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Soundgarden Leave Nostalgia Behind for ‘King Animal’ Album

Mark Metcalfe, Getty Images

When Soundgarden got back together, they started by touring and playing the old hits and getting back in the habit of performing their music again. But now, a couple of years later, the group is preparing to move forward in their career with their first full original studio album since 1996, and frontman Chris Cornell says that they’re looking forward and evolving with their next record.

Cornell tells Spin, “We don’t feel nostalgia trying to remember who played what parts on a song that we recorded in 1988. It doesn’t feel like looking at baby pictures of me. It’s nice that we have fans that were fans in 1988. That’s great, but that’s not enough for us. And I would’ve never expected that to be enough.”

Earlier this year, one of Cornell’s contemporaries, Smashing Pumpkins vocalist Billy Corgan, called out the group for cashing in on a reunion, stating, “When Soundgarden came back and they just played their old songs, great. I was a fan of Soundgarden, but call it for what it is. They’re just out there to have one more round at the till.” Corgan would add that it’s important for bands to make music for the present rather than relying on their past, and Soundgarden are definitely of the same mindset by moving forward with their new record.

Though not addressing Corgan’s comments specifically, Cornell says, “If we’re writing and recording new and vital music, it’s taking care of itself. I definitely feel like there’s a place for who we are and what we do. We’re doing what we’ve always done as a band and we’re fortunate enough to have a long enough history that someone could actually suggest that we’re a nostalgia act. Good for us.”

If anything, Soundgarden may actually be coming from a creative space where many new bands come from, as the group has been away long enough that all of the label entanglements and outside pressures that weighed on them at the height of their fame have fallen by the wayside.

The singer adds, “We’re writing and recording an album ourselves. We do everything, from choosing producers to picking packaging, until it’s done. Then we find a label to put it out on [Universal Republic], and communication’s what it used to be. It’s almost like it was in the beginning of the band.”

Soundgarden returns with their ‘King Animal‘ album Nov. 13.

Next: Listen to Soundgarden's Song 'Non-State Actor'

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