The news that Soundgarden has been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year surely must have put a smile on the faces of fans of the seminal Seattle outfit. I know I voted for them the day that voting opened. Sure, they were a group that never attempted mainstream success with their music, their music was something organic that millions of people gravitated to, and still do today. I truly hope they make it into the Hall of Fame this year, to be honest.
But, while taking some time to reflect on the nomination, as well as some of he and the Chris Cornell's best guitar pairings, in a chat with Guitar World, Thayil shared a funny little tidbit about the song "Flower," the opening track to Soundgarden's debut full-length LP, Ultramega OK (1998)
Speaking about the track, Thayil said it is "perhaps not a significant component to Soundgarden's song style or guitar style, but it was a unique one… [It was] is the second song we wrote in drop D, and it is the one single off of Ultramega OK. And the intro is me blowing across the strings."
Thayil continued, saying “I’m playing my Guild S-100, and I’m using the bridge pickup setting, which is a little bit brighter. I've dropped the E string down to D, so there's gonna be some sympathetic resonance between the two D strings and the fifth string, the A.
“The Guild has these microphonic pickups, so I can blow over the string and get this sort of sitar-like, sort of ambient effect. And it’s augmented by my use of a chorus pedal. I did that on the record, although it was a kind of a tough thing to pull off live without the guitar screeching or feeding back. And when I did do it live, it never failed to get reviewed as me playing guitar with my beard. [laughs] And I get it: Brown guy. Beard. Guitar. Guitar near face. Playing guitar with beard. No, I'm just too lazy to shave.”
Hey, man, whatever works! The official video for "Flower"—which featured Thayil, Cornell, drummer Matt Cameron and original bassist Hiro Yamamoto—can be seen below. And to vote for Soundgarden for this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, you can do so right here.