Have people really forgotten about Soundgarden, arguably the third most-influential band of the Grunge era*? We here at VH1 would certainly concede that the band’s popularity has waned since their mid-’90s heyday, but we had no idea things had gotten so dire for them out there in the “real world.” Our own SoundScanner author, Adam Graham, was watching Jeopardy last night when he saw the three contestants draw a total blank at the following clue: “In 2012, ‘Been Away Too Long’ Was The First Single Off This Chris Cornell Band’s First Album In 16 Years.” (We have the Vine’d clip for you below.)
Soundgarden headlined the first day of London’s Hard Rock Calling festival yesterday, and VH1 caught up with frontman Chris Cornell and lead guitarist Kim Thayil minutes before they hit the stage. And they knew this wasn’t just any ordinary gig. “It’s in Hyde Park and it’s with the Stooges,” Chris told us. “So those are the two ingredients that make it special for me.” Kim agrees, admitting to being in awe of Iggy Pop and Co. “They’re a huge influence on us, and they weren’t together during most of our career.”
Speaking of not being together, Soundgarden themselves reunited in January 2010 after 14 long years apart. They’re currently in the midst of recording their first new album since 1996’s “Down On The Upside,” due fore release later this year. Despite this apparently harmony, we couldn’t help asking them if any of the old tension ever reared its ugly head while on the road? Oh yeah, we went there! “It’s been good, it’s been cool, it’s been relaxed,” Chris told us. “For our first international touring, we were in our twenties and we scoured the Earth in a van, which we drove. We moved our own gear and played every little hamlet in every country we were in. Now it’s much more relaxed. We don’t drive. It’s great, it’s fun.”
While we were on the topic reunions and jamming with old friends, we asked Chris if he’d ever reform Temple of the Dog, his early 90s side project with the Pearl Jam crew and Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron. “I don’t know, you never know,” he laughed. “The only times that’s ever happens seems to be once every ten years at a Pearl Jam show. Especially with Matt now being in Pearl Jam.” The drummer joined Pearl Jam following the breakup of Soundgarden back in 1997, and since the reunion Cameron’s pulling double duty with both bands. “If I walk onstage and sing with Pearl Jam, it’s Temple of the Dog. So that’s happened. And it’s always really fun.” Who knows, maybe someday we’ll get another album from them too? Grunge fans can dream…
What Olympics? The Hard Rock Calling music festival is on every Londoner’s lips this weekend, as organizers turned the legendary Hyde Park into a not-so-small city within a city. One shop keeper warned us that it was going to “piss down with rain,” but that didn’t stop thousands of music lovers who turned up in their wellies yesterday for a chance to hear Soundgarden, Iggy and the Stoogesand more! No fair weather fans here, folks.
While the festival is (and should be) all about the music, the first thing that hits you as your enter that site is the sheer size. This site is a sight, man. A whopping four stages lay within the rock compound, and depending on where you stand at any given moment, the experience can be like listening to a radio jammed between two frequencies. Wall-to-wall food stands offer any kind of fare you could possibly imagine, but the backstage realm is pure fantasy. Located literally right behind the main pavilion, this miniature resort boasts a full sized pool, a vintage double decker bus with an open air cafe on top, a spa, a DJ booth, a full bar and a separate bar specializing in Red Bull concoctions, a bakery, a photo booth, a smaller stage for intimate performances, and a candy cart. Rock and roll!
Before things got moving at full speed, we caught a band called Cold Chisel on the main stage. We weren’t familiar ourselves, but if you imagine a musical love child of The Who and Guns & Roses raised in the outback of Australia, you’ll have a decent approximation of these burly blokes. Despite knowing very little (ok, none) of their songs, they were actually incredibly fun and delivered some pretty sweet pub rock from lead singer Jimmy Barnes. Any band who greets the crowd with a “How the f–k are ya!? This is a song about pies and chicks!” gets our seal of approval!
Last night Chris Cornell appeared on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno to perform his hit song “The Keeper.” The song has been nominated for a Golden Globe award for the movie Machine Gun Preacher, and it’s not hard to see why. With Cornell’s gravelly vocal and a romantic string section backing him, the song is both revealing and captivating. The dimly lit stage on Leno, with it’s clean beams of light, assortment of gothic candles and Chris’ face surrounded in a halo-esque glow only added to the whimsical appeal of the track.
We’re starting to think that maybe Michael Bubléis Christmas. Is that even possible? With his Christmas album holding tight at #1 on the charts, Michael Bublé is the only name you need to know this Christmas (apart from Santa, of course). This weekend on Saturday Night Live, Bublé not only performed a classy, romantic rendition of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (after the jump), but he also got his very own sketch and imagined Duets album (above). It’s the perfect way to start your Monday morning, because if you don’t laugh out loud at the winking, dancing Justin Bieber (Jimmy Fallon) parody, or giggle at Taylor Swift‘s over awed gaping mouth (Kristen Wiig) then you’ve got a heart so cold not even Bublé can help you this holiday season.
Stealing the late night limelight this weekend, Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake joined forces in awesomeness on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon for their latest “History Of Rap” medley. Busting moves like they were born to do it, the dynamic duo’s comedic chemistry is hard to deny. And while we’re all hankering for JT to come back with a new album, we’re quite happy to enjoy him in such musically-related comedy roles. Especially when joined with Fallon, and busting out such classics as Coolio‘s “Gangsta’s Paradise” and other crowd pleasers both past and present, including Nicki Minaj‘s “Super Bass” and Sir Mix-A-Lot‘s “Baby Got Back”.
As the Red Hot Chili Peppers release their tenth studio album this week, we can’t help but daydream ruminate about how much of a sex symbol frontman Anthony Kiedis was—who could forget the sock?!—and still is. Time has been kind to Mr. Suck My Kiss, and he is definitely not alone in that regard; there’s an entire legion of men in music whose good looks and sex appeal have fermented in the manner of a perfectly-mature wine.
Whether you grew up with one of their faces taped to your Trapper Keeper or you’re old enough to be their mom, there’s a hunk on this list for you. From rock to hip hop, songwriters to bass players, we’ve got Arena Gods, men who are Good With Their Hands, Smooth Operators, International Flavors, and like the Chili Peppers’ singer, Spicy Sex Symbols. Keeping it simple, we’re celebrating the 45 to 70-year-old vintages by exhibiting their physical evolution through their respective careers. You’ll be taking in images from when they got their start, their “middle years,” and how they look in the present. Take a moment to step into the wine cellar and relish in each man’s beauty of the past and, at the end,?toast to their continued maturing in the future by weighing in on who you think has aged best. Apologies in advance for the ladyboners!
Last Tuesday night, American Idol contestant David Cook gave a rousing — if also melancholic — rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” While that’s not exactly news in itself, the judges’ comments were. The trio praised Cook for his originality in rearranging the composition. The trouble is that Cook was covering Chris Cornell‘s version of the song as it appeared on the latter’s second solo album, Carry On — as was clearly stated by Ryan Seacrest before Cook began performing. The Seattle rock luminary and former Soundgarden frontman reinterpreted the Thriller classic as a much darker song; Cook followed Cornell’s version note for note. (Cornell’s version has seen a massive sales jump on iTunes in the days since.) We caught up with Cornell to ask him about what he thought of Cook’s version.
VH1: Your fans seemed to be outraged with David Cook. Can you talk about their response?
Chris Cornell: They were angry because they felt like the judges were giving David Cook credit for coming up with the idea — reinventing the song in a rock format — and didn’t seem to know that it was taken from somewhere else.