Song Of The Month, November 1996

It may be a bit late, but here we go with November's song of the month... "Room A Thousand Years Wide."

The 7"

Kim Thayil

Matt Cameron

Ben Shepherd

Chris Cornell

Stage dive


The Song
With music by Matt Cameron and lyrics by Kim Thayil, "Room A Thousand Years Wide" was originally recorded not for Badmotorfinger, as many people think, but for a special Sub Pop 7". In 1990, Soundgarden had just hired bassist Ben Shepherd to replace Jason Everman, who had replaced Hiro Yamamoto, and in celebration decided to record their first songs together for a limited edition record on their old label (Soundgarden's first two EPs, Screaming Life and Fopp, were released by Sub Pop in 1987 and 1988, and the CD reissue of both was released in 1990). The real "single" was "HIV Baby," with "Room A Thousand Years Wide" being the b-side. The release was limited to 5000 copies, with the first 1500 on grape vinyl and the remaining 3500 on standard black vinyl -- Sub Pop Singles Club members received black copies. An image of the grape vinyl can be found at the official Soundgarden website.

In 1991, the song was re-recorded for Badmotorfinger (track 8, sandwiched neatly between "Searching With My Good Eye Closed" and "Mind Riot"), a slightly different version than the one found on the 7". As can be heard on the album, a small brass section ("spastic horns," according to SPIN magazine, October 1991) is featured, with Scott Granlund playing saxophone and Ernst Long playing trumpet (they are more prominently featured later on the album in "Drawing Flies"). Melody Maker has called the track "sad" and "poignant." In a definite reference to "Room A Thousand Years Wide," Chris and Matt had the following to say in the July 1992 issue of Select:

Chris: "Heavy rock lyric writers have never inspired me. They're either party words, or really silly, juvenile politics that you've known for years, or mystical stuff... At least we don't write about wizards and starships and cyclopses... We're kind of into perverting rock language."

Matt: "We're the kind of band that uses words like 'begat'!"

"Room A Thousand Years Wide" has no video, since it really was a b-side and was never released as a single following Badmotorfinger, but it is featured on the home video Motorvision as a live performance, recorded at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle in March 1992. The images that line the left-hand side of this page were captured from that performance, and there is a video clip available below.

Sound + Vision
There is only one sound clip from the studio version of "Room A Thousand Years Wide" available below, taken from the Sub Pop 7". If you don't own Badmotorfinger, please bookmark this page, turn off your computer and go right now and buy it. I apologize for not having any full-length live clips, but if I didn't have so much crap to do already, this page wouldn't have gone up 6 days late.

AUDIO "Room A Thousand Years Wide" [AU: 524,312]
And as promised, a video clip of Soundgarden performing the song from Motorvision:

[VIDEO] "Room A Thousand Years Wide" [MPG: 160x120, 58s, 4.04MB]


Listen, hear, he is inside
One who lives while others lie
I close my eyes and walk a thousand years
A thousand years that aren't mine
It seems he's near me as I walk
One who loved what love denied
He lives these years that I walk blind
All these years cannot be mine
Tomorrow begat tomorrow
Begat tomorrow
Begat tomorrow
A thousand doors a thousand lies
Rooms a thousand years wide
He walks in the cold sun and wind
All these years will not begin
Tomorrow begat tomorrow
Begat tomorrow
Begat tomorrow

The guitar tablature was worked out by Andrew Northcut; the beginnings of the bass tablature were worked out by Christopher Kush.

Authorized Releases
There aren't many places to find "Room A Thousand Yeards Wide":

  • "HIV Baby"/"Room A Thousand Years Wide", Singles Club bonus 7", Sub Pop, September 1990

  • Badmotorfinger, A&M, 1991

  • Off The Record (RIP Awards Show, 1991), 11/07/94

Unauthorized Releases
Bootlegs, you say? Far too many to list. Check out Steve Russell Jr.'s superb Soundgarden bootleg discography for more information.

Thanks to Geoff Kleemola (the video clip and captures) for making this month's featured song page possible.