Soundgarden returns

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The New Year has just begun and already there is a juicy nugget of local music news. Chris Cornell, Soundgarden’s golden grunge god, announced late last night via Twitter that the long-rumored Soundgarden reunion will be happening in 2010.

Cornell’s tweet reads:

“The 12 year break is over & school is back in session. Sign up now. Knights of the Soundtable ride again!”

This isn’t a surprising announcement to those who were paying attention in 2009. Last spring the Crocodile hosted a show in March where Tad Doyle, formerly of grunge heavyweights TAD, played a three-song set of Soundgarden songs with every member of Soundgarden except Cornell. This immediately flamed Soundgarden reunion rumors and while Krist Novoselic shot down rumor of a the band headlining Coachella 2010 a few weeks ago, a reunion seemed more than likely. Why? Because Cornell’s last few albums tanked and all four band members were spotted hanging out together a couple of times last year (this time they weren’t at a Cinnabon). In 2005 I had the opportunity to ask Cornell point-blank whether Soundgarden would reunite and I was crestfallen when he told me a reunion wasn’t likely. Thankfully it looks like he changed his mind.

The band set up the website Soundgardenworld, where you can enter contact information and presumably will receive reunion tour news when it is announced. Once your info is entered the video for “Get On The Snake” off Louder Than Love begins to play, which is hopefully a sign the band will focus on its older material during reunion gigs.

Speaking of gigs, there are no details of the reunion on the site. This could mean the group is only going to play a few one-off festival sets (which would be where the money is) instead of launch a full tour this year. That would definitely make the reunion more of a cash grab than it already is, but while money talks something tells me this reunion isn’t all about the Benjamins. The guys in Soundgarden are all friendly with one another and could’ve gotten back together for financial gain years ago. Drummer Matt Cameron has commitments behind the skins with Pearl Jam, so the group could play the festival gigs between Pearl Jam shows this year as a way to gear up for a bigger 2011 after Pearl Jam is done with the tour cycle behindBackspacer.

Money talk aside, the good news is that there is no way Soundgarden would skip Seattle on any tour, be it a massive national jaunt or a few stops at destination festivals. The band has too much history here, plus Bumbershoot and Sasquatch! are two major national festivals. Oh, and don’t get me started on the possibility of a triple-bill of Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains at Memorial Stadium for Bumbershoot’s 40th anniversary.

Also, there is a planned box set of unreleased Soundgarden material which could mean the band will be touring for a while, or even jump back into the studio depending on how well the material is received. All of this is pure speculation of course, but there is movement on the Soundgarden front which makes the early days 2010 happy for those of us who still wear our torn flannel shirts with pride.

Travis Hay

About Travis Hay

Travis Hay is a professional music journalist who has spent the past 13 years documenting and enjoying Seattle's diverse music scene. In 2009 he established Guerrilla Candy and is currently the site's editor and publisher. He has written for various media outlets including MSN Music, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, Seattle Weekly, Crosscut.com and others and was the founder and former editor of the defunct music site Ear Candy.