Melvins and Soundgarden both came up in the early-to-mid-80s in Washington making similar music, so naturally they crossed paths. In an interview with Sonic Breadcrumbs, Melvins guitarist and vocalist Buzz Osbourne revealed that Cornell "was a fucking good drummer," possibly even better at the instrument than at guitar.
Osbourne recalls seeing Cornell drum in Soundgarden at a show in 1985, when Cornell was singing and drumming at the same time.
"Oh, yeah. Yeah. Chris was playing drums [at that show]. That's originally how I remembered Soundgarden was two guys out front with no microphones and Chris playing drums and singing."
Osbourne later added that Soundgarden "sounded a little more like Killing Joke" at the time, and that Cornell was a really good drummer.
"He was really good. He had a big jumbo bass drum set. Played drums really great. Talking to Matt Cameron not long ago, he talked about how Chris would make these demos and sometimes the drums would be so good he would just play them the way that Chris wrote them."
Cornell drummed for Soundgarden between 1984 and 1985. Scott Sundquist joined and drummer for the band between 1985 and 1986, and then current drummer Matt Cameron joined.