For the first time since Chris Cornell had taken his own life on May 18, 2017, Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil spoke about the night of the tragic event, telling Billboard during a recent interview:
“I thought the show [Chris’ final performance, which took place in Detroit, MI the night he committed suicide] was good.
“I remember Chris had just gotten in [to town] and was a little tired and his voice was a little rough, but by about the fourth or fifth song, it kicked in and then it was just, like, super-amazing – beautiful, clear and strong and, I thought, particularly emotive.”
Kim then mentioned a moment of the concert when Chris walked offstage because his guitar was out of tune and a backup wasn’t immediately ready. Thayil said:
“He had to leave the stage, I remember, and he just kind of poked his head around and said, ‘Go ahead, start without me,’ at which point Ben [Shepherd, bass] started jamming on something and we all fell in until Chris was ready.
“People speculate, and they get causality in reverse. I guess it’s natural to try to fill in the blanks to explain a particular mystery.
“I think it’s natural to say that, ‘We know something terrible happened, so we know there must have been some sort of problem. Let’s see what that problem might be. Well, come to think of it, the show was kind of messy….'”
Kim also talked about joining MC50 – the band celebrating the 50th anniversary of MC5’s debut album – for his first public performance since Cornell’s death, saying:
“[Frontman Wayne Kramer] asked if I wanted to play, and my jaw dropped…
“I thought two things: ‘Am I ready to come out of the fetal position?’, and then, ‘How could I be any more ready than this opportunity to play with what I consider to be my favorite band.’
“So I made myself ready. It was like, ‘Fix your head. This is The One!’ When I mentioned it to friends of mine they didn’t hesitate; They said, ‘Omigod, jeez, this is your dream. You should do this!’ The timing was pretty good, I think. I was allowing myself to be ready.”