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© Joby Sessions
With Vedder installed as Pearl Jam’s frontman, both bands tore through the Seattle scene and into the mainstream as Cameron and co’s third album, Badmotorfinger, and Pearl Jam’s debut, Ten, soared into the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
Superunknown continued Soundgarden’s upward trajectory, with Cameron’s shifting time-signatures – you can find him in 7/4 on Spoonman, 5/4 on My Wave and 15/8 on Limo Wreck, while even monster hit Black Hole Sun strays into 9/8 - making the Chris Cornell-led crew not only one of the most successful bands of the raft of grunge acts pouring out of the US and Europe, but also one of the more musically diverse and complex.
“I listened to a lot of jazz music when I was a kid,” he says when asked of his playing style in the early days of Soundgarden. “A lot of Tony Williams then I got into Bill Bruford, Terry Bozzio, Billy Cobham and some of the fusion guys. I think I was more influenced by jazz and fusion than punk or hard rock. But I loved all that stuff too - Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, MC5, Stooges, all that stuff. But I felt I was always learning more with jazz drummers or listening to drummers that played more difficult music, I geeked out on that stuff.”
The geeking out paid off, as Cameron’s thinking man’s approach to the kit added light and shade to Soundgarden’s raw sound.
“I think what I brought to Soundgarden when I joined was an ability to go outside of punk rock and that feel they were in. Kim Thayil wrote, and still does write, riffs that aren’t in 4/4 a lot of the time. He naturally writes that way. Chris is a very accomplished drummer in his own right and a lot of his songs were completely formed with drums, bass and guitar. A lot of times he would say, ‘Hey, I’ve got this drum beat, is this the right thing to do?’ I always encouraged him as far as coming up with drum patterns."