Soundgarden Original Members

Band members Kim, Chris, Ben and Matt
Band members Kim, Chris, Ben and Matt( Source : instagram )

Soundgarden original members are Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, and Hiro Yamamoto. Soundgarden is a seminal Grunge band.

Formed in 1984, in Seattle, Washington, Soundgarden is an American rock band that helped popularize the grunge music genre which mixed the elements of punk rock and heavy metal.

The group was one of the first music bands from their genre to sign to the Seattle-based record label Sub Pop, which helped them release two EPs in 1987 and 1988.

On October 31, 1988, with major labels courting the band, they released their debut studio album, Ultramega OK under the independent label SST Records. 

Soundgarden has received multiple accolades winning the Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance and Best Hard Rock Performance in 1993 and 1994.

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Soundgarden Original Band Members Names And Ages

Soundgarden original band members names and ages are Chris Cornell (52), Kim Thayil (62), and Hiro Yamato (62).

Chris sadly passed away in 2017.

Since the three originally formed the rock band in 1984, there have been significant changes in the members.

Here are all the former and current members of Soundgarden:

Chris Cornell

Chris was the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the rock band. He also played drums during the band's early days.

Chris chilling in his room playing the guitar in a black T Shirt and grey pants
Chris chilling in his room playing the guitar in a black T Shirt and grey pants( Source : instagram )

Unfortunately, he passed away in 2017 at the age of 52. His death was ruled out as suicide by hanging as the singer struggled with depression for most of his life.

Hiro Yamamoto

Hiro is one of the founding members of the rock band. He played the role of bassist in the band from 1984 to 1989.

Kim and Hiro (Right) are still close friends as seen by various pictures
Kim and Hiro (Right) are still close friends as seen by various pictures( Source : pinterest )

Born on April 13, 1961, the bassist is 62 years old as of this article.

Following his departure from the band, he started his own rock band, Truly in 1991, with former members of the Screaming Trees.

Kim Thayil

Kim is also the founding member of the band. He stayed with the band until it disbanded in 2019.

Lead guitarist Kim performing on stage
Lead guitarist Kim performing on stage( Source : instagram )

Thayil is also 62 years old and was born on September 4, 1960. He served as the lead guitarist for the grunge band.

In 2010, he was named the 100th greatest guitarist by Rolling Stone.

Matt Cameron

Matt was the drummer for the band from 1986 to 1997 and from 2010 till it disbanded. He joined the band following the departure of Scott Sundquist.

Cameon performing live at the opening ceremony of the NFL game
Cameon performing live at the opening ceremony of the NFL game( Source : instagram )

Cameron joined the band Pearl Jam after Soundgarden went on hiatus in 1997. 

Ben Shepherd

Ben joined Soundgarden in 1990 following the departure of Yamamoto. He played bass from 1990 to 1997 and from 2010 to 2019.

Shepherd performing as a bassist in Columbiahalle
Shepherd performing as a bassist in Columbiahalle( Source : facebook )

Ben is 54 years old and was born on September 20, 1968, in Okinawa, Japan.

He played as a bassist and backing vocals during his span at the rock band.

Why Did Soundgarden Break Up?

Soundgarden broke up in 1997 due to internal strife over creative direction and weariness from tours. They were at the pinnacle of their career.

Despite massive success, the band called it quits and decided to go their separate ways with little explanation. After the annual American four-day tour with Metallica, the band ventured on the World Tour, during which the crew could already sense some pre-existing tensions.

Rock band Soundgarden disbanded in 1997
Rock band Soundgarden disbanded in 1997( Source : twitter )

As per Wikipedia, when the lead singer has questioned whether he and his group hated touring, Cornell replied:

We really enjoy it to a point, and then it gets tedious, because it becomes repetitious.

During the World Tour's last stage in Honolulu, Hawaii, the bassist, Sherperd, flung his guitar up in the air from frustration after suffering from equipment failure and proceeded to leave the stage.

Guitarist Thayil later addressed the rumor surrounding the extensive use of drugs and alcohol being the primary factor for the band's separation. 

He mentioned that it was the particular aspects of his Seattle-based contemporaries like Alice in Chains, and Nirvana but not Soundgarden, emphasizing burnout and fatigue as the key role in the hiatus.

