WTF Podcast

Episode 502 - Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell and Soundgarden are heading out on tour for the 20th anniversary of their most successful album, Superunknown. Chris sits down in the garage to tell Marc about the creation, break up and reformation of the quintessential Seattle band and to talk about The Beatles, punk rock, the grunge scene, the word “alternative” and rock mythology. This episode is sponsored by A&E Network, Jack White’s new album Lazaretto, HostGator and


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Frank June 02, 2014 at 8:59 am

Chris Cornell!  Awesome!

Mark, have you or your people ever reached out to Axl Rose to see if he would do an interview?  My instincts tell me you are not the biggest fan, and he’s done like two interviews in the past twenty years, but maybe he would come on?  Maybe he’s the world’s biggest WTF fan?

Michael P. Gowdy June 02, 2014 at 10:06 am

“Mark, have you or your people ever reached out to Axl Rose to see if he would do an interview?”

The odds of it happening are probably next to impossible. It would definitely be the biggest surprise in the show’s history—honest to god, if J.D. Salinger were still alive he would be the only person who might shock me more as an interview guest.

Whiskers June 02, 2014 at 11:00 am

Good interview. & good to know about your father.

And it’s true that we sometimes can get really annoyed at our parents because unconsciously we’re being intolerant at the same flaws that we have inherited from them. But we’re all just people, so it’s good to see past that. It’s good to forgive them for their flaws and, like you say, be aware of those aspects in ourselves, so that we can overcome them. And that’s the benefit we have over our parents, is that at least we can be aware of those things. They might be too old to do something about it, but we can still learn from their example, and work on it with a more objective mind.

Lisa B June 02, 2014 at 5:07 pm

The best, most honest Chris Cornell interview I’ve ever heard.  Love it and Chris Cornell!!!!

humble pie June 02, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Seriously impressed here, Maron. Whatta get!

Jacobiv June 02, 2014 at 8:19 pm

Did you ask him why he sings every song the same way?

Ervin June 02, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Marc! I have listened to every episode of WTF knowing that someday Charleston would come up. And man, was I excited when you had local hero Shepard Fairey on. So today during your self promotion when you said you would be coming to Charleston I was ecstatic. But you said Charleston North Carolina, which is not where I live, nor does it exist. So I did as you said and checked the calendar here on and I see you will be playing in Charlotte. Thats fine, an honest mistake I understand. But if no one else has, let me be the first to invite you to Charleston South Carolina. I know nothing about booking a gig here but we have several great venues, including a dedicated comedy stage called Theatre 99. (A small venue you might like, only 99 seats.) Also I believe you would like Charleston as a city. We have thousands of great restaurants, paved roads, and charm. I know you like the south, please come down here and check us out.

Joey June 02, 2014 at 10:03 pm

I really like when you have musicians on here. Most of the time it reminds me to dust off stuff that I really enjoyed but may have forgotten about or not gotten to recently.

Also, unlike most interviews these folks do, it takes a much more holistic approach, and I always get something extra that I hadn’t really known before.

Bob Gnarley June 02, 2014 at 10:30 pm

lemmy kilmister

Bruce Nutbrown June 03, 2014 at 9:56 am

Hey Marc,  Always look forward to a new WTF.  I didn’t get into the Cornell one too much, but I never got into SG either, so I’m sure it’s just my odd taste. I’m always surprised by the ones I find most entertaining.  Killer Beaz ??? never heard of him, great interview.  Ru Paul, if it wasn’t WTF I probably wouldn’t have bothered, but again a great interview. The Reitman/Reitman week was great. Never heard of the EELs but now I’m a fan. I couldn’t listen to all of the Gallagher episode.  Too loud, to nasal, and nothing interesting to say. But it had to be done.

Thanks for the good stuff.  Also sorry about the split with MZ. I was looking forward to those episodes in season 3 of Maron (good move with Jen though that had trouble written all over it),
How about an episode with Terry Gross…the two best interviewers in radio at the same time.  Worlds collide.

Come on up to NH,  the Club Casino is a nice big room, very cheesy in a cheesy beach town. Attell killed there (Norton was a little too focused on getting laid).

Keep up the good work.  Thanks.

