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Kim Thayil on performing Soundgarden material with his former bandmates: "I think we'd wanna re-explore that and do that at some time in the future"

Soundgarden perform at the Paramount Theatre on February 8, 2013 in Seattle, Washington
(Image credit: Mat Hayward/FilmMagic)

Since the tragic death of the band's frontman, Chris Cornell, in 2017, Soundgarden's three surviving members – electric guitar player Kim Thayil, bass guitar player Ben Shepherd and drummer Matt Cameron – have performed together a small handful of times.

In January 2019, the trio performed a number of Soundgarden songs – with various singers – as part of the 'I Am the Highway' Cornell tribute concert in Los Angeles, and in December 2020, they joined Tad Doyle, Mike McCready and Meagan Grandall for a version of Alice In Chains' Angry Chair at that year's MoPOP Founders Award ceremony.

Last August, meanwhile, they joined Brandi Carlile onstage at The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington for moving renditions of a pair of Soundgarden classics – Black Hole Sun and Searching with My Good Eye Closed

In a recent interview with Lifeminute, Thayil signaled his openness to additional live performances of Soundgarden material with his former bandmates in the future. 

"I think it's very likely that Matt and Ben and I will play together," Thayil said. "I think we know that the songs that we love, that we did for decades with Soundgarden, if we're gonna play those songs again or hear those songs when we wanna hear them, at best it'll be with at least the three of us; that's the closest we're gonna get at this point. 

"So I think we'd wanna re-explore that and do that at some time in the future, and I think the three of us have an interest in doing new things," he continued. "We certainly like working together."

Any reunion under the Soundgarden banner, with or without a new singer, would almost certainly have to be worked out with Cornell's estate, which has been at loggerheads with Thayil, Shepherd and Cameron over a number of issues for years.

Last year, the Cornell estate came to a temporary agreement with the remaining Soundgarden members over use of the band's social media accounts and website, all of which the trio alleged they had been locked out of. 

Battles between the two camps – still unresolved as of this writing – also extend to the rights to the band's music catalog, royalties and the fate of a final Soundgarden album.

Brandi Carlile, for her part, has said that she'd be open to serving as Soundgarden’s new singer, if the opportunity came her way.

“I am such a Chris Cornell fan,” she told Rolling Stone’s Music Now podcast last fall. “I loved him so much. I was so devastated when he left us.”

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.