Chris Cornell's Soundgarden bandmates had a tough time regrouping to perform at a 2019 tribute concert for their late frontman, because it was all a little too "awkward".
Guitarist Kim Thayil reunited with drummer Matt Cameron and bassist Ben Shepherd in January, 2019 for the "I Am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell" show in memory of the tragic singer, who had taken his own life following a Soundgarden tour stop in Detroit, Michigan in May, 2017.
The Los Angeles bash also featured sets by the Foo Fighters, Metallica, Josh Homme, Fiona Apple, and Brandi Carlile, and although Thayil is glad to have taken part to honour his late pal, he still has mixed feelings about the event itself.
"The best thing about it was playing those songs again with Matt and Ben, and the next best thing was having our friends and guests join us," he told Kerrang!. "The rest was a little bit uncomfortable. It was sort of a clusterf**k."
"It was picking at an open wound, emotionally, and nobody was that thrilled to do it," he shared. "We were thrilled to play the songs for our audience, and to play with each other onstage."
"The takeaway was the band being together with our family, crew and friends. To see that family together again was love. Everyone was happy and teary-eyed. It was the Soundgarden family together, doing what Soundgarden does and honouring and missing our beloved, departed member. That was important."
Touching on what he viewed as the negative aspects of the show, he continued, "The rest of it – the celebrity nature, promotion and focus – was bulls**t. And we knew it was bulls**t going into it. We did it for each other, to support Chris' legacy. There was something awkward and un-intimate about it (sic). It's hard for me to wrap my head around it, but I'm glad we did it for our friends and family."
Soundgarden's surviving members are still struggling in the aftermath of Cornell's loss, and Thayil admits it will be a while before the trio gets back together to make new music.
"Matt still has his presence in Pearl Jam so he's kept himself writing and recording, which is good," the musician continued of Cameron's other gig.
"I'm just trying to come back down and get back on Earth… We will definitely find our feet, move forward and do some original stuff again. Hopefully, I'll do stuff with Matt and Ben."