Michael P. Gowdy June 03, 2014 at 10:55 am

Bob Gnarley June 02, 2014 at 10:30 pm

lemmy kilmister

Yeah, I thought the same thing, actually. I like Motörhead, and everyone who has lived in L.A. for even a few months knows where to find Lemmy. Hahaha.

Doug June 03, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Chris Cornell is one of the best. Huge Soundgarden fan. Going to have to have him back Marc to talk about living in Paris, Audioslave and so much more. Great stuff as always. Boomer lives!

Joe Tily June 04, 2014 at 9:27 am

Yeah man, Lemmy Kilmister.  Maybe Ozzy too?

The musician interviews have become an integral part of WTF in my opinion. Whats wrong with a bit of variety? Celebrity has nothing to do with it.  Musicians are usually interesting people with great stories to tell.  Thanks for another great episode Marc.

Daelin June 04, 2014 at 10:17 am

One of my favorite episodes in memory. I really love listening to your talks with musicians more than anything else. I make sure to listen to the entire episode if it’s a musician, and it being one I admire deeply just makes the show that much better. Have more musicians on, if at all possible. Or don’t because who gives a fuck what I think, right? I realize this isn’t a place for guest recommendations, but I really need someone to do a full length interview with Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys. I haven’t seen him be honest in interviews any time recently, and I would love to hear how he thinks and his story.

Slim June 04, 2014 at 7:05 pm

This was one of my least favorite interviews. Nothing new here. I don’t know how Marc keeps it as fresh as he does, but I got the sense even he was struggling during this snoozer. Rock is dead. There is absolutely nothing new to be said or heard. This field has been plowed way too many times by way too many white boys.

I’ve always found the Seattle/grunge scene unbearable, and this interview did nothing to change that. I think the Seattle scene can be summed up in the following Bardology:

“‘Tis death to me to be at enmity. / I hate it, and desire all good men’s love. . . . / I thank my God for my humility” (Richard III, II.i.61–73)

And in the next scene the pop artist with the obligatory Hendrix perm slags the pop artists who came before him and his (the good guy from Seattle) climb up the pop charts. And, of course, their disillusionment with success and—get this—their decision to retire early always nicely coincides with their fall off the pop charts.

Oh, Please. Give me Rupual in a dress. Now that’s honesty.

Guys, Rock is a popular art form—a popular music. Get over it. There is a tide in popular music between introspective music and party music. Both speak to the human condition. Get over yourselves already. One decade wants to contemplate the whiffenpoof and the next just wants to dance. Neither has anything of value or honesty on the other.

Marc, there are some legendary Jazz cats around who remember the glory days of jazz. It would be amazing to hear their stories of life, struggle, and art. And they didn’t learn their licks from Guitar Player magazine. Or get their sexy mugs signed for a million dollars—with a mansion and wedding in the South of France—just like a Keef and Anita coffee table book.

pie repeat June 04, 2014 at 8:16 pm

gonna listen again. been imbibing a bit. summer vacation began. the perks of teaching. the first listen was actually in the classroom; now it’s horizontal within the private sphere, alongside a couple several drinks which Cornell’s testimony may help to preclude in the future.

Bear June 05, 2014 at 1:39 pm

I have agree the musicians interviews are the most fun.  I don’t know how you set them up but I think you could a GREAT interview out of Exene Xervanka and that whole LA scene!  And Henry Rollins!!!  B.B. King… Anyway awesome back stories and all kinds of cool stuff.  Hope you have some kind of ledger with all these autographs in it because this is epic.

Jeff June 05, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Pere Ubu were the gods that you prayed to! AWESOME!

Gloria June 08, 2014 at 9:18 pm

This was a great interview, as usual. Thanks for putting out these podcasts; they’re free and they enrich my life. Usually, I have to give birth to something, create/invent something, or have sex with something for that to be true. Thanks for all you do.

Papageorgio June 10, 2014 at 2:08 am

I can’t believe anyone would dislike this interview. I have never heard a musician talk so ego-less and honest.He spoke like a historian and not a rock star. Cheers, Chris Corenll.

Joe N. June 13, 2014 at 8:26 am

Being a musician/music myself, I love the interviews with famous musicians. You’re a great interviewer who’s able to get the other side of the story. I dug your talks with Wayne Kramer and Tommy Stinson and this one as well! So far, yours is the only podcast I can stand to listen to. Most importantly, Keep doing whatever the fuck you want.