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Soundgarden Guitarist Kept Low Profile During Hiatus

Kim Thayil
(Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil recently told Spinner that he chose to keep a low profile during the band’s 13-year hiatus rather than join another band. Thayil explained, “I declined participation in a lot of projects and collaborations. I didn’t want to be part of someone else’s band or part of a collaborative effort that wasn’t something I started.” He added, “I avoided playing in another heavy rock band. Which, if I’d pursued that, would have been a B-grade Soundgarden. I was perfectly comfortable denying the expected ambition of a successful pop culture participant.”

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell went on to play with Audioslave and launch a solo career, while drummer Matt Cameron has been a member of Pearl Jam since 1998. He and Soundgarden bassist Ben Shepherd also worked on projects together like Hater.

Thayil, meanwhile, made low-key contributions to Dave Grohl’s metal project Probot and some indie bands. The closest he came to a high-profile “supergroup” was some jamming sessions with ex-Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic and former Queens Of The Stone Age drummer Alfredo Hernandez.

Thayil explained what happened to that project, saying, “We were jamming on and off for a couple years but there was no singer. A lot of instrumental stuff and beer drinking.”

He told us that when Soundgarden reunited in 2010, they had a little trouble remembering how to play their songs: “We remembered some of the most ridiculous things, and forgot the most obvious and easy things, so it was kind of strange. We’d play some stuff really intensely tight until about two minutes into it, and then we would kind of look at each other and say, ‘What did we do there?’”
After playing a few gigs in 2010 and embarking on its first tour in 14 years in 2011, Soundgarden spent much of the past year recording its first album since 1996, King Animal.

The disc debuted at Number Five on the Billboard album chart last month, selling 83,000 copies in its first week of release. A winter North American tour kicks off on January 18th, 2013 in Washington DC.

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