That time Chris Cornell told me that he thinks about strange, internal, retarded, philosophical things all the time

By Steve Newton

By now most everyone has heard the awful news: that American rock legend Chris Cornell took his own life after a Soundgarden concert in Detroit Wednesday night.

What a complete shocker. What a total downer.

He was only 52.

I wasn’t the biggest Soundgarden fanatic in the world, but I loved a lot of the music Cornell made with that band, and Audioslave as well. And I really enjoyed some of his solo work too.

I only got to interview him once, back in October of 2008, before he came to Vancouver for a show at the Red Robinson Show Theatre (before it changed its name to Hard Rock Casino Vancouver).

The year before he’d released his second solo album, Carry On, which I thought was awesome, so when he called from San Francisco I started the interview off by telling him that, mentioning how it had made my Top 10 albums of 2007 list.

I rattled off my favourite tunes on the album, and asked him what inspired “Killing Birds”, the track I was most impressed with overall.

He replied with a thoughtful commentary on his lyrical process for that tune, and offered a glimpse of what goes on in his head most of the time.

“You don’t have to love the murderer I’ve become…”

Have a listen:

 

Killing Birds
I learned long ago
‘Bout a better way of killing birds
And what it means when they die in my hands
Like a strangled heart
It never made much sense to me
Why I’d need to know the best way to do that
But you have to love the murderer I’ve become
As I’m standing here in front of you
Standing right in front of you
Standing here in front of you
Killing birds
I’ve spent my youth
Breaking down the walls my father built
Just like he did to his father before him
But then I had no home
So I tried to make a better one
It looked just like his, so I burned it down again
No there ain’t a long parade of idiots
As I’m standing here in front of you
Standing right in front of you
Standing here in front of you
Killing birds
You don’t have to love the murderer I’ve become
If I could spin a web
I would sit and wait for you
I wouldn’t need a stone, I’d just poison you and tie you up
And you would be a bird
A beautiful crescent one
And your eyes would beg
But I’m just doing my job
Standing here in front of you
Standing right in front of you
Standing here in front of you
Standing right in front of you
Standing here in front of you
Standing right in front of you
Standing here in front of you
Killing birds
Songwriters: Chris Cornell
Killing Birds lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

 

 

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