Drummer Cameron stated that "Soundgarden was eaten up by the business", whose claims were later reinforced by the frontman Cornell's proclamation. He said:

Soundgarden had become a business, and that business had somehow, in a sense, started to be able to dictate to us what, where, and how we were going to do things.

When Did Soundgarden Start?

Soundgarden started as a band called Shemps with Chris as both singer and drummer and Hiro as the guitarist. They performed around Seattle in the early 1980s.

Following Yamamoto's departure, the band recruited bassist Thayil, who moved to Seattle from Illinois, with Bruce Pavitt and Yamamoto.

After the disbandment of the Shemps, Cornell and Yamamoto started jamming together and were later joined by Thayil.

Grunge band Soundgarden in the early 1990.
Grunge band Soundgarden in the early 1990.( Source : twitter )

Named after a wind-channeling pipe sculpture of NOAA in Seattle, the band was formed in 1984 and was called Soundgarden.

The band initially featured three guys, Cornell on drums and vocals, Yamamoto on the bass, and Thayil on guitar but in 1985 the band recruited Scott Sundquist as a drummer to allow Chris to focus on his vocals.

The group of four performed at multiple concerts throughout the year and even released their first three songs that were featured on the 1986 compilation album for C/Z Records called Deep Six.

Eventually in 1986, the drummer Sundquist left the group to spend time with his family, who was later replaced by Skin Yard's drummer, Matt Cameron

Where Is Soundgarden From?

Soundgarden is from Seattle, Washington. Seattle was home to the Grunge boom in the 1990s.

Many prominent Grunge bands like Nirvana and Alice in Chains were also from the city.

Soundgarden performing a concert alongside their restless fans
Soundgarden performing a concert alongside their restless fans( Source : instagram )

Although it is deemed a Seattle-based band, most of its members are native to other cities except for Chris and Kim.

One of the founding members, Hiro was from Park Forest, Illinois, and of Japanese descent. Currently, the guitarist resides in Japan.

On the other hand, Ben was born in Okinawa, Japan to American parents while Matt was born in San Diego, California.

Will Soundgarden Release New Album?

No, Soundgarden will not be releasing a new album anytime soon since the band disbanded in 2019. 

After vocalist Chris'death in 2017, the remaining band members were unsure of how to move forward and unsure about their future.

In an interview with Seattle Times in October 2018, Thayli declared that the name Soundgarden has been retired. He also ruled out the possibility of touring under the Soundgarden's banner.

However, in January 2019, the remaining members reunited alongside other renowned rock bands in a tribute show and fundraiser organized by Chris's widow, Vicky Cornell.

In July 2019, Thayli mentioned that the remaining members of the band were trying to finish and release the new album they were working on before Chris' death.

Unfortunately, it was never released because the master file of Cornell's vocal recordings was withheld and was denied access by Vicky who later sued the surviving members over numerous accusations.

Soundgarden Band Songs, Albums And Discography

Soundgarden released six albums throughout their discography.

On October 31, 1988, the iconic rock band debuted its first studio album, Ultramega OK, under the label SST Records. Although the national sales for the album were poor, it was later nominated for the Grammy Awards in 1990.

The grunge band released its second independent album, Louder Than Love, which was later signed with A&M Records in 1989. The album charted at No. 108 on the Billboards 200 album chart.

Soundgarden featured in the Kerrang Magazine in 1991
Soundgarden featured in the Kerrang Magazine in 1991( Source : instagram )

It wasn't until their third album, Badmotorfinger, that the band had a breakthrough following the hit singles "Jesus Christ Pose", "Outshined", and "Rusty Cage", which peaked at No. 39 on Billboards 200 and certified double-platinum by RIAA.

Released in 1994, the album Superunknown was another major success which debuted at No.1 on Billboard 200 and delivered the Grammy Award-winning singles "Spoonman" and "Black Hole Sun".

The group's succeeding album Down on the Upside was also a significant hit which peaked at No.2 on Billboard 200 yielding singles like Burden in My Hand" and "Blow Up the Outside World".

Ultimately, after more than a decade-long hiatus, the band reunited in 2010 and released their final album King Animal.


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