KISW 99.9 FM: Seattle, 4/14/91
transcribed by Justin Nicholls
originally appeared on the excellent Unofficial Soundgarden Homepage and used here with permission
The New Music Hour with Damon Stewart...
We have Chris Cornell from Soundgarden and Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam, formerly of Mother Love Bone, they have a new project out, it's called, well it will be on Tuesday, it's called Temple of the Dog. It's a tribute record to the late Andrew Wood, singer of Mother Love Bone. Here's more from that interview/conversation.
Stone: Damon Stewart! How are you, my friend?
Damon: I'm fine, Stone. Chris, how are you?
Chris: I'm well, as well.
Damon: Jeff, good morning.
Jeff: Hi. Good evening, good night.
Damon: So, we're here about Temple of the Dog.
Chris: We have some business with Temple of the Dog.
Damon: Chris, this started with some inspiration that you had written some songs about Andrew Wood.
Chris: Yeah, actually when he died I was on tour or, actually, I had got back the day he died and then like about five days later I went to Europe for another tour and I figured it would be this great thing, because I would be away from home and I wouldn't have to look at places where I saw him or see things that would remind me of him and I thought it would be really great but it was awful because I couldn't talk to anybody. So I started writing songs, that was the only thing I could really think of to do. The songs I wrote weren't really stylistically like something my band Soundgarden would be used to playing or be natural for us to do, but it was material that Andy really would have liked, so I didn't really want to just throw it out the window or put it away in a box, y'know, put the tape away and never listen to it again. So I thought it would be good to make a single, and I thought it would be really great to record it with these guys, Stone and Jeff, because they were in his band and I just thought it would be a really fun thing to do... I was getting to be friends with these guys before he died, actually, and it just seemed like maybe it was a good idea. At first I thought about it and then I thought maybe they would think it was horrible and that I was an asshole...
Jeff: Which we did and then finally we came around. (laughter)
Chris: That was where the payola started, right? (laughter)
Jeff: And here's where it ended.
Chris: Basically, I gave them an offer they couldn't refuse.
Stone: Haven't you spent thousands on kneepads? (laughter)
Chris: So anyway, these guys had material that they had worked on before and since he died, it sort of at first was this requiem thing but it ended up just sort of being "Let's make a record," this cool collaboration and that's what it sort of turned out to be, really.
Jeff: It was a really good thing at the time for us too, because Stone and I were still trying to figure out what the hell we were doing, it kind of put us in a band situation where we could play and make music, and I think in some ways it was so much fun that we didn't want to stop.
Damon: Did you find the whole thing inspirational to yourselves?
Jeff: Totally, totally. I mean, just working with these other guys too, like when you're in a certain similar band situation for a really long time I think it's really good to play with other people, to just pick up on that, I think that's totally inspirational. Working with Matt (Cameron) and Chris both was really great.
Stone: And Mike McCready.
Chris: Our good friend Mike...
Stone: Mike McMeaty... too meaty, Mike McCready.(laughter)
Damon: Eddie Vedder helps out a little bit on the record too, doesn't he?
Chris: Yeah, there was one particular song, Hunger Strike, which I believe is the first single, he was at one of our rehearsals for Temple of the Dog because he had flown up here, it was the week he was trying out for you guys I guess, and he told me afterwards that he really liked that song and the thing about that song among a couple of others that where stylistically the vocals really weren't anything that I had ever done before, on a record anyway, it wasn't really the way I was used to singing, and I thought his voice suited that song really well and I thought it would be great to do a duet.
Jeff: So Eddie sings the second verse and all the low parts after the second verse.
Chris: Yeah, and he sings backups on three other songs.
Jeff: There was actually a point too where you were trying to do like an overlapping part in practice...
Chris: Yeah, that's true, he sang half of that song not even knowing that I'd wanted the part to be there and he sang it exactly the way I was thinking about doing it, just instinctively...
Damon: So he essentially just fell into it accidentally?
Chris: Yeah, when I asked him it seemed like he was flattered, it wasn't anything any of us had planned. He was just there and he's a great guy and an amazing singer, and I was like this is a fun project, so why not have him involved as well?
Damon: You know, everyone says that it was a really fun and really inspirational time, did you find it uncomfortable at all?
Damon: Is that because everybody is such good friends?
Stone: Yeah, the whole situation was just so non-pressure filled, nobody expected this to be anything, so when we just went in and did it the record company wasn't around, we basically paid for it ourselves to start out with and are still in the process of getting reimbursed for that. I mean, there was no pressure and we did the whole thing in a total of three weeks of studio time, if that...
Jeff: I think it was like twelve days...
Stone: It was as easy to record as anything we've ever done. The drum takes went down like that (snaps fingers) and everything was just very smooth.
Damon: Do you think things turned out a little differently, as far as that goes, if record companies aren't aware of the whole...
Jeff: I think we would have had a few more battles, but I don't think we would have allowed it to be any different than it was.
Chris: Yeah, it might have almost disappeared if anyone had got involved regarding what material we should do... I mean we were originally talking about doing some covers of some of Andy's solo material and realised right away that politically that would get kind of involved, people being worried about us exploiting his material. Which is okay, it makes sense to me, but I don't think any of us were in the mood to deal with that at all.
Jeff: Exactly. More than anything else we just wanted to play, the whole Andy thing was more of an inspiration...
Chris: I think one day someone should do a compilation record of all different bands playing some of his songs, especially his solo songs because he has so much material that otherwise probably won't be heard.
Damon: Pearl Jam is just finishing up recording its debut record, correct?
Jeff: Yeah, there's like a week left and then we're going to mix it.
Damon: And so that will be out sometime...
Jeff: In July.
Jeff: Late July.
Damon: And Chris, as far as Soundgarden is concerned you guys have been rehearsing and writing...
Chris: We've been writing and writing and writing and writing.
Jeff: How many new songs to choose from for the new record?
Chris: Probably thirty, but we'll probably have to record significantly less than that.
Damon: And you guys leave for the San Fransisco area next week, right?
Chris: Yeah, next week.
Damon: That record, the Soundgarden record, will be out...
Chris: September, yeah.
Damon: I'm glad we have that all cleared up because there's been a lot of questions with regards to what's happening with Soundgarden now that this Temple of the Dog thing is around and what's happening with the Mookie Blaylock guys, and everybody's going "Wait a second, these guys aren't called Mookie Blaylock any more, they're called Pearl Jam."
Chris: That's the funny thing too, because the time we spent on making the Temple of the Dog record as well, writing the songs and putting the material together was sort of... it was such a short amount of time that that whole thing kind of came and went and we're all totally submerged in what we're doing now. It's kind of strange to even think of it that way...
Stone: It's like somebody from the outside, every time a record comes out you think they just got done making it just yesterday (laughter). We just finished, we pressed it yesterday and now it's done.
Damon: Unless you guys have anything else to add that will probably do it.
Damon: We wish you well with projects.
Stone: It's always a pleasure to be here at KISW with you.
Jeff: Seattle's best rock.
Chris: Did I tell you guys about the Chris Cornell and Crazy Horse album that I'm working on? (laughter)
Jeff: Can we fade on that?
Stone: That's the perfect fade right there.