When it comes to the grunge era, one of the standout albums has to be Soundgarden‘s Superunknown!
This #1 album reached 5x platinum and received two Grammys: Best Metal Performance for “Spoonman” and Best Hard Rock Performance for “Black Hole Sun”, both in 1995. Superunknown was also nominated for Best Rock Album.
1. Mistaken identity
Chris Cornell says he woke up, “maybe hungover”, and found a VHS copy of Seattle based clown performer J.P. Patches’ show with “Gertrude Reveals Superklown” on the front. Cornell mistakenly read it as “Superunknown” and found the phrase to be thought-provoking… so much so they named their most successful album after the blunder!
2. Singles inspiration
While working on the 1992 romantic comedy film Singles, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament was in charge of creating fake cassette tapes to be used as props in the movie. Chris Cornell thought it’d be great to take one of the cassettes and turn it into an actual song.
Which title did Cornell settle on? “Spoonman”!
3. Strange instruments
Alongside spoons, Soundgarden used cans and biscuit tins to create all the ambience found on the album.
Cornell says there are sounds he’s forgetten were used in the recording process years after until he listens back to Superunknown.
4. Signed, sealed, delivered
Cornell says “Mailman” is a song about a person who is “powerless” and “isolated” and then becomes a “fercious, forced to be reckoned with.” The narrative was meant to be a voice for frustrated postal workers.
5. Spoons on spoons
Artis the Spoonman, a Seattle street performer, came in to the studio session to supply the cutlery sounds. Instead of playing along with the rhythm section, Artis broke out into a free jazz spoon solo for electrifying results.
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