Who said it? “I was a nerdy shut-in who listened to prog-rock…”

Surprise, surprise, the lead of singer of Soundgarden (and Audioslave), in this April 2012 interview in Details magazine:

DETAILS: What were you like growing up?
Chris Cornell: Wild. And reclusive. Sometime between 12 and 14 I smoked PCP and had a real bad reaction. By the time I was high-school age, I didn’t want to do drugs anymore, so I went a couple years without having any friends. I got in touch with the creative process between the age of 14 and 16, mainly because I was alone so much.

DETAILS: And yet you became a frontman. Did playing music change you?
Chris Cornell: I was a nerdy shut-in who listened to prog-rock—and then I got on stage. Most frontmen are not born hams like David Lee Roth. We’re more like Joey Ramone: awkward geeks who somehow find our place in the world on the stage. Nobody ever said a positive thing to me, ever, in my life, until they heard me play music.

DETAILS: I bet it helped you meet girls, too.
Chris Cornell: Oh yeah. Initially I was a drummer, and I remember standing somewhere in public with a pair of drumsticks, and these cute girls came up and started talking to me. We hadn’t even played yet! It was actually uncomfortable. I thought, “Is that all I have to do? Just hold drumsticks?” It immediately made me not like the girls.

Ha! Gotta love the sense of slightly twisted humor. Cornell also has this to say about the state of rock music:
DETAILS: There’s been a lot of talk recently, most of it negative, about the current state of rock music. What’s your take? Is rock dead?
Chris Cornell: It’s definitely lost its place at the center of the musical universe. Rock never meant the same thing to everyone, but when I was growing up in the late seventies, everyone could identify the five, ten bands that formed the center. Even if you preferred the fringe—the Clash over, say, Van Halen—you still knew what the center was. Now kids turn on the radio and hear Eminem or Kanye, so that’s what they gravitate toward. They’re making music on iPhones. Everything’s fractured. The reason there’s no modern-day Shakespeare is because he didn’t have anything to do except sit in a room with a candle and think.
So, what Cornell song is most proggy? That’s nearly impossible to say, as the “prog” elements (strange chords, odd time signatures, epic and semi-mythical lyrics) used by Cornell and Co. are seamlessly mixed into a delicious musical stew that also draws on early metal, Krautrock, punk, pop (the Beatles, to be exact), blues, gospel, and even Middle Eastern music. But here is my choice: “Limo Wreck” from Soundgarden; it is one of my 5 favorite Soundgarden songs, but was never a single or a hit:
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One thought on “Who said it? “I was a nerdy shut-in who listened to prog-rock…”

  1. Pingback: Did Dave Grohl admit that Soundgarden was a far better band than Nirvana? | Progarchy: Pointing toward Proghalla

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