Chris Cornell: A Songwriter Blooms in Soundgarden

By Rotondi, James | Guitar Player, October 1993 | Go to article overview

Chris Cornell: A Songwriter Blooms in Soundgarden


Rotondi, James, Guitar Player


It seemed like the only alternative. Feeling penned in and distracted by the numerous roommates in his small house, Chris Cornell couldn't get any writing done, and with recording for Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger just a few weeks away, he needed space. With his little dog in tow, Cornell retreated to a serviceable oceanside cabin for 10 days without so much as a phone call from another human being.

"It started to get pretty wild after the fifth day," recalls the singer/guitarist from his Seattle home. "The voice in your head becomes really loud, and since all you're doing is thinking, anything memorable that happens that day happens in your head." Despite admittedly "getting paranoid and freaking out," Cornell hung out long enough to write some incredible lyrics, like "Drawing Flies," which he frantically scribbled down just as he was preparing to return to society. A tough way to get some good lines? "Hey," shrugs Cornell, "it worked."

The 29-year-old performed doesn't spend all his time recreating Walden Pond, though. White it generally takes a few hours alone for "the flood gates to open," Cornell values the wealth of ideas that only human contact can provide: "Especially really inane conversations where people say things that are totally benign, stupid, and drunken. They can strike you as really important." Musically, privacy is not an issue, as Cornell says he invents his share of Soundgarden's angular, alternate-tuned riffs (see The New Alternate Tunings, Dec. '92 GP) on Les Pauls "even in the most chaotic scenes."

Cornell says he often finds it easier to be "vocally creative" over odd-time riffs: "In a weird time signature there's really only one thing you can sing, and it jumps right out at you. Straight-four riffs have been around for so long that you can end up writing the same song 500 times." Chris also leaves room for happenstance. "Birth Ritual," Soundgarden's contribution to the Singles movie soundtrack (which also features Cornell's Zep-esque acoustic solo piece, "Seasons"), features a tough, D-tuned 7/8 riff by drummer Matt Cameron overlaid with a shrieking melody Cornell says he had in mind before he ever heard the music. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Chris Cornell: A Songwriter Blooms in Soundgarden
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.