by Jon Ewing

Soundgarden has finally been immortalized in the same manner as Prince (or the artist formerly known as Prince, anyway), Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and a host of others: as the subject of a CD Book. CD Books are the standard jewel case-sized, shrinkwrapped books that are available in most record stores in the United States (they're usually found in the CD bins with audio discs). Hence, though it contains 120 pages, the pages are only about 5.625" wide and 5" tall.

Though it's a small package, the book includes a reasonably comprehensive history of the band, a chronological summary, and a discography at the end. The discog is of course far from being complete, but it does include track lists and such for the EPs and albums through 1994's Superunknown, as well as some of the compilations; it does not make any pretense of being complete, however, and that's refreshing.

The book is filled with pictures, and the pictures alone are worth the roughly US$8 price tag. A few samples are available at the bottom of this page. There are a ton of shots of the band members, showing them at various stages in their career, including a few with short-lived bassist Jason Everman; one notable absence in this book is a picture of Hiro Yamamoto, Soundgarden's original bassist. He seems to have been overlooked entirely. Along with the band pictures, the book includes shots of related faces, such as Jonathan Poneman, Kurt Cobain, Pearl Jam, Malfunkshun, Tad, and The Melvins, a photo of Seattle, and even some pictures that are of dubious necessity: Axl Rose in his star-spangled spandex shorts, and a 2-page spread of Skid Row.

The book is published by Carlton Books Limited and as mentioned above, sells for about US$8.