Pearl Jam bass player Jeff Ament came up with the title. Along with Eddie Vedder, Layne Staley and various other grunge forebears, he was in the 1992 movie Singles
, which stars Matt Dillon as a musician named Cliff Poncier. A prop in the film is Poncier's solo tape; Ament contrived the song titles, one of which was "Spoon Man." (At the time, Cornell was in the group Temple Of The Dog ("Hunger Strike
") with Ament and Stone Gossard, who went on to form Pearl Jam.)
When Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell, who also appears in the film, saw the tape, he recorded actual songs with those titles just for fun. The 5-song recording was pressed to about 5000 CDs which were used to promote the film. This original version of the song was recorded on a 4-track tape to emulate how Poncier would have done it. It's very raw.
When it came time to record Superunknown
, Cornell made a polished version with Soundgarden, this time as "Spoonman." Ament is credited on the album for coming up with the title.
Cornell had yet to meet Artis when he wrote the song.