RollingStone.com: What have you been up to since SOUNDGARDEN's split?
Thayil: Mostly I've done session stuff with friends now and then. Most of the time, I've declined opportunities to play live, record or form bands. Just keeping it a little bit "lower," so I have time to do other things besides be on the road [laughs]. I think the one I've enjoyed the most is sitting in on the Altar sessions with SUNN O))) and BORIS. There's a sort of pop-grunge singer from Japan, a woman named Aya, that was being produced by Adam Kasper. Matt Cameron and Krist Novoselic also played on that record, and I played solos on five songs. The album [titled "Senjou no Hana"] was only released in Japan. Spent a long time mixing that NO WTO COMBO record ["Live from the Battle in Seattle", with Novoselic and ex-DEAD KENNEDYS singer Jello Biafra]. Also, the work I did with Steve Fisk — both with PIGEONHED and the last solo Steve Fisk record, "999 Levels of Undo", I wrote some parts and came up with some leads. Besides working with the guys from SUNN O))) and BORIS, I really like the work I've done with Steve Fisk. Believe it or not, in the early '90s, I did some TV commercial soundtrack with Steve! It was a Christmas spot — lots of weird, chaotic noise — for a retail store.
RollingStone.com: How did the recent "3/4 SOUNDGARDEN reunion" performance come together? (See fan-filmed video footage below.)
Thayil: Tom Morello was coming through with the Justice Tour, and he had asked Susan Silver [SOUNDGARDEN's manager] — Tom wanted to get some notorious rock locals. Ben Shepherd and I were asked separately — we were going to be on the bill separately. As things worked out, it was getting close to the gig date, and Ben had not put together any project, and the guys that I was jamming with, our ideas were not gelling. We were going to do some old punk rock covers, and have [MUDHONEY's] Mark Arm sing. That fell through. And Tom called, and said, "Would Ben and Kim like to join me on stage to do 'Spoonman'?" And we said, "Sure. But we heard Matt is coming down to the show, and I'm not going to play it in front of Matt — I would play it with Matt." So I called Matt, and he said sure. Ben said, "Let's do the first single, 'Hunted Down'/'Nothing to Say', and then we'll do 'Spoonman'." And then this left a problem with who we would get to sing with us. A lot of people that I asked were real hesitant — they didn't want to replicate Chris' performance. So it had to be Tad [Doyle], right? It had to be the guy with God's Balls to say, "Fuck yeah, I'll do it!" We went down to the PEARL JAM rehearsal space and had one practice on a Monday and rehearsed for an hour and a half. The next day, we went over them at soundcheck, and then we busted out those three songs [at the Crocodile Cafe].
RollingStone.com: Could SOUNDGARDEN ever reunite?
Thayil: People would have to want to. I think more importantly, tending to the merchandising catalog is something that would be satisfying for the band members and for the fans. I never say never ... but I'm not losing too much sleep over it, either.
Read the entire interview from RollingStone.com.