Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil was asked in an interview with Louisville, Kentucky radio station WFPK why he has never released any solo albums, even when the band was inactive for a period of nearly 13 years after splitting up in 1997.
Thayil responded, “Probably a lot of reasons. I think at the time, I was really fed up with a creative pursuit — you know, songwriting — turning into constant meetings with accountants and lawyers and managers and record company people; I just wasn't interested. When the band broke up, I was initially interested in going back and playing recreationally, which is what I was able to do — play recreationally.”
Thayil added that he also didn't pursue a solo project after Soundgarden's initial split because all his musical ideas at that point would have sounded too close to his former band. He explained, “Anything I would have done would have sounded like Soundgarden without the greatest singer in the world and the greatest drummer in the world. So, that was a little bit discouraging too.”
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell took his own life in 2017, ending the band for a second and final time. Thayil told us not long ago that he couldn't see the band carrying on without its frontman: “It's not likely that we could do, ever, Soundgarden with a missing piece, you know. I would like to do something with Ben (Shepherd, bassist) in the future and it's likely that Matt (Cameron, drums), Ben and I will do something in the future. It just probably won't be Soundgarden. I don't see any dignity in pursuing that course.”
Thayil, Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron are currently embroiled in a legal battle with Cornell's widow over the rights to Cornell's last vocal recordings, payment of band royalties and control of its social media accounts, among other issues.