There is a group of people — you know exactly who they/you are — who, for better or worse, acquire the bulk of their musical taste from the Guitar Hero and Rock Band video games. And while I was initially averse to these people for vein and egotistical reasons, I now believe these games are some of the best forms of publicity for bands new and old. There is something about “playing Helmet’s ‘Unsung’ on guitar” that made me really get into Helmet infinitely more than if I just heard “Unsung” on the radio.
So, if you’ve never heard of Soundgarden (you never know), or you’re still absorbing Badmotorfinger, or don’t quite understand why Cornell’s first vocal lines in “Burden In My Hand” are some of the most visceral rock vox ever sung, the newest Guitar Hero is going to give you the unique opportunity to play a Soundgarden song possibly more times than Soundgarden ever has. “Black Rain”, a previously unreleased song, will be one of the playable tracks on the forthcoming Guitar Hero: Warrior’s Of Rock, which is due for release on Sept. 28th for Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii (via Rock It Out! Blog). The announcement was made at E3 earlier this week.
It is unclear whether the song is a new recording or a B-side, and no announcement has been made as to whether “Black Rain” will be released as a single or on any future Soundgarden releases. However, we do know two things for sure: a) it’s the first new Soundgarden song we’ve heard since “Bleed Together” appeared on 1997’s A-Sides and b) knowing Cornell, you’ll probably have to put the vocals on easy the first couple times around.
The Soundgarden reunion to happen at Lollapalooza on August 8th may give people a taste of “Black Rain” (preceding “Black Hole Sun” perhaps?), or the ever-delayed B-side Box Set may include the song, if it is indeed an older recording. An interview with guitarist Kim Thayil from last year’s Rolling Stone illustrates the sheer bulk of unreleased material sitting on the band’s shelf. “There’s enough stuff out there to fill up three or four albums,” said Thayil. ”There’s enough original stuff that’s been released but hasn’t been compiled B sides to make an album. There’s enough covers to make an album. It’s just getting the business and creative machine on the same page.” Make it happen, boys.
In the meantime, if for some god-forsaken reason we don’t see Soundgarden at any other reunion shows besides Lolla, we can “be” them in our living rooms on Guitar Heros: Warriors of Rock this fall while we continue to work out the drum part to Rush’s Trees. Damn, Neil Peart.