Inflatable Soule Is Band That Is On Its Way Up

Club preview Inflatable Soule with The Daisy Cutters, Those Who Dig, and the Tamera Cook Band, tonight at The Victory Club, 2803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma. 9 p.m. Admission: $5. Information: 272-8085.

Peter Cornell, lead singer and lead man for the five-piece, high harmonied, acoustic/electric rock group Inflatable Soule, really isn't that sensitive about his brother Chris Cornell's success with his own band Soundgarden.

Just when Inflatable Soule was looking for a title for its new self- produced CD, Soundgarden's `SUPERUNKNOWN' mounted the charts at No. 1. Acknowledging the band's sibling connections, Inflatable Soule toyed for a time with the name "Coattails." Ultimately the band settled on "So Sad."

"We just thought it would be the better way to go," Cornell said at the time. "We weren't sure everyone would get the joke."

What you will get if you pick up "So Sad" is music a world removed from Soundgarden's sound. True, Chris Cornell helped out on the recording, but the sound distinctly belongs to Peter along with sisters Katy and Suzy, bassist Bert Byerly, drummer Dave Hill and lead guitarist Joel Tipke.

Inflatable Soule is smooth and open, rich on melody and clear with its lyric intent. Vocally, Peter Cornell plays things a little closer to the vest, judiciously saving the big voice attack for here and there, rather than singing at full throttle all the time. But the band's sense of dynamics is precise and persistent. All this on a recording made when the current lineup was just beginning to jell.

"Everyone was pretty new to one another," says Cornell now. "Live gigs were really hard for a while because we had to go with what we knew and some of those songs we'd been doing for a long time. We started to get pretty sick of them. But we stayed with it. We've got enough strong material now for a good 90-minute show and it's growing all the time."

Cornell, who flanked by his sisters has always been the band's centerpiece, says responsibility for the group act is spreading out. "Katy and Suzy are doing a song without me now, Katy is playing more flute and Suzy has taken up congas. When we put material together we do it as a group, everyone is in on it. This is becoming more and more a band thing."

Soule has been selling the new CD at gigs and selected stores and Cornell maintains it's doing exactly what it's supposed to do.

"We're finding new listeners and bringing back the old ones. We really lost a lot of momentum when we were changing the lineup. KISW has been playing it a lot. (DJ) Cathy Faulkner has been our guardian angel. She was instrumental in getting the record placed with the Album Network." The Album Network places new material on compilations for use by radio stations nationwide. "That's like over 400 stations," says Cornell. "We're only the second unsigned band ever placed with them. The first was Collective Soul, and they've done pretty good." Cornell says that the band is getting some serious label attention and is now with Silver Management, Soundgarden's handlers.

"When we first started, Susan Silver (who is married to Chris Cornell) told us to just go out and take care of own business. She was really insistent that we learn how it works and how to take care of ourselves. And we did. We became self-sufficient, which is what you have to do if you're going to have any chance of lasting in this business. Now we're working really close with Silver management. Everything is very solid."