Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil Tells Tearful Detroit Story: ‘It Seemed Scripted’


Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil discussed joining MC50, which celebrates the musical legacy of Detroit icons MC5, in a new New York Daily News interview. Chris Cornell died in Detroit after a Soundgarden show in May 2017, so Thayil said joining MC50 led to an emotional moment with his wife because of the context.

Thayil had been inspired by the MC5 as a teenager growing up in suburban Chicago, and when Wayne Kramer called to ask him to join MC50, it was an immediate yes.

“The timing was unbelievable,” says Thayil, 58, bearded with a graying ponytail unfurling from beneath a pinstriped trilby hat. “I told my wife, and she started crying because she’s thinking about the context, and she knew how much I like the MC5. It almost seemed scripted for the situation.”

Stepping into the guitar position of the late Fred “Sonic” Smith, Thayil says he learned the complexity hidden within hard rock tunes he once thought straightforward.

“Wildness is probably one of the most important things about rock ’n’ roll: chaos, rebelliousness,” adds Thayil. “When people do things within the lines, that’s obnoxious. They’re missing that point. The MC5 didn’t do that.”

MC50 are currently touring North America. It is Kim Thayil’s first tour since Chris Cornell’s death.