Contrary to convention, Soundgarden began their Superunknown tour months before the album's official release date. Early in 1994, the band traveled to Australia, New Zealand and Japan to play the record for countries where it hit stores early. A brief European leg followed, and on May 29th they made their U.S. return with a hometown show at the Kitsap Country Fairground just outside Seattle.
Soundgarden opened most of these gigs with "Jesus Christ Pose" and new single "Spoonman," but before taking the stage, they prepped audiences with a bizarre, semi-narrative short film. The clip opens with close-ups of a children's bicycle and a blue man with an hourglass, then follows the boy as he rides the two-wheeler away from a car, passes life-like scarecrows and enters a foggy forest. Watch this all unfold below.
The music is a song called "Night Surf" written by bassist Ben Shepherd, whose brother Henry directed the clip. Despite Shepherd's specialty, the track mixes in organ and percussion, most notably a crash cymbal that rattles across nearly every beat of the climax. Those looking to own the instrumental should seek out last year's Echo of Miles, a six-disc collection of rare and unreleased tracks. Those looking to own the instrumental on picture-disc wax should seek out the all-vinyl edition set to be released on May 19th.
The band originally told us about the plan to release the video back in March when we caught up with them backstage at Soundwave. "Those who were in attendance and attentive to the intro at a Soundgarden concert during this tour have been the only ones fortunate enough to view and hear 'Night Surf,'" guitarist Kim Thayil explained more recently, adding that "the film had been buried in storage, and only recently was it located, dusted off and remastered for its debut here, online or anywhere."
Back in 1994, Rolling Stone's Kim Neely visited Soundgarden to write a cover story documenting their recent record and Paris tour stop. Within a month of Superunknown's release, the band is already trying to come to terms with its blockbuster success. "That's the ultimate compliment and the ultimate insult," Chris Cornell says of claims that the album is the band's best. "It makes you feel good to hear that, but at the same time, it's kind of like 'Oh, so our other records sucked?'"