Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat
While it may be 2016, and some might describe the overall “production value” of this recently unearthed 1989 footage of a oh-so-very-young Soundgarden as, for lack of better term, “unrefined”, the same “somes” or someones can at least agree that Chris Cornell and his clan of musical outcasts were (and still are) really fucking great. Thanks to Spin Magazine and Pure Volume, grunge lovers can revel in some much-needed nostalgia.
Soundgarden fans young and old can now watch the band in question perform pre “Black Hole Sun” days, and lay witness to less stringy tresses, and a tighter six-pack clad Chris Cornell, alongside guitarist Kim Thayill, drummer Matt Cameron, and a brief member of Nirvana, former bassist Jason Everman. In short, the OG Soundgarden earnestly melts minds in this circa 30-minute VHS at the defunct Rhino Records, in Westwood, Los Angeles. But, at the heart of this beautiful time-capsule back in time to 1989 is the suggestion of Soundgarden’s undeniable talent and genius.
Notably, the first few minutes of the footage hi-light a more distorted, metal-esque alternative to the future mainstream polish turned out by the garden in 1994, with their major-label jump to A&M from Subpop, and subsequent release of Superunknown— an industry revered and grammy nominated artifice for the grunge community. But, the magic in this live recording lies in the self-evident talent of each band member, and their ensuing abilities as an ensemble. 1989 Soundgarden, for the literary theorists out there, ultimately foreshadow a sound and importance that will later take shape in transforming future and contemporary Rock and Roll artists.
Cornell wails into his microphone with successive rhythmic guitar stylings that support intricate and tedious lead guitar riffs displayed by Thayill that to the untrained eye and ear are far more expressive, but effectively impressive. Not often do fundamental innovators, or timeless relics of music showcase a pure, clear vision of their sound from beginning to end. Hence, such footage is not just rare in its physical form, but also by nature—for it documents a new standard of unadulterated and objective talent, or just the recipe for really good music.
Oh and…fiends for Cornell and Cameron can find the longtime duo touring as part of Temple of the Dog. Spooky. Woof.
Songs in order of performance:
1. “Get on the Snake”
2. “Ugly Truth”
3. “Big Dumb Sex”
4. “Hands All Over”
6. “Beyond the Wheel”