Soundgarden and Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron released his first-ever solo album, Cavedweller, last week, and today the lyric video for the opening track “Time Can’t Wait” is premiering exclusively below.
“I was certainly on the fence (about releasing the album) when I came home from the Soundgarden tour, but it feels good to take one step forward here,” Cameron tells Billboard. “This has been a positive step for me, for sure.”
Cameron began working on Cavedweller early in 2016, at his own studio and the Bait Shop in Seattle and Bunker Studio in Brooklyn. The diverse but definitely rocking nine-song set takes Cameron off the drum stool and puts him behind the microphone, and on guitar, bass and keyboards as well. He gets help from Alain Johannes (Eleven, Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures) on two tracks, as well as Tim Lefebvre (Tedeschi Trucks Band) on bass and David Bowie’s Blackstar drummer Mark Guiliana.
“For me it’s just the basic joy of songwriting, and my whole mission draws out of that,” Cameron explains. “It’s something I’ve done over the years for sure, when I have time between gigs. I was just trying to zero in on each particular track, and I tried to bring each musical and vocal part out as much as I could. That was basically the goal, and that’s what’s so fun about doing my own record was completely making all the decisions myself. Working in these enormous bands I’ve always had to play my role — and lovingly so. I love my role in all my bands. It’s nourishment for me.
“One of the millions of takeaways from being in those bands is just full creativity, 100 percent of the time. So that was one of the goals for me even wanting to do a record was to make sure that if I was going to release a full musical statement like this, it was going to be 100 percent me.”
“Time Can’t Wait” — whose lyric video was directed by longtime Soundgarden designer Josh Graham — was among the first songs Cameron created for Cavedweller, “just a nice little garage stomp that has some nice little rhythmic twists” courtesy of Guiliana. And Cameron did not find it strange to have another drummer playing on his own material. “I know on paper it seems a little weird, but it wasn’t as strange as it seems,” notes Cameron, who’s been playing guitar since he was a teenager and bass and keyboards since he moved to Seattle from his native San Diego during 1983. “Working with Mark was seamless and easy, and he knew exactly what I was going for. I kinda knew Mark would completely understand what I wanted so, no, it wasn’t hard at all.”
And though it was recorded before Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell’s death in May following a concert in Detroit, Cavedweller’s lyrical approach proved a bit prescient. “I don’t think there’s any sort of direct story other than…what I’ve been going through recently, just feeling a lot of love and a lot of loss,” he says. “I think those are my central themes throughout the album.” And rest assured that the shock and grief over Cornell still weighs heavy on Cameron and his Soundgarden bandmates.
“I don’t think we’re ready to say anything other than…Kim [Thayil] and Ben [Shepherd] and I are certainly aware of how much our fans are hurting, and we’re certainly hurting right there along with them,” Cameron says. “But we’re extremely private people, and we’re all still processing our grief in our own way and on our own time. But we definitely are thinking of our fans and love them very much.”