Shanon Cook of CNN recently conducted an interview with former SOUNDGARDEN/AUDIOSLAVE singer Chris Cornell. Watch the chat below.
CNN: Some people have said that you've lost your musical identity in this album ["Scream"].
Chris Cornell: I don't have one, really. I don't want to have one. If I had a musical identity that was definable then it would be time to get into painting or something else. Race car driving.
CNN: So you would be happy to be experimental on your next album?
CNN: So what was it like working with Timbaland?
Cornell: He didn't really have a particular direction in mind in terms of what he wanted me to do. He did what Timbaland does, and I did what I do. We just wrote songs, which is really the best thing that came out of it. ...
It doesn't sound like anybody else's record. It doesn't sound like music I've ever heard. It defies genre, and yet it's very much a song-oriented album as well as an album-oriented album. ... The music never stops. I've performed it that way. It's almost like a movie soundtrack.
CNN: How often do you Twitter?
Cornell: It depends. When I'm out on the road, depending on the day, a couple times a day I'll spend a half-hour or an hour or so. I've found that doing vocal warm-ups and Twitter at the same time, 'cause I'm a multitasker. I can watch CNN — because I do — and then I can be online and do vocal warm-ups all at the same time. And only one of those things is way too boring.
CNN: I read a couple of your tweets, and you said that you were having trouble sleeping. Is that an occupational hazard?
Cornell: Probably, yeah. I think everybody has a hard time when you play ... [a] show and then you're finished at 1:30 in the morning. It takes me an hour and a half to be able to eat after that and then to be able to sleep after that. It's hard.
CNN: What is the biggest misconception about being a rock musician?
Cornell: My first answer would be that it's just all a big party. But then I've been in that situation or seen bands like that where it is all a big party.
I think overall there's this idea that it isn't work, that it isn't something that you have to put pretty much 100 percent of your focus and your being into, that it's like winning the lottery in a sense. And I think if you're a musician that's had any kind of success there is a component to that. There's some aspect to timing and luck, there's talent obviously as well.
But it's a lot of traveling. It's a lot of waiting, it's a lot of leaving one city going into another city only to see the venue you're going to play in when you arrive, playing for the audience and then leaving and going to the next city.
CNN: Have you ever thrown a really big object through a window?
Cornell: Yeah. I threw an amplifier, a small one, through a window only because me and a few friends of mine that were out on tour together just made the observation [that] our generation just doesn't do stuff like that. So we sort of did it as kind of a ritualistic, "OK, let's participate in the real thing."
There was a piece of duct tape on the amplifier that had my name on it. So I had to run down to the alley and take that tape off so that they wouldn't know who threw it off to the street.