Friday
June 8, 2007
SGN.org
Volume 35
Issue 23
 
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Monday, Mar 30, 2020

 

 



 
 
Religious Coalition for Equality seeks Executive Director
 
the Music Lounge by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A & E Writer
Rock icon Chris Cornell speaks openly about new album, having multi-lingual kids, and missing his Seattle hometown
Seattle has produced many rock legends, from Jimi Hendrix to Kurt Cobain to Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. Undoubtedly, the list also includes Chris Cornell. The former Soundgarden member and current Audioslave lead singer spent his early years eating Dick's burgers, shopping for vinyl records on Capitol Hill, and playing gigs at local clubs until he landed his big break. That was then. Cornell is now married with two kids and splits residencies between Paris and Los Angeles. He may be a family man, but with those made-for-rock star looks and piercing bedroom eyes the part-time solo artist is still a fantasy item for Gay men and straight women.

On the road promoting his new album Carry On, in stores June 5, Cornell took time from a busy schedule to say hello to his Gay fans in Seattle. You can listen to music from Cornell's latest CD, including the initial single "No Such Thing", by visiting www.myspace.com/chriscornell. Over the phone, Cornell was extremely polite and more personal than I expected him to be. My brief, yet pleasant, conversation with him will forever be dear to me. From a resting pad in Phoenix, this is what local rock icon Chris Cornell opened up about in "The Music Lounge".

Albert Rodriguez: When were you last in Seattle?

Chris Cornell: About a month ago.

Rodriguez: To hang out?

Cornell: Yeah. I still get back there occasionally. I haven't really been anywhere for very long. We live between Paris and Los Angeles, and I haven't been to Paris in many, many months. It's because I've been recording my new record, doing lots of promos, and a lot of touring.

Rodriguez: What part of Paris do you live in, when you're there?

Cornell: In the 8th.

Rodriguez: I lived in the 5th for half a year. Paris is such a gorgeous city.

Cornell: It's an amazing place to live. It's also amazing to have the ability to live outside the US and be a foreigner for a while.

Rodriguez: Are your kids bilingual?

Cornell: My kids are really messed up (laughs). My wife is Greek, so they learn Greek and English at an equal pace. But they're also learning Spanish and a bit of French. My son is fifteen months old and speaks a funny combination of Spanish, Greek and English. And my daughter, who is two and a half, has some French vocabulary because she spent more time in Paris.

Rodriguez: I seen pictures of them, and they're adorable. Are they with you now?

Cornell: Thank you. No, I just flew from Boston to LA yesterday and spent the day with them, and just got into Phoenix. I'm going back to see them tomorrow.

Rodriguez: Every album has its journey. Tell us about the journey of Carry On.

Cornell: This is something I've wanted to do my whole life, ever since I started writing songs. There was an anxiety surrounding s0ngwriting and the process of songwriting, and putting it together. When Soundgarden came home after being on the road for ten months or a year, we'd take a couple of months off to feel normal again. Then there's that terrifying moment of going into a room to start writing the first song of the next record. I always wanted that sort of process to go away because everything else was so great. Why can't the process of songwriting and the act of being creative be exciting? Why does there have to be anxiety? I was able to finally reach that point on this record. I got into this sort of new age-y attitude of not worrying about the outcome and just enjoyed the process, enjoyed recording guitar parts, coming up with the beats, writing lyrics, singing them and hearing them back because it's such a privilege to be able to do this for a living. This was my time to live that. And you'll hear it when you listen to the music. I've always believed that the first inspiration is the most honest, although not the best technically necessarily. But it's who I am. I'm more brave about championing that idea.

Rodriguez: So you got to a certain point where you wanted to spill your guts?

Cornell: I think so. And to not have things be musically or lyrically, where I sit and think of what I want to express. It's more the expression, whatever at the time and whatever my mood is, it's just going to come out right away and I'm not going to try and steer it in one direction or another with my brain. I'm not going to worry about what the outcome or what the song is going to mean to other people in the middle of writing it because that's a waste of time. I don't think that makes music better. I don't think it makes any artist better.

Rodriguez: Is it safe to say that you bare your soul on this album?

Cornell: You can say that. I certainly didn't get in the way of it and there's not a lot of editing, particularly lyrically. I wasn't afraid to say anything or afraid to talk about anything. I don't think there's anything lyrically upsetting or shocking, but there's definitely a lot of me in this record.

Rodriguez: What do you miss about Seattle?

Cornell: I miss a lot of stuff in Seattle. Growing up in Seattle, it carries a lot of weight that really affects the way I feel or the way I think. I've always had a deep connection with the geography, the beauty of it. There's the water, the pines, the mountains. I didn't know growing up there what I had until the first time I drove across Texas and stopped to look in every direction. I didn't see a hill or even a mound, certainly no water. I then realized that Seattle was a fantastic place to grown up in. Ever since I've left, I've learned to appreciate it. There's a reason why soulfulness comes out of a lot of people who've made music there.

Rodriguez: You may have moved away from Seattle, but you definitely left your mark. You'll always be a part of this city's rich musical history.

Cornell: I never really feel like I'm gone. I never felt my leaving was an exodus. I didn't have the attitude some people have when they move because they hated everything about that city. I've never felt like that. It's in my blood. I was born there, and it will always be the place I consider my hometown.

Rodriguez: Did you ever hang out on Capitol Hill?

Cornell: A lot, as a teenager. Growing up, I was mostly in the Greenwood area, then spent some time in Ballard, and as a young teen I hung out downtown and then discovered these other places where there's a different culture and where it was more exciting, like the University District and Capitol Hill. What's interesting about that is when I travel around the world and go to different cities, I start recognizing the neighborhoods and relating them to the town I grew up in. Likeminded people in any city are going to gather together and have their culture in one corner, and other people with other cultures are going to gather in another corner. Seattle is a very unique city, in that you have a fairly liberal attitude in a state that's extremely conservative. Drive outside the city for twenty miles in any direction and y0u can feel that.

Rodriguez: Seattle is very open-minded.

Cornell: It really is, and it's kind of in its own world. Why it's there or how it ended up being there is a bit against the odds.

Rodriguez: To close things out on an open-minded note, I want you to know that you have a lot of Gay fans here in your hometown that support you and love your music, and decorate their bedroom walls with your pictures.

Cornell: (laughs, but replies seriously) Thank you, I appreciate that.
 



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