Soundgarden was an influential Seattle rock band who helped to define the sound that came to be called grunge. They are considered one of the 'big four' Seattle bands of the era, along with Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam. In 1997, the band broke up due to internal strife over their creative direction.
Soundgarden was formed in 1984 by Chris Cornell (drums & vocals) and Hiro Yamamoto (bass), and was later joined by Kim Thayil (guitar). Thayil had moved to Seattle from Park Forest, Illinois with Yamamoto and Bruce Pavitt, who would later start Sub Pop Records. The band named themselves after an outdoor phonic art installation called "The Sound Garden" located on NOAA property near Seattle's Magnuson Park, which makes eerie sounds when the wind blows.
Cornell originally played drums while singing, but the band enlisted Scott Sundquist to allow Cornell to concentrate on vocals. The band's first recordings were three songs that appeared on a compilation for C/Z Records called Deep Six. It also featured songs by fellow grunge pioneers Green River, Skin Yard, Malfunkshun, The U-Men and Melvins.
In 1986 Sundquist left the band, to be replaced by Matt Cameron, who was the drummer in Skin Yard.