Chris Cornell and Eddie Van Halen almost collaborated on a track set for one of Cornell’s solo albums.
Guitarist Pete Thorn shared this revelation on The Mitch Lafon & Jeremy White Show. Thorn played on Cornell’s 2008 solo album Scream. During the aughts, Thorn said Cornell and Van Halen were friendly acquaintances. While working on Scream and listening to various tracks, Cornell asks Thorn what he thought about getting Van Halen to play on the album. Thorn was very intrigued and excited about the idea and told Cornell to reach out to the guitar icon.
After a few weeks of no follow-up on the idea, Thorn says he ran into his friend Dave Friedman who had some various tech work for EVH. Friedman was going to Van Halen’s 5150 Studio to do some work for Eddie. Thorn asks Friedman to float the idea of working with Cornell by Eddie.
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“45 minutes later he texted me and said, ‘Ed wants you to call him, here’s his cell phone number,'” says Thorn. “So, I called and I left him a message and… he called me back a couple of days later. We spoke and he said, ‘Well how soon can you come up the studio and play me this stuff?’ …So, we set up a date, I drove up the 5150, and he was just so cool.”
Thorn did make it clear that there isn’t a completed song somewhere “in the vault” saying, “I don’t want to get anyone excited about this thinking it ever got finished because it didn’t, but he did work on it. I would go up there over the next couple of weeks and he had played on it and I’d be like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening, myself and Eddie on a track.’ But it’s a long story, but it never got a vocal on it by Chris. And Ed got busy doing the next Van Halen album right about then … it just never ended up getting finished.”
Say what you will about Chris Cornell's Scream, but this is definitely another instance in rock and roll of “what could’ve been.”