Did You Know Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil Is Of Malayalee Descent?

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source: The Revolver Magazine

When we talk about the grunge era, one name that echoes through the halls of rock history is Kim Thayil.

The underrated lead guitarist of Soundgarden, whose riffs defined a generation. But amidst the buzz of his guitar, there’s a quieter tale – one that links him to the vibrant Malayalee community…

Born in Seattle to a Malayalee father, Thayil’s heritage originates from Kerala, India.

source: Jeffgarden

Thayil shared in an interview with Spin magazine the intricate balance of his identity, having been raised as the child of a mid-20th-century Asian immigrant while growing up steeped in American culture.

Despite indulging in quintessentially “American” pastimes like rock and roll and a fondness for baseball, Thayil’s family remained deeply rooted in their heritage, steadfastly preserving their cultural identity.

His mother, a classically trained pianist from London’s Royal Academy of Music, and his father, a chemical engineer, led the family from the Pacific Northwest to Chicago’s suburbs in pursuit of better employment opportunities.

There, Thayil crossed paths with another Asian, Hiro Yamamoto, a math-savvy Japanese-American with a taste for good music.

After high school, Thayil and Yamamoto found themselves in Seattle. Thayil pursued a degree in philosophy at the University of Washington, but rather than following a conventional path, fate intervened when they met Chris Cornell.

source: Vulture

The trio, joined by Matt Cameron on drums, formed Soundgarden, and the band later became a quartet with Ben Shepherd on bass.

Malayalees constitute a substantial segment of the Malaysian Indian community.

In 2020, the estimated number of Malayalee citizens residing in Malaysia stood at 229,800, while the population of Malayalee expatriates was approximately 2,000.

source: Reddit

Currently, Kim Thayil is a member of 3rd Secret.

He collaborates with other notable figures from the grunge scene such as Krist Novoselic, the drummer Matt Cameron from Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, as well as vocalists Jillian Raye and Jennifer Johnson.

You may wonder, why are we bringing up Soundgarden now all of a sudden? Like, are they still relevant? Yes, they very much are – and not just according to your dad.

In fact, despite their absence from releasing new music, the band achieved an important milestone by securing a No. 1 spot on a Billboard chart last week.

The surge in popularity of their tune, three decades after its initial release, can be attributed not to a special re-release or anniversary celebration, but to an unrelated event.

‘Black Hole Sun’ was among several tracks that experienced streaming and sales success last week, thanks to renewed interest sparked by the solar eclipse.

Multiple songs connected to eclipses, the sun, and the moon saw significant boosts on platforms like iTunes and Spotify on the day of the event. Not bad for a song that was initially interpreted as a reference to heroin, huh?

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