Chris Cornell (born Christopher John Boyle on July 20, 1964) is an American rock musician best known as the lead singer and songwriter for rock bands Soundgarden (1984–1997) and Audioslave (2001–2007). He was the founder and frontman for Temple of the Dog, the one-off tribute band dedicated to his former roommate, Andrew Wood, and he has released two solo albums, Euphoria Morning (1999) and Carry On (2007). His third solo album, Scream (2009) is set for release on February 3, 2009.
Cornell was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and attended Shorewood High School. His parents are Ed Boyle (a pharmacist from an Irish Catholic background) and Karen Cornell (an accountant from a Jewish background). He has two older brothers, Peter and Patrick, and three younger sisters, Katy, Suzy, and Maggie. Peter, Katy and Suzy formed the band Inflatable Soule, a moderately popular band in Seattle during the 1990s. Peter Cornell is now in the band Black Market Radio, which released their debut album entitled Better Than A Killer in 2006. Cornell and his siblings took his mother's maiden name after his parents divorced.
Cornell mentions on the Audioslave – Live in Cuba DVD documentary that he spent a two-year period between the ages of nine and eleven solidly listening to The Beatles after finding a large collection of Beatles records abandoned in the basement of a house. He then suffered from a severe case of clinical depression during his teenage years, rarely leaving the house. At one point, he spent a whole year of his life without leaving his house, during which time he would spend his time drinking and playing drums and guitar. Before becoming a successful musician, he worked at a seafood wholesaler and was a sous chef at a restaurant named Ray's Boathouse.
He is married to Vicky Karayiannis (Βίκυ Καραγιάννης, a Paris-based American publicist of Greek origin, and was previously married to Susan Silver, the manager of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. He had a daughter with Silver, Lillian Jean, in June 2000. He and Silver divorced in 2004 and he married Vicky Karayiannis shortly afterwards. She gave birth to his second daughter, Toni, in September 2004, and their second and his third child, Christopher Nicholas, in December 2005.
Kim Thayil (born September 4, 1960 in Seattle, Washington) is best known as the guitarist for Seattle-based grunge band Soundgarden, which he founded with Chris Cornell and Hiro Yamamoto in 1984. He was named 100th best guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine.
Although he was born in Seattle in 1960, Thayil grew up in the Chicago suburb of Park Forest. Thayil's parents are from the south Indian state of Kerala.
Thayil met Hiro Yamamoto at Rich East High School in Park Forest. After graduation, they moved to Washington, where Thayil studied philosophy at the University of Washington. There they met Chris Cornell, a roommate, and the three formed Soundgarden in 1984. Soundgarden became the first of Seattle's grunge bands to sign with a major label (A&M Records). They went on to release five albums, including three which went platinum at least once, and win two Grammys.
Thayil became acclaimed for his guitar work, which was typically characterized by heavy riffing, and was cited among other grunge guitarists as an influence and a pioneer of the "Seattle Sound." In 1994, Thayil commented, "I think Soundgarden is a pretty good band and I'm a fine guitarist. I'm not God, but I'm certainly not average. I feel very comfortable with the fact that not many other people can do what I do on guitar. I think my guitar is happy with the way I play it."
While living in Seattle, he was known to associate with Rob Morgan of the Seattle band The Squirrels. He was also known to frequent The Cold Mountain Juice Company, a fresh juice company which was located in Seattle. A UPS Store now stands where The Cold Mountain Juice Company once was.
During the recording sessions for Soundgarden's final album, Down on the Upside, Thayil clashed with Cornell over the vocalist's desire to shift away from Soundgarden's traditional heavy riffing. In the midst of these tensions, which increased on the subsequent tour and came to climax at a show in Hawaii (where Ben Shepherd flung his bass into the air in frustration after suffering from several technical failures), Soundgarden announced that it was disbanding in April 1997.
Originally one of Soundgarden's main songwriters, Thayil's contributions as a writer eventually dwindled to just one song on Down on the Upside, "Never the Machine Forever." While a member of Soundgarden, he wrote the following songs for the band:
Rage Against the Machine (sometimes shortened to RATM or Rage) is an American rap rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1991. The band's lineup, unchanged since formation, consists of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford, and drummer Brad Wilk. Rage Against the Machine is noted for its blend of punk rock, rap, heavy metal, and funk as well as its revolutionary politics and lyrics. Rage Against the Machine drew inspiration from early metal instrumentation, as well as rap acts such as Public Enemy, Urban Dance Squad, and Afrika Bambaataa. The group's music is distinguished primarily by their powerful stage energy, de la Rocha's rhyming styles and Morello's unorthodox guitar techniques.
Rage Against the Machine released their debut album Rage Against the Machine in 1992, which became a commercial success, leading to a slot in the 1993 Lollapalooza. Maynard James Keenan supplied backing vocals on several songs. The band did not release a follow-up record until 1996, with Evil Empire. The band's third album The Battle of Los Angeles was released in 1999. During their initial nine year run, they became one of the most popular and influential political bands in contemporary music.
In 2000, shortly after breaking up, the band released their fourth studio album Renegades, which is comprised entirely of cover songs. Zack de la Rocha started a low-key solo career; the rest of the band formed the rock supergroup Audioslave with former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, which disbanded in 2007. In April 2007 Rage Against the Machine performed together for the first time in seven years at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The band has continued to perform at multiple live venues since. In July 2008, Zack de la Rocha released an EP by his long awaited project with ex-The Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore, One Day as a Lion.
System of a Down (commonly referred to as System or abbreviated as SOAD) was an Armenian-American rock- metal band, formed in 1994 in Glendale, California. Consisting of Serj Tankian (lead vocals and keyboards), Daron Malakian (vocals and guitar), Shavo Odadjian (bass), and John Dolmayan (drums), the band has released five albums since 1998. A staple on mainstream rock radio, their works have earned them four Grammy Award nominations, of which they won one.
System of a Down is very politically active (Although they prefer to call themselves a socially aware band) and are noted for the liberal political views expressed in their songs, tackling several subjects including the Armenian Genocide, War on Drugs, religion, and censorship. The band is a part of the Axis of Justice, a non-profit organization co-founded by Tankian and fellow musician Tom Morello, dedicated to bringing together musicians, music fans, and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice.
In 2006, the group went on an "indefinite hiatus", and all four members are currently working on various side projects.