During a recent interview with The Phoenix, SOUNDGARDEN guitarist Kim Thayil spoke about accusations from some in the media — as well as SMASHING PUMPKINS mainman Billy Corgan — that the band’s reunion is nothing more than a “cash grab.” “How is it a cash grab?” Thayil asked. “Since when is there money in making records anymore? [laughs] I mean, playing Lollapalooza was a one-day payday, but … and by the way, since when do we need money? We’re not like the AFGHAN WHIGS or PAVEMENT. We had a fairly successful career. [SOUNDGARDEN drummer] Matt Cameron played in PEARL JAM, for God’s sake! What the hell does he need to spend another, you know, 20 hours a week dedicated to writing and rehearsing SOUNDGARDEN songs and tending to SOUNDGARDEN’s business? He’s doing just fine, thank you.”
According to Thayil, the last thing SOUNDGARDEN had on their minds was to reap fruits of success gone by doing live gigs. “There’s a lot of other bands; ALICE IN CHAINS came back a few years before us, SMASHING PUMPKINS — I guess that’s not really SMASHING PUMPKINS, it’s just a Billy Corgan solo project with a bunch of new guys, right? But there were a lot of bands that became active again, PAVEMENT became active again,” Thayil said. “I don’t know what it is; maybe when we were broke up we were all younger and everyone grew up and realized there’s sort of a lull as far as interesting popular music — in my opinion.”
Thayil claims that talk of a SOUNDGARDEN reunion all started over a thoughts on the bands t-shirts and posters.
“It was never formally discussed, ‘Hey, you guys want to be a band again?’” Thayil said. “There was a neglect in attending to our catalog; we have no web site, we have no ecommerce presence whatsoever — no Facebook or web site. We had an official and unofficial site from the ’90s; the official one was run by the record company, then the record company was gone, and the unofficial, which was actually a better website, that guy kept it going for a few years, but then we broke up and he let it go. There was nothing for the past decade. There was no web site where you could just get information like discography or interviews or videos or merch — and there was no merchandise in retail. Friends of mine and friends of other guys in the band, they had kids in junior high learning how to play bass or playing in a band at school and they’re kind of checking out their dad or their brother’s record collection and they’d go to the record store and they wouldn’t be able to find any SOUNDGARDEN t-shirts or posters. But, of course, there’s plenty of stuff from our peers like NIRVANA, ALICE IN CHAINS, SMASHING PUMPKINS, etc. We just thought that we needed to correct the neglect that had gone on for a decade.”