Soundgarden fans woke up to incredible news this New Year’s morning: the band, which split in 1997, is officially reuniting. Frontman Chris Cornell confirmed the reconciliation via Twitter, writing, “The 12 year break is over & school is back in session. Sign up now. Knights of the Soundtable ride again!” and linking to a new Website, Soundgarden World. As of now, the site only offers fans a place to provide their contact information for updates on the reunion.
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Cornell and other members of Soundgarden spent most of 2009 hinting that the long-awaited reformation was on the way. In March, all of the band but Cornell rocked together onstage during a Seattle stop on Tom Morello’s Justice Tour. As Rolling Stone reported, Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron were joined by Tad’s Tad Doyle for a run-through of “Nothing to Say,” “Spoonman” and “Hunted Down.” The following month, Cornell told a reporter, “If I was there, I probably would’ve gotten up onstage.” As for reunion prospects, he added, “You never know.” Thayil revealed the genesis of that special set in an exclusive Rolling Stone interview, where he said, “It was a blast. Playing with Ben and Matt carried a lot of sentimental weight.”
In July, Cornell revealed to RS that the band was talking about putting together a release of Soundgarden B sides and a box set of unreleased songs. “We all feel it’s time to do that, and we have a lot of fans out there, and we have a lot of new fans discovering our music, and I think the catalog and the legacy of the band has been ignored by the record label and previous management, so we decided to get together, and start working towards putting something like that out,” he said.
And in October, Cornell was clearly in the Seattle-legends-of-the-’90s spirit when he participated in a Temple of the Dog reunion at Pearl Jam’s Los Angeles gig. He joined the band for a rendition of their 1991 hit “Hunger Strike,” and RS learned Thayil and Shepherd were in the house to check out Cornell back onstage with drummer Cameron. As of now, it’s unclear how Cameron’s duties in Pearl Jam will be affected by the Soundgarden news.
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In his July ‘09 RS chat, Thayil said a reunion would happen if there was a real demand: “People would have to want to.” He added, “We all play enough and are acquainted with the material enough that I think it would take a few rehearsals. When Ben, Matt, and I got together with Tad, it was like falling off our bike and getting back on.”