Grunge godfathers Soundgarden split up pretty much at their peak, in 1997 shortly after storming offstage at an infamous gig in Hawaii, and fans of the band were left to wonder what might have been...and if the four flannel-flying rock legends would ever share a stage or studio again. Massive-lunged frontman Chris Cornell, one of the finest and mightiest singers ever in rock 'n' roll history, went on to success in Audioslave (and, somewhat surprisingly, lesser success as a solo artist), while drummer Matt Cameron became a permanent member of fellow Seattle pioneers Pearl Jam and guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Ben Shepherd played in more under-the-radar projects. But the possibility of any future reunion seemed, well, superunknown.
However, last October all four Soundgarden members were present at a Pearl Jam concert in Los Angeles, and when Chris surprised everyone by getting onstage for an impromptu rendition of "Hunger Strike" (by the 1990s Soundgarden/Pearl Jam supergroup Temple Of The Dog), and this turned out to be a precursor to a long-awaited Soundgarden reunion. While the band has yet to record any new material (their just-released single, "Black Rain," is an outtake from 1991's Badmotorfinger), they have played a handful of well-received comeback gigs (including a headlining Lollapalooza slot), and their new best-of package, Telephantasm, is a welcome reminder of just how mighty the band's louder-than-love rock sound was--and still is.
Perhaps one of the reasons Soundgarden's music still sounds so current is its inclusion in Guitar Hero games, which have introduced their classic material to kids who weren't even alive back when Soundgarden were feeling Minnesota. So it makes sense that for Telephantasm, Activision packaged the CD with the new Guitar Hero game, Warriors Of Rock (an unprecedented move) and invited Soundgarden to play the Hollywood launch party for the game on September 27, when the band performed "Black Rain" live for the first time.
That day before this rare one-off gig, the members of band sat down with Yahoo! Music to discuss their legacy--past, present, and future. While it's unclear whether or not Soundgarden will launch a full-scale reunion tour or release an album of all-new material someday, they seemed to get along here so well, it seems promising. Let the 'Garden rebloom!