no one else makes this kind of noise.
Forget the quality of this video. Just close your eyes and listen. If you knew Soundgarden, and understood Soundgarden, and loved Soundgarden, it will make your entire body stand at attention. It will be a melange of goosebumps and echoes of a time that no longer exists and the joy of remembering what it was like to hear Kim Thayil and Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron play onstage together.
“Spoonman” at the Gorge in 1996, headlining Lollapalooza, spending all day in the sun and then having the band come out just at sunset and plowing into “Spoonman,” turning the front of the stage into a writhing cauldron of flannel shirts and bare chests almost instantly, like it was a dance number that had been carefully choreographed and planned to start at that exact moment. The music filling the desert sky, not being overshadowed by the expanse.
I know. You wrote them off as grunge or metal or “icky and butt rock” (to quote Cameron in ’96), but they were so very much more. They were layered and textured and crowded and complicated and made you think hard. You could get lost in their songs. They hit you deep inside your chest, way deep in there, pulling out cobwebs and blowing out the dust in the corners.
There is no greater musical waste on the planet then the fact that Kim Thayil is alive and healthy but no longer plays guitar.
I am not a big fan of bands going on tours with different lead singers. In this one case, I will now actively advocate that they find someone good, and go for it. My favorite quote about this situation is as follows:
Fuck you, Chris Cornell, for talking shit about Seattle and not being cool. Come on man, don’t be a jerk. Especially when Tad Doyle is there to sing your songs and absolutely murder it.
Enjoyed this post? Consider signing up for my monthly newsletter.