04.18.2010 04:46 PM

Soundgarden returns to rule all the Earth

One of the greatest regrets in my life, apart from that unfortunate tattoo incident, is not moving Heaven and Earth to getting myself to that Soundgarden-Pearl Jam gig that happened in Ottawa in 1989, or thereabouts. Soundgarden’s Kim Thayill is the Guitar Messiah, you see, and it is important to pay homage to your Messiah.  Particularly when his band intends to go on a hiatus for more than a decade, leaving you bereft.

Bereft. I like that word.

Anyway: hiatus begone! On Friday night in L.A., after long 13 years, the Guitar Messiah and his Soundgarden reunited for one of those secret gig things, as “NudeDragons.” (It’s an anagram.)

Exene Cervenka of X was there, a couple guys from Mudhoney, a SubPop founder, some Pearl Jammers, and a few fans willing to pay up to $2,500 for a ticket to get in. The band played ‘Loud Love’ and ‘Outshined’ and ‘Rusty Cage.’ I was not, however, there to see any of it.

Word is that the boys, older but wiser, are planning a tour. They can’t do that until drummer Matt Cameron completes his beat-keeping obligations with Pearl Jam, of course. But maybe – just maybe – they are heading this way. And, if so, I guarantee I won’t make the same mistake again.

Ditto the tattoo.


  1. SteveV says:

    I saw them with Pearl Jam and Neil Young just after they broke. Soundgarden opened, the sound was shit, so I never felt I really “saw” them. The highlight of that night was a visibly drunk Vedder (wine bottle in hand) coming out to sing Rockin In the Free World with Young. Great moment.

    As time marches on, it is becoming more and more obvious, that of all the “grunge bands” Soundgarden was the true innovator. What Thayil did with tuning is off the hook, Cornell IMHO had the most powerful rock voice in a generation, Cameron the master of the offbeat and nobody played a bass at his knees like Shephard. Nobody can or has sounded like Soundgarden, and that in and of itself speaks to their unique contribution.

  2. J. Heimer says:

    If you close your eyes, they sound like Nickelback.

  3. allegra fortissima says:

    A real 80’s Punk Rock Anarchy Tattoo? Could we maybe… maybe see that?

  4. seaandthemountains says:

    Warren wasn’t the secret reunion gig thing in Seattle? That said, you are spot on. The tour is not to be missed.

    • Warren says:

      Was it? Thought it was LA. Sorry.

      • seaandthemountains says:

        yeah. I only point it out, because it makes missing it, even that much harder to swallow. the rising of the phoenix in scene where it was originated. also interesting cause they are getting slammed by their ‘real’ fans for a snafu with regards to announcement and ticket distribution that had lots of said ‘real’ fans missing the event. good lessons for SFH when the time comes down the road for SFH to rise like a phoenix after a future retreat after future stardom!

  5. bigcitylib says:

    Saw that same tour, I think, with Neil Young and Blues Traveler. Wandering around the CNE beforehand, we even found an unopen six-pack. Also found out what happens to a punk when they run out of moshpit. Whatever the floor of the CNE was made of at the time, it was awful hard.

  6. Steve T says:

    Agreed on all fronts. I passed on seeing Soundgarden once (other committments – but still…), and have regretted it ever since. Won’t make that mistake again, if given the opportunity!

  7. George says:

    Soundgarden and the other grunge bands of that era owe a huge debt to King’s X. Check out “Out of the Silent Planet” or “Gretchen Goes to Nebraska” and realize that before anybody heard of Vedder, Cobain, Thayil, et al. there was a band that didn’t have solo wankery in every tune. That said, Yngwie is the Messiah.

  8. D. says:

    So…if I get PJ tic’s for Buffalo…will you actually come?

  9. Lipman says:

    I envy you guys and gals who have seen Soundgarden live. I remember years and years ago, I had a counsellor at camp who quit his job to follow Soundgarden on tour for a summer. I remember thinking he was crazy to leave a great job in an idyllic setting in Georgian Bay (a sleepaway camp with loads of cute girls who worked up there) to see some gritty band play in grimy spots across the U.S.

    It wasn’t until I became a teenager and popped in a Soundgarden CD, that I realized why he did it.

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