Don’t call it a reunion – that’s what Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell says about the band’s current status. In a word, he says that Soundgarden “exists.”

Talking with The Orange County Register, Cornell unveiled a change in status for the group, and said, “The reunion word, to me, doesn’t even need to be used anymore.”

Fair enough, but this all started with a reunion, which Cornell says came about as a result of an everyday event: he was shopping with his wife and saw baby AC/DC and Ramones t-shirts, which made him think of the fans who had been trying to buy new Soundgarden merchandise that at the time, didn’t exist.

He says that “got me to realize that there has to be somebody that services the legacy. Our catalog had been entirely ignored by management and the record company. We figured out that we had to take back that responsibility. And once we were in a room discussing those things, one thing led to another, slowly but surely."

Confronted with the combined legacy of the “holy trinity” of Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden, Cornell says “you know, I guess it was maybe two years after we split up when I was driving down the street, turned on the radio and a Soundgarden song came on, and I realized, 'Oh, they’re not going to stop playing our songs.'”

“In that respect we never really went away. We’re a band people will always make reference to on some level or another. Not just us, but the Seattle scene that we came from, that we helped start -- looking back from now, it’s actually a movement, culturally and in music, that could be compared to punk rock.”

Calling it less of a “genre,” he remembers the time as a “very vital and immediate and all-encompassing moment” and says “it’s pretty exciting that we’re part of that.”

You can also read our own exclusive interview with Cornell, where he talks about a variety of topics related to both Soundgarden and his favorite classic rock music.

Watch Soundgarden Perform 'Pretty Noose'