Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil admitted he struggled to understand the value of the band’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nomination.

In a new interview with Guitar World, he said he’s made sense of the situation after listening to others who’ve previously been involved with the experience.

Soundgarden is currently fourth in the fan vote, with the top five of 14 artists gaining a boost when it comes to the final poll of industry experts. While leading the fan vote is no guarantee of induction, it usually leads to joining the class of the year.

“When I first heard about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I thought, ‘How do you quantify that?’” Thayil said. “But then I started hearing from friends who either were inducted or attended events, and they said, ‘Man, this is fun because of the enthusiasm the fans have for seeing a band they love and believe in having their achievements and merits recognized.’ ... If you’re a fan, it’s a validation of your choices and your appraisals in your musical tastes. So that changed my understanding of it, and made me realize it’s important.”

The death of singer Chris Cornell in 2017 added more value, he noted: “Now that Chris is gone, it’s even more important. It’s for Chris’s memory and the band’s legacy. And for our fans – for the love and commitment they’ve shown us for all these decades.”

Thayil also reflected on Soundgarden’s unexpected mainstream success, saying, “We didn’t bend too far towards [being] radio-friendly. We did end up being radio-friendly, even with our weird thing.”

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