He insists they don’t need the money – and therefore the only reason they even considered reuniting was because they wanted to make more music.
Last year they released acclaimed comeback album King Animal, after a business meeting led to drummer Matt Cameron inviting colleagues Chris Cornell, Ben Shepherd and Thayil to studio sessions.
The guitarist tells The Phoenix: “Matt had some songs he wanted us to learn. We said, ‘Sure, we’ll learn your ditties.’ We did, and we had a blast – we loved the songs and other ideas were coming out.”
Eventually they hit the road again, and released compilation album Telephantasm. “There were some reviews that said, ‘Soundgarden is obviously doing a cash grab,’” Thayil remembers.
“I thought, ‘How is it a cash grab? Since when is there money in making records any more? Since when do we need the money? We had a fairly successful career.
“Matt Cameron’s played in Pearl Jam, for God’s sake. Why the hell does he need to spend another 20 hours a week writing, rehearsing Soundgarden songs and tending to Soundgarden business? He’s doing just fine, thank you.
“I don’t think Chris needs the money – it seems like he did pretty well with Audioslave and his solo career. I’ve been semi-retired. I didn’t need the money. I guess if I needed to I could have started a band and toured a whole bunch.”
One of the reasons for re-establishing the band and underlining their legacy was “a matter of pride,” Thayil admits. But the most important thing: “Being in a creative partnership – and that’s what feels great.”
-Classic Rock Magazine