andy, the idea of writing material and sharing it with the band or the audience, and not becoming too attached to it.”

“That was Andy’s attitude. Andy — Chris’s roommate and very close friend — was just really prolific. He would sit there with his keyboards or his recorder, and he’d record song ideas, little parts, or complete songs. He’d document them and give them titles — and a lot of them were really bad. Some were okay, and some were just brilliant as hell. His whole point was, ‘I wrote it, I’m gonna document it. If they don’t like it — they don’t like it.'”

Nearly the whole Soundgarden camp was the complete opposite of the late Mother Love Bone genius:

“Chris was more self-conscious; I was very self-conscious; Hiro [Yamamoto, bassist] was very self-critical. Sometimes, we wouldn’t even present an idea to the band, because we would second-guess ourselves.”

Kim also said that he read interviews where teaching Chris not to doubt himself is attributed to certain producers, but asserts that the late Mother Love Bone frontman is to be credited for it:

“It was Andy, I guarantee it. I read a number of things that attribute this to other people and producers, but it wasn’t [them]. Chris learned this before ‘Superunknown’; before ‘Badmotorfinger’; before Temple of the Dog.”

“When we lost Andy, Chris took into account the beauty of this person and his creativity, and the fact that he was so prolific and that he’s regarded and revered and missed.”

“And that itself motivated Chris, in two ways. One was to talk to me about [asking] Ben [Shepherd, bassist] to join the band because he’s from the same neighborhood as Andy… The second thing was that Chris became really prolific.”