Levine/Schneider Public Relations
October 3, 1991 (Press Release)



The city's name conjures the sound of some of the most groundbreaking, innovative rock 'n roll of the decade. Now, one of the foremost bands of that city - Soundgarden - (featuring Chris Cornell - lead vocals, Kim Thayil - guitars, Ben Shepherd - bass, and Matt Cameron - drums) - seize their moment of recognition as they release Badmotorfinger, the follow-up to 1989's critically-acclaimed Louder Than Love, and the band's second major label release through A&M. Produced by Terry Date (who also produced Louder), the album is set for release October 8th.

The first single and video, "Jesus Christ Pose," was chosen to represent Soundgarden first as the stars of the underground scene that they have been over the last seven years of their existence. The driving, staccato-inflected, piston-driven drum-meets-guitar opus exudes high passion, anger, disgust, fear and urgency all at once. With music written by all four members and lyrics by singer Chris Cornell, the song rails against society's taking advantage of the universal image of self-pity: the "crucified" Jesus Christ on the cross, arms outstretched and asking for mercy.

The video for "Jesus Christ Pose," shot by director Eric Zimmerman of Chicago's H-Gun Group (whose work includes videos for Skid Row, Ministry, Nine-Inch Nails, Anthrax & Public Enemy and Megadeth), was filmed at dawn on location in the lower Mojave desert of Southeastern California. Strong images including hanging upside down, shattering plate glass with metal spikes and throwing sand at the camera compose a highly conceptual and almost industrial art feel. Chris makes clear that "Jesus Christ Pose," despite the song's title, has no religious meaning, however. "It doesn't have anything to do with religion or my view on it. It just has to do with people exploiting a symbol. I think it's silly for other people to exploit it on the basis that it is sacred. Sometimes songs just beg for ideas like that, or certain titles, and then they end up with them - which will probably never be understood, because people will just see the title of the song and make a monster out of it."

Soundgarden began their musical odyssey in 1987 first with two EPs for Seattle's boutique Sub-Pop label (the label that would spawn a host of Soundgarden tributary bands such as Nirvana, Mudhoney, and the Fluid among others) called Screaming Life and FOPP, and then with the 1988 Grammy-nominated Ultramega OK LP for the alternative hardcore SST label.

Upon signing with A&M, Soundgarden would step into the world of popular rock, and with the release of Louder than Love, Soundgarden received rave reviews and massive acceptance. Rolling Stone noted: "Louder Than Love's standouts include a sizzling hormonal stomp, a terse, high-speed chiller about intergenerational relations and a veiled plea for ecological sanity...The foursome favors rock songs as searingly slow as a lava flow -- offset by a raveup or two -- and not much in between." Tower Pulse would further illustrate how Soundgarden's "...sound swells up like the most demented Zeppelin afterbirth, tumbling downstream past MC5/Stooges damage, bare-boned gothicism and hardcore ethos, emerging in a mystical wading pool appropriately tagged Soundgarden."

An early indication of how high Badmotorfinger is expected to climb, the Los Angeles Times recently predicted: "With its charismatic singer and monumental sound, Soundgarden is now poised to ride a unified hard-rock and art-rock audience into the stratosphere. If Badmotorfinger clicks when it's released, the mighty riff to an alternative-rock audience, and intelligence, experimentation and urgency to metal fans dulled by a parade of peacocks." Senior Editor Lauren Spencer of Spin underlines: "Badmotorfinger is waiting to be used and abused, shredded and spindled, and just generally rocked to. Tend to this garden of sound and I guarantee a fruitful crop will rise up and take over the world." A lot of Soundgarden's success this year will be due to contributions in writing from new bassist, Ben Shepherd: "Ben is a lot more versatile in his writing," says Chris. "He can write a Stonesey, dirgy riff and then he can also write songs that are frantic and paranoid, rhythmically detached and totally dense."

On of the most important parameters for success of any new hard rock album is touring behind it. In demand to tour by such luminaries as Ozzy Osbourne, Queensryche and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (all offers made before Badmotorfinger's release date), Soundgarden have accepted the invitation to tour with Guns N' Roses on the second leg of their U.S. tour this fall and winter. The reason why Soundgarden are so in demand to tour with? Their fans - diehard ones - will be the proof of Soundgarden's major popularity on the road. Chris is even more optimistic about Badmotorfinger's success as a result. "We do have an audience, and I think even if this record were less of a record than it is, it would still have a chance of doing really well, based on how we've approached Soundgarden over the last few years. If it was a sellout record where we decided to clean up the production big time and try to write pop songs, it probably would have killed us. But that's not something we would ever do."

If Soundgarden becomes a "superstar band," it won't be because of any changes in their musical style or unique outlook on life - they're the same as they ever were - but better at it. But they are ready. "There is such a thing as good pop music," explains Chris, "and good pop music is usually inspired. It comes from somewhere. Even the early Donna Summer disco songs when she was doing her first albums were still inspired. And most music that way sells a lot of records. And you can't just be a dirgy rock band that gets signed to a major label, and expect to clean up your production and write to a formula because you want to sell a lot of records. I've seen it a lot. And it never works."

Soundgarden will begin performing Badmotorfinger live at this year's Foundations Forum heavy metal convention in LA on October 5th, then at the Rip magazine 5th Anniversary party in Hollywood and at "A Day on The Green", the San Francisco annual all-day musicfest at the 60,000-capacity Oakland Stadium, where the band will play along side Faith No More, Queensryche and Metallica, before heading out on tour with Guns 'N Roses at the start of November.