ROCK N ROLL EXPERIENCE - Chris Cornell 4/24/07
April 24, 2007
Ramís Head Live
As I was escorted in to the backstage area to do my sit down interview with Chris Cornell, I was a little nervous at first, because I didnít know if he was going to be an arrogant rock star prick, or if he was going to be short with me, or if he would even give me a good interview & treat me decent since I am younger than alot of people who probably interview him, but I have to tell you, upon entire his dressing room, Chris was setting on a leather couch, watching a baseball game, & my first thought was, Holy shit, this is the ďmanĒ & heís just setting here, calm, cool, collected, & after shaking his hand I realized that this was going to be a great interview, because Chris Cornell comes off very warm, friendly & insightful, which is rare for a rockstar of his caliper! Ok, so this is what me & Chris talked about:
Rock N Roll Experience: ďHow did you get Yogi from Buckcherry as a member in your current touring band?Ē
Chris: Just the normal audition process...he was actually the last guy that I chose, like I kinda needed a second guy & he was like out of town & I didnít know him or know anything about him but I had heard ďoh, I think this guy will be really great for you & your bandĒ so then, I donít think he had slept...he came back from some place he was hanging out & he hadnít slept & he didnít talk much, he just sorta came in & played & he played ďLike A StoneĒ & thereís that solo where like alot of different people I had auditioned were all trying to play it like Tom Morello plays it with the red whammy pedal & he just fucking blew this solo over & it was really great & I just thought, I like him, I want him to be in my band.
Rock N Roll Experience: ďSo you didnít know Yogi from his work with Buckcherry?Ē
Chris: No, I didnít know anyone from Buckcherry
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you feel that Yogi adds alot to the band?
Chris: Yeah, infact, I think Iím really fortunate..this band is great. Itís hard to even know what to say, because when you go out on the road with this solo thing & you bring your band, especially with this 20 year history, Iím as excited about this band as I was when I started with Audioslave...to me, itís no different..itís like playing with people...great musicians that Iíve never met before & thatís what Audioslave was. I have this constant kinda want, to go up onstage & be like, this is a fucking amazing band & the audience really is kinda responding like that to these guys & thereís probably some haters & some people who think these guys are a hired band, but thatís bullshit really, because itís not like that, itís not like somebody else put them together, it was a group of people that really got & understood my songs from as far back as 1990 to all the way up to my new record & people whoís personalities kinda fit together, which is important..this is important as working with me & then having it on a gut level would be great & believe me, it wasnít happening for a while & this group of dudes really made it all come together, so Iím pretty thrilled
Rock N Roll Experience: ďSo youíre not jaded by music at all then?Ē
Chris: No, not at all...I think maybe people can get into a bad relationship with music on a personal level & I felt that way when I was having like my worst time with drugs & alcohol & depression...I felt like my relationship with music wasnít a good one, but it was personal, it wasnít, & I knew it was like, Iím not fucking participating in it correctly & Iím removing myself from it & Iím making it impossible to have a connection or some sorta open condo lit to an art form & that was my fault, but I did see it down that road, like yet thereís many ways to be a musician & have a bad relationship with music. Anger is probably the best one...failure, doing something that you think is great & having other people say they donít like it & then you get pissed off & that can create how you write & thatís the big no-no, donít let that happen. I always felt like Kurt Cobain did that a little bit, like he responded to huge success by writing differently in a sense & so in a sense he kinda let that change how he wrote & I donít know if thatís true or not, but I felt that, or I remember thinking that could be a pitfall, it could be something that could happen to you.
Rock N Roll Experience: ďYou brought up Kurt Cobain, so do you think that drugs kinda killed the Seattle Grunge scene?Ē
Chris: No, I think every music scene has its connection to drugs & drugs have a bad effect in any situation, even outside of music, but itís definitely easier to have long term problems & exist as a musician & no one is going to fire you from your job if youíre fucked up, ha ha, itís sorta expected! I was one of the together ones really, I was able to do what I did & I didnít cause that much trouble until it was really mental & physical degeneration that fucked me up. I think that, if you wanted to look at it as, ok, hereís some Seattle bands that formed what we are gonna call Grunge & itís like the main ones, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam...should they all have been like The Who, Led Zeppelin & The Stones & U2 & just all stay together in that form & tour & thatís sorta having a preconceived idea of what it is & therefore if itís not then itís dead, but I donít really see it that way. Iíve always felt like the people who are there in the beginning should be doing something vital in music always & like Pearl Jam for example, they donít fit the template for like The Who, The Rolling Stones, & yet they keep making vital records & they keep touring & they keep playing infront of lots of people the way they do it & itís great & they drew that line in the sand with their first record...ĒJeremyĒ was like that last normal, here we are, doing our promotion the way most bands do it, video, that they ever made, they changed the way they worked, & have been very consistent about that attitude which is really great & it is a different way of doing it & Iíve been more schizophrenic I think in my approach..I donít think Soundgarden..once we walked on the first stage that Guns N Roses owned & looked at where that can go, we all looked at each other & said, This isnít gonna work for us, ha ha, it just wasnít us & ultimately, we sorta hung it up when we thought it was at a high moment & I donít think any of us felt like continually moving on as being that thing & we played every place we could play & we had done everything that we wanted to do & since then, for me, itís been just like chasing the music & songs & I still think that U2 makes great songs, I still think thatís a band that I think is just fantastic, but, I also think that if thereís always a sorta formula that is comparable to something like The Rolling Stones, or The Who, or AC/DC is another great example, itís like we can trust them, they are always gonna be ďthatĒ & they are always gonna be there for us when God lets us down....Iím a little bit more..Iím never gonna be that guy, Iím just gonna be chasing the musical ideas & making records & going out & performing & Aerosmith is another band like that I think..you can count on them, which I think is great...
