Ever since Soundgarden/Audioslave shriekmeister Chris Cornell moved from Paris – where he owns and operates a bistro, Black Calavados – to Miami, where he purchased a studio, friends keep asking him annoying questions, like, why hasn’t he seen the latest summer blockbuster? He always responds, “Because I’m a f—- father of two young children and I’m busy. I don’t have the time to go out to a movie! Really, when you’re the parents of young children, by the time it’s movie time? Everybody’s wrapping up their day.”
Not that the singer — who hits Oakland this weekend, behind his latest mostly-acoustic solo set, “Higher Truth,” plus a reissue of his 1999 debut under its original title, “Euphoria Mourning” — is bitter.
“I like having kids,” he says. “I like being with my family. And that’s the experience that’s challenging and amazing to me.”
It also explains his relocation to the Sunshine State. “When people hear Miami, they’re thinking of clubs on the beach at four in the morning. But we don’t participate in any of that,” he adds.
Fatherhood is a different world, says the Seattle-bred rocker, who – with his wife – also runs the philanthropic Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation.
His current activities include accompanying his daughter Tori, 11, to Ariana Grande concerts, and sports games with his son Christopher, 10. “In fact, I took him to the NBA Players Awards in Vegas,” he says. “And he actually wound up on camera, just sitting there, watching all of his NBA heroes, probably thinking that most kids get to do this, I’m not sure. But I’ve been doing stuff like that. A lot.”
He even penned a lute-delicate fairy tale for his offspring on “Truth” – “Only These Words,” a poetic way for him to communicate important life lessons to the youngsters without being preachy or precious. But the rest of the album. which he worked on with producer Brendan O’Brien, is as stark and stripped down as Springsteen’s “Nebraska,” with the word rain recurring in several tracks.
“I lived in Seattle until I was 37,” he says. “So I am that guy — it really doesn’t matter where you put me. And besides, it rains a lot in Miami.”
The “Truth” concept began with early Audioslave concerts, when Cornell would play Soundgarden classics like “Black Hole Sun” alone onstage. It blossomed into his recent “Songbook” all-acoustic tour and album.
“There’s something to be said for knowing that you can stand in front of that many people with just a guitar,” he says.. “So I owe a debt of thanks to Audioslave for allowing me get up there and do that.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland
When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26
Tickets: $40.50 to &70.50
Contact: (510) 465-6400. www.ticketmaster.com