Perhaps the last thing you’d expect Chris Cornell to be doing this spring is standing alone on a stage, night after night. But the Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman’s self-dubbed “songbook” tour sees him truly solo and acoustic, with no backing musicians.
“Well, it’s something I’ve been doing for a while,” Cornell says, referring to the odd acoustic performance here and there throughout his 20-year career. “This is just an opportunity to bring it to different audiences night after night. That changes everything. Every song changes over time as you’re playing it night after night in any context. I just haven’t [experienced] that with an acoustic set before. Seeing how the different versions of the different songs go over from city to city is really interesting.”
He says the impetus for an acoustic tour came from an unlikely place.
“The initial idea came after I had done about an hour-long set in Stockholm a few years ago, when I was promoting the third Audioslave record,” he says. “My experience had always been playing with a live rock band in whatever version of that I was doing at the time. ... I didn’t really know if an audience would sit and listen to me playing like that for more than a few songs.”
Turns out that most shows on this six-week tour run two-hours and leave the audience and Cornell still eager for more. “It’s really only the venue curfews that stop me from going longer.”
New harvest of Soundgarden?
So, what of the new Soundgarden album? Though they aren’t rushing, Cornell says the reunited original Seattle grungers are already well into a brand-new studio record. This solo tour —and his proposed score for James Franco’s upcoming movie “Beyond Good and Evil” — won’t affect that at all: “That is going better than any of us could have expected.”