Rock N Roll Experience: But Aerosmith has changed so much since the 70ís
Chris: Yeah, they did, alot..& you know what, itís never too late to change back, I mean they are all the same people, they can do that..they can make funky, bad-assed rock records again, thereís nothing stopping them. If I were in that band, I would be that guy, like everytime we got together Iíd be saying Letís try this, do that, do that, ha ha, & be the annoying guy & then weíd break up ha ha.
Rock N Roll Experience: ďHow did you beat your addictions?Ē
Chris: It was a long period of coming to the realization that this way (sober) is better. Going through rehab, honestly, did help, & Iím not....it got me away from just the daily drudgery of depression & either trying to not drink or do drugs or doing them & you know, they give you such a simple message that any idiot can get & itís just over & over, but the bottom line is really, & this is the part that is scary for everyone, The individual kinda has to want it...not kinda, you have to want it & to not do that crap anymore or you will never stop & it will just kill you. Thereís nothing you can do..if youíre best friend has a problem & itís very serious, thereís nothing youíre going to be able to do about it & it was sad for me & the people around me Sad for me when friends of mine died because of it & but one thing, & Iíve gotta say this, because I never get preachy about this, but the friends of mine that told me, Yeah, you feel really shitty right now, donít you? ... Yeah, I do..itís really bad!, & they would say, you know, as long as you just kinda stay off all this, eventually all of that will go away, but you have to believe it because itís not going to happen quick & thereís a decadence in like alcohol & drug abuse where youíre like tweaking your physiology immediately & changing your mood immediately & you get used to that, & when someone is telling you that itís gonna take you 5 years to feel normal, that seems like forever, but now, I think of the day that I walked out of rehab now...Iím remarried, I have 2 children, I have a 2 1/2 year old girl & a 1 1/2 year old boy, I moved & live between Paris & Los Angeles, Iíve made 3 records, & toured on 4 records since then & time is not that long...time goes by & now Iím the most focused I have ever been, the most prolithic song writer that I have ever been, which is actually saying alot because in the early 90ís I was really prolithic, but Iím even more so now...not more so like creative, but I just have focus to actualize & sorta bring it in & turn it into something, & I feel much better on stage. Back in the day when I was sorta going overboard, it was really hit & miss & now I feel consistent & Iím always pushing the envelope & feeling younger now than I did when I was actually young which is pretty interesting. I think at some point, alcohol abuse got me to a point of just maintaining where I was & that was hard enough.
After my interview with Chris, Chris left the venue to get his dinner...fyi, he ordered a Crab Cake for those who care about that sorta thing, & I went into the venue to await Chrisí live show! The crowd was interesting, mostly older, & the first thought that came to my mind was, OMG, the grunge crowd are a mix of modern day hippies & yuppies! I know thatís kinda harsh, but Iím so used to going to rock shows where the crowd is slightly different..this crowd reminded me of the Candlebox crowd last year...it was definitely the Grunge-leftovers & die hard Soundgarden/Audioslave/Cornell fans who wanted to hear Chrisís amazing voice!
The band finally took the stage a little after 9 PM with no opening act & they opened with ďCochiseĒ which was a great rocker to start things off with! I actually got a copy of the set list & it was as follows:
No Such Thing
Fell On Black Days
Like A Stone
Doesnít Remind Me
Your Soul Today
Say Hello To Heaven
What You Are
You Know My Name
Black Hole Sun
Jesus Christ Pose
Back to the show though, Chrisí band is amazing, they play every song in their own style, but pretty damn close to the original recorded version, & if you just heard the audio, youíd never know that these guys didnít record the original versions! All in all, this was one of the best shows EVER & I canít stress to you enough that Chris Cornell has one of the most amazing voices in rock music & through his 20 years of making music, heís made a legacy that few, if any otherís can even come close to emulating!