Chris Cornell of Soundgarden Looks Back on "Burden in my Hand"
Tue, 13 Sep 2011 07:10:44
At this point, Chris Cornell has written an arsenal of classic songs. Whether it's the obvious like "Black Hole Sun" and "Rusty Cage" or the obscure gems such as "Gun" and "Like Suicide", every time he picks up a pen, it seems like gold flows out onto the page and ultimately onto tape.
Down on the Upside touts some mindblowing tunes—instantly "Blow Up the Outside World" and "Pretty Noose" come to mind. However, in the middle of the record, there's a gorgeously dark anthem entitled "Burden in My Hand". A faint guitar shimmies through hazy percussion as Cornell croons, "'Cause fear is strong and love's for everyone who isn't me".
It's heavy lyrically, but psychedically subdued in terms of execution. That's what ultimately makes the song such a wonderful enigma. That's why ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino decided to take a look back on the song with Cornell in this exclusive interview…
He lifts the curtain on the song below.
After all of these years, what does "Burden In My Hand" mean to you? Is that a particularly special song?
It kind of became that. That was a song that really came from the guitar itself. It was mostly like the guitar was dictating what the lyrics should be and creating a mental image. The mental image was this sort of destitute guy. I guess he'd lost his cool if you want to put it that way. He's sort of coming to grips with what had happened and not necessarily feeling particularly emotional about it either way. He's trying to figure out how he would stand up and put one foot in front of the other—or not—and the song never really resolves any of that. It's just that moment of somebody sitting in the dirt. I had more moments like that after that song was written than I ever had before it was, so it means a lot more to me now than it did then. That's true of a lot of songs, not just songs I'd written but songs I'd been a fan of. I was like an Elvis Costello freak when I was about 17-years-old. I listened to every single record and knew almost every song. It wasn't until like 20 years later that I realized I'd be listening to an Elvis Costello song and I'd be like, "Oh, I know what that means now!" [Laughs] I thought I knew what that meant before. I thought it was just words, but now I actually have experiences in my life that relate to it completely and now I understand it entirely. The funny thing is those were experiences that he had at 24-years-old. It took me to be like 38.
What's your favorite Chris Cornell song? Are you excited to see Machine Gun Preacher?
See our review of "The Keeper" and listen to the song here!
See Chris Cornell's full interview here!
See our exclusive gallery of Soundgarden live at The Forum by Heather Detert here!
Photo: Heather Detert