If you've been reading our news articles with a keen eye, you may have noticed our mention of rock singers heading out of their band comfort zones for solo or acoustic (or both) action - Gavin Butler and Neil Starr will be doing just that in April to plug a new album. But when a seriously revered rock heavyweight, with all manner of global band experience behind him/her, decides to sever band ties, temporary or permanent, then it becomes a rather different concept.
Chris Cornell's past has been well documented, of course. He fronted key Seattle grunge-rock behemoths Soundgarden from the mid-'80s to the late '90s, before they spectacularly imploded at the peak of their success. They reformed in 2010 with rumours of a new album for later this year - I would suggest that could be a release date around the time of their hotly-anticipated Download 2012 appearance. En route between the two Soundgarden incarnations, Cornell has hollered his way through three peerless albums with 'supergroup' Audioslave, founded post-grungers Temple of the Dog, had the classic 'Rusty Cage' covered by the late, great Johnny Cash and recorded a Bond theme (for the spoof remake of 'Casino Royale', but it's a Bond theme of sorts). It's been a busy life so far.
Armed with such a mighty canon and free of heavy recording commitments, whatcha gonna do? If you're astute, you'll do what Chris Cornell has been doing for the past year or so and take the songs back out to the fans and sing them live. Oh and why not compile the best bits for an album, while you're at it? And so the simple concept of 'Songbook' was spawned. With a set list drawing from Cornell's more recent past and perhaps beyond, the singer has covered grunge classics by Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog (natch), plus Led Zeppelin, John Lennon and, of course, his own solo works including the provocatively titled, 'Cleaning My Gun'.
With the US leg of the subsequent tour out of the way and with that Soundgarden newie on the way, Cornell has time to return to the UK for the first time in three years as a soloist. These Songbook shows will begin at the Lowry in Salford on 16th June, followed by London's Palladium on 18th, Birmingham's Symphony Hall on 19th and finally Newcastle's City Hall on the 20th. Tickets are on sale from Friday morning at 10am - demand will be very high!
Tickets for Soundgarden's appearance at this year's Download Festival on 10th June, supporting Black Sabbath no less, are still available priced at £75 for the day or from £155 for the entire weekend!