Soundgarden’s social media pages have stayed active with tribute posts since Chris Cornell’s death in May 2017, but Kim Thayil made his first post since the tragedy on Thursday. Thayil wrote, “Greetings from across the U.S.A. The MC50 are working hard and playing loud!! Peace, Love, Power and Soul!”
Kim Thayil discussed the night Chris Cornell died for the first time in a new Billboard interview discussing his return to the stage with MC50.
Thayil says that prior to getting the MC50 call he’d been “up and down, in and out” in the wake of Cornell’s death. “Everything has improved day by day,” he says. “Obviously there’s still emotional shadows and ghosts. Like anything else it’s something that improves with time.” He says he, Cameron and bassist Ben Shepherd “still talk to each other frequently and text and call and check in on each other and see how we’re doing. I imagine we will do more things in the future, one of which will be Matt sitting in on a few more MC50 shows. I’m sure I’ll do stuff with Ben as well.” Thayil does, however, dismiss notions that anything was visibly amiss with Cornell during Soundgarden’s May 17, 2017 concert at the Fillmore Detroit prior to his suicide.
“I thought the show was good,” Thayil says. “I remember Chris had just gotten in (to town) and was a little tired and his voice was a little rough, but by about the fourth or fifth song it kicked in and then it was just, like, super amazing — beautiful, clear and strong and, I thought, particularly emotive.” Thayil adds that a moment of the show when Cornell was absent from the stage for a protracted period when the guitar he’d be playing was out of tune and a backup wasn’t immediately ready. “He had to leave the stage, I remember, and he just kind of poked his head around and said, ‘Go ahead, start without me,’ at which point Ben started jamming on something and we all fell in until Chris was ready,” Thayil says.
“People speculate, and they get causality in reverse,” he adds. “I guess it’s natural to try to fill in the blanks to explain a particular mystery,” he adds. “I think it’s natural to say that, ‘We know something terrible happened, so we know there must have been some sort of problem. Let’s see what that problem might be. Well, come to think of it, the show was kind of messy….'”
Thayil said he, Shepherd, and Cameron are still grappling with Soundgarden’s future plans.
“We often reference rock history and we’ve often commented on what other bands in similar situations have done,” Thayil says, “not as a plan or anything but just commenting on how bands have handled situations like this and what bands seem to have been graceful and dignified in how they manage their future musical endeavors and how some maybe were clumsy and callous. We think about those things. We try not to go too deep into these conversations, but stuff comes up after a few beers.”