Just days after Soundgarden did a bad job of avoiding SPIN’s questions about their then-unannounced tour with Nine Inch Nails, the Seattle group is opening up about the 23-show summer trek. In an interview with Billboard, frontman Chris Cornell praised his fellow headliners and let it be known that he’s into the idea of collaborating onstage with Trent Reznor, though the groups have yet to make any solid plans to do so.
“We tend to be really open, and we’ve toured with bands that are and we’ve toured with bands that aren’t, and there’s some bands that totally aren’t set up for that,” he said. “Some bands have a thing that they have to do, and the idea of a collaboration might open the curtain so people can see behind it. So you never know.”
Cornell added that they’ve never met the guys in Nine Inch Nails and that he doesn’t even remember how the tour came about. “It was the way most tours probably come about, which is the tour guys think, ‘Well, what tours should we put together?’ I don’t remember when the idea came up, but it was definitely a while ago,” he said.
He does, however, remember loving NIN when they first hit it big. “It seemed cool, like this new sort of wrinkle of aggressive rock, but closer to Killing Joke than Metallica, which appealed to me,” he said. “And it just seemed like everything about it was cool and aggressive.”
At the very least, this tour pairing suggests that whatever beef Reznor had with Cornell is a thing of the past. Back in March 2009, the Nine Inch Nails frontman publicly slammed Cornell’s Timbaland-produced album Scream, by tweeting, “You know that feeling you get when somebody embarrasses themselves so badly YOU feel uncomfortable? Heard Chris Cornell’s record? Jesus.” A few weeks later, Reznor referenced the tweet with an April Fool’s prank, in which he announced a fictional Nine Inch Nails album called Strobelight was available and also produced by Timbaland.
Reznor didn’t stop there. A few months later, he took a few more shots at Cornell and admitted that part of the feud stemmed from 1994, when their albums Superunknown and The Downward Spiral dropped on the same day. “We had a chip on our shoulder about Soundgarden because their record [Superunknown] came out the same day Downward Spiral came out, and they beat us to No. 1 on Billboard. That became a kind of professional showdown. And we did show them,” Reznor said in an interview. He added that his issue with Scream had to do with Cornell’s decision to use Timbaland in order to “sound like what’s on the radio” to cash in.
But hey, that was five years ago. We’ll see if Reznor has any issues with Soundgarden playing Superunknown in its entirety on the tour, just like they did last week at SXSW, or selling a Super Deluxe edition of the album, which they will do on Record Store Day.