While Soundgarden had been one of the more successful rock bands on the Seattle scene, their approach to rock lyrics were not always thought-provoking. Even the band's biggest hit "Black Hole Sun" is borderline nonsensical, with writer Chris Cornell admitting that he was just painting with words instead of relying on narrative structures.
On the other hand, "Spoonman" is the first-hand account of one of the heroes of the Seattle local scene. On the streets where many Seattle bands paid their dues, a street performer named Arto the Spoonman would play his kitchenware for anyone to hear.
Once the band hit the studio, they wrote this pummeling tune to immortalize the zany street performer from their early days. Chris Cornell's vocals on this track have some of his greatest screams along with one of the meatiest riffs the band had ever come up with. The song even has an extended drum break after the guitar solo featuring Arto himself playing his trademark spoons.
Is it a look of admiration towards the performer? Is it an unflattering form of mockery? Whatever it is, many thanks are owed to Arto the Spoonman for inspiring one of the greatest tracks from these Seattle giants.
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