Chris Cornell on New Soundgarden Single ‘Been Away Too Long’: ‘It’s About Time’
Yesterday (Sept. 27), we gave you a stream of the new Soundgarden single, ‘Been Away Too Long’ — and celebrated the band’s return to rocking after their extended absence. But what does Chris Cornell think of the song?
In a new interview with San Francisco’s Live 105 [via Grunge Report], Cornell delved into the writing process behind the song, saying it came to him a couple of years ago during a bout of insomnia. “I was sitting around and one night having trouble sleeping. I was thinking of new Soundgarden songs and the music in my head was some sort of uptempo kind of Soundgarden version of a punk rock song, but not ‘Been Away Too Long,’” he explained. “And that line sort of flashed across as I was just kind of listening to what I call brain radio, and I thought wow, that would be a great new Soundgarden song. Then I forgot it, completely.”
After explaining that the music was recorded separately as “something else I had written,” Cornell revealed that the lyrics finally came to him during yet another restless night. “Towards the end when we were almost to mixing and we were finished with the album, I was having trouble sleeping one night and I remembered that line and thought, this would be really great for a first Soundgarden single,” he recalled. “But as I started to write the lyrics, then it became more autobiographical, and it became real.”
Calling the end result “a look back at history in sort of a strange atmospheric way,” Cornell called the song’s lyrical narrative a way of saying, “We’ve been gone for 15 years and now we’re back. It’s about time, and we still have something to say about rock music that no one else is saying — and I feel confident about saying that.”