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Chris Cornell Talks Epiphanies and Being the "Architect of Grunge"

Image Courtesy of 42 WestBack in the mid-1980s, before Soundgarden really took off, Chris Cornell and his band played a show in Vancouver, Canada.  During the concert, an audience member threw a glass ashtray straight at the singer.  Luckily, Cornell wasn't seriously injured, but he did have an epiphany.

"I remember thinking right at that moment, 'Ah, we know something they don't,'" Cornell tells the New York Observer.  "'We're onto something and they don't get it yet 'cause they're afraid of it,' and that's the first sign.  Everybody knows what bad is, we know we're not bad.  This is something else.  I remember loading the van and everyone was really down and I was giving this huge pep talk, because I understood that this weird combination of what we were doing was 'the way.'  And now it has a name to it."

That name, of course, is grunge, and it also was applied to Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. Cornell himself has been tagged with the label of "architect of grunge" -- a designation he initially resisted, but has since accepted.

"I actually like the tag now because it puts a name on something that I only sort of marginally understood," he explains.  "What I understood was before Nirvana was a band or Pearl Jam was a band or Alice in Chains or Tad or Mudhoney...none of those, none of them existed yet."

Cornell recently wrapped up the North American leg of an acoustic tour in support of latest solo album, Higher Truth.  He'll hit the road again later this month for a tour of New Zealand and Australia, followed by a European trek in 2016.

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