Last Sunday, the Seattle Museum of Pop Culture unveiled a commemorative life-sized Chris Cornell statue. It honoured the Soundgarden frontman and his musical legacy, and was commissioned by his widow, Vicky Cornell.
His former bandmates, Matt Cameron, Kim Thayil and Ben Shepherd attended to watch his children reveal the bronze statue to the public.
It was the first time the band was all together since Cornell’s funeral service last May. They spoke with Rolling Stone at the ceremony and revealed their thoughts on the possibility of getting back together in the future.
“We’re going through natural healing, then thinking about the natural next step,” bassist Shepherd admitted.
“We haven’t even gotten a chance to hang out, just us three, yet,” he added. “We’re just still taking our time and giving ourselves space to process everything.”
They expressed interest and a hunger to get back into the game, whether that be with Soundgarden or an entirely new project. “We would certainly love to try to continue to do something, figure out something to do together,” Shepherd said. Each member has entertained the idea of possibly reuniting the band.
In a recent Billboard interview with Thayil, he reflected on how they might execute a rebirth.
“We often reference rock history and we’ve often commented on how bands have handled situations like this, and which bands seem to have been graceful and dignified in how they manage their future musical endeavours. We try not to go too deep into these conversations, but stuff comes up after a few beers.”
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Cornell’s widow made an emotional speech about the statue in her husband’s name.
“It’s a reflection of his light, a light that shone through his music and touched millions. A light that he used to illuminate our lives, and a light that will continue to inspire those in the future. This statue represents that light — a beautiful, powerful, incomparable presence in a hometown worthy of someone as special as Chris.”
Soundgarden was co-founded in 1984 by Thayil and Cornell, and the band released six albums overall. They broke up in 1997 and reformed in 2010. Soundgarden’s seminal single, Black Hole Sun, marked them as pioneers of the grunge scene.
Throughout his life, Cornell focused his life on music, working with a plethora of musicians. He helped create the band Temple of the Dog, a group that eventually became the legendary Pearl Jam. He also fronted the rock super-group, Audioslave, and followed that with his own successful solo career.
Drummer Cameron expressed his admiration for Cornell’s morale.
“I think Chris was always encouraging us to bring in material and contribute creatively. He didn’t have the type of fragile ego that required feeding it at all times. He wanted to be fed as an artist, not as a star.”
Thayil spent the majority of the year touring North America with an MC5 reunion group, under the name MC50. Cameron has drummed for Pearl Jam since 1998 — following the initial Soundgarden breakup. He remains their drummer. Shepherd has not been musically involved since the final Soundgarden concert on May 17, 2017, the evening before Cornell’s tragic death.
As of this writing, it’s unclear whether Soundgarden will reunite, but it sounds like the three surviving members are considering it.