by Chris Nickson

Chris Nickson's SOUNDGARDEN: New Metal Crown was published in November 1995 by St. Martin's Griffin (New York). The softcover, 228-page book is the history of Soundgarden's career, beginning even before the band was formed with a brief chronology of rock music, touching on such influential bands as the MC5 and Kiss. It follows the band through its various phases, from the three-piece act that recorded for the Bands Who Will Make Money demo tape to the current lineup that recorded "Blind Dogs" for the Basketball Diaries soundtrack in April 1995. It also includes a somewhat detailed discography (though nowhere near as complete as Steve's discog) and a chronology as appendices. Black and white pictures are scattered throughout the book; the old ones are quite entertaining.

The book is a mixture of sources old and new: on one hand, Nickson has talked with people like legendary producer Jack Endino, Dawn Anderson, and members of Truly and Skin Yard. On the other hand, much of the content, especially the parts where members of Soundgarden are quoted directly, comes directly from magazine and newspaper articles. There is quite a bit that is taken from Rolling Stone and The Rocket, so if you buy this book, be aware that not everything is going to be a fresh take on Soundgarden's history.

Note also that the book is very heavily biased towards Soundgarden's newer material, often dismissing earlier efforts like the first two EPs and Ultramega OK as nothing but mistakes. Even Louder Than Love and Badmotorfinger are basically portrayed as nothing more than stepping stones to the pinnacle, Superunknown.

New Metal Crown should be available in most any bookstore for about $11 in the United States ($16 in Canada). I'm not sure about overseas distribution.