American singer Brandi Carlile, whose fantastic new album In These Silent Days just came out, has a pretty strong connection to grunge rock icons Soundgarden. Having grown up in Seattle during the band’s ascent, Carlile cited lead singer Chris Cornell as a major influence.
“I am such a Chris Cornell fan,” Carlile says of the Soundgarden frontman, who passed away in 2017. “I loved him so much. I was so devastated when he left us. We are inextricably linked to Soundgarden for life. They were our heroes.”
Carlile’s fandom was loud enough that the band invited her to perform with them at Cornell’s tribute concert in 2019. Carlile was originally going to perform only offshoot band Temple of the Dog’s single ‘Hunger Strike’ with Chris Stapleton, but when “a musician that notoriously doesn’t show up for things” bailed from the concert, Carlile was drafted to sing the band’s biggest hit, ‘Black Hole Sun’, as well.
“I was like, ‘Not only can I do it, but, like, I’m there,’” Carlile says. “‘And I don’t need lyrics. I got this.’”
The band subsequently joined Carlile on stage to perform the Badmotorfinger deep cut ‘Searching With My Good Eye Closed’, a song she recorded with them for the A Rooster Says single exclusive to Record Store Day.
So is there a chance that Soundgarden tours with Carlile as their new lead singer? Well, drummer Matt Cameron told Rolling Stone last year: “I think most people assume the three of us [are] over and done with since Chris passed away, but that’s not the case. It’s nice to know that people still want to hear us play together.”
Carlile’s only stipulation for a potential tour: bringing her longtime co-writer and bandmates Tim and Phil Hanseroth with her. “I would make the time, but I’ll bring the twins. Mama doesn’t leave the twins out.”