After 12 years of solo projects, stints with other bands, and oblivion, the four original members of Soundgarden have finally reunited this summer to perform in Lollapalooza and record a brand new song, “Black Rain,” to top off the 2-disc retrospective compilation, Telephantasm, released last week.
Soundgarden’s catalog (particularly the last three albums: Badmotorfinger (1991), Superunknown (1994), and Down on the Upside (1996)) is quite likely the most foundational musical text of my life. If you disagree with any of my musical opinions, it’s probably because your tastes were not also formed by listening to Soundgarden.
In highschool, if I was learning to play a snippet of a song on guitar, it was a snippet of a Soundgarden song.
The first website I ever put together was an aol-hosted Soundgarden fansite.
Chris Cornell has the same first name and the same birthday as me.
And it’s not just music. When I first bought Down on the Upside, it was the summer before sophomore year of high school, and Homer’s The Odyssey was the assigned summer reading (we had been given a terrible, terrible, prose translation). The album and the epic will forever be associated in my memory. Any track off the album makes me think of Odysseus trying to return home, and any reference to Calypso, Scylla, Charybdis, Sirens, etc. has Chris Cornell’s vocal backing.
To fully excavate the influence Soundgarden has had on me would require a post longer than the one I’m willing to write or you to read. But please allow Telephantasm‘s release to suffice as an excuse for me to share with you a representative sample of the soundtrack of my early teenage years.