Soundgarden's Kim Thayil Sets The Record Straight Over 'Down On The Upside'

By Katrina Nattress

April 24, 2019

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When Soundgarden originally broke up in 1997, many fans theorized that they gave clues to their disbanding on their last album album together, 1996's Down on the Upside, but during a recent interview with Billboard the band's guitarist Kim Thayil set the record straight.

"They’re reversing the causality," he said about the misconception. "They’re saying, 'Oh, the last song is ‘Boot Camp,’ and the band went on tour and then broke up. So the breakup must be foreshadowed on the record. Or the breakup is what caused the record to have these sentiments.' No, that’s not the case."

"If you look at the history of Soundgarden’s material, there are a lot of themes about finite-ness and endings," he continued with a laugh. "That’s present in a lot of our songs going back to the beginning. The fact that there were songs thematically referencing conclusions on that album, ultimately, it’s coincidence. When we were making that record, at least [drummer] Matt [Cameron] and I had talked about there being a next Soundgarden album."

Though they did go their separate ways for a time, the band famously got back together in 2012 and released one more album, King Animal, before singer Chris Cornell's untimely death in 2017. Since his passing, Thayil has made it known Soundgarden will not continue without him.

Photo: Getty Images

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