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Soundgarden - Ultramega OK

On October 31, 1988, "Soundgarden's" first album "Ultramega OK" was released.

So here are some facts about the album that started this wonderful thing called "Soundgarden":

1. This is the band's first studio album released after two EPs, the first "Screaming Life" released in October 1987, and the second "Fopp" released in August 1988.

2. The first band members to form "Soundgarden" were Chris Cornell who sang and played drums, Hiro Yamamoto who played bass and Kim Thayil who played guitar.

3. Since Chris wanted to concentrate more on singing, they enlisted Scott Sundquist as the band's drummer but after less than a year he decided to leave and was replaced by Matt Cameron.

4. Kim moved with Yamamoto and Bruce Pavitt from Illinois to Seattle. Kim is one of the people responsible for founding the record label "Sub Pop" which was the engine of growth and the main person responsible for spreading the grunge scene that grew up in Seattle.

(Photo: Roy Wilkinson)

5. At one of the band's shows Jonathan Poneman who was a broadcaster on a local radio station called KCMU, was very impressed with the band and offered to give them funding. Kim offered to hook him up with Bruce since he was involved in music that took place in Seattle and was Kim's friend.

6. Following the recommendation of Kim, Jonathan and Bruce teamed up and founded the record label Sub Pop.

7. "Soundgarden" signed to "Sub Pop" and released the two EPs we mentioned above under the label.

8. After the EPs the band looked for a way to release their first album under a larger but independent and non-commercial record company. Despite many courtships on the part of large record labels, the band decided to sign with an independent record company called SST Records.

9. Although the album was initially recorded in Seattle, it quickly moved to Newberg. The producer that the record company "assigned" for the band was Drew Canulette who was not at all familiar with the scene and sound in Seattle. Chris said they made a big mistake on this album when they left Seattle and worked with a producer who did not know what was going on at the time in the city.

10. The band members really liked the songs on this album, but they were very disappointed with the production and they thought the album could have been much better but it came out just "okay", which is actually why they gave it the name "Ultramega OK" which means according to the band members Absolutely, unbelievably not bad.

11. Despite the polished and disappointing production, the root characteristics of "Soundgarden" can be identified in this album.

12. The song "Flower" that opens the album was the first and only single released from it. It also came out with a video clip and got a rotation on MTV.

13. The song "Circle of Power" is the only one on the album that Chris did not sing on but bassist Yamamoto.

14. The song "Smokestack Lightning" is a cover of a song by blues singer/songwriter Chester Arthur Burnett known as Howlin's Wolf.

15. The song "Nazi Driver" is very descriptive and "disturbing" which refers to cutting Nazis and creating a dish that feeds the prisoners.

16. Songs "665" and "667" are a parody of devilish elements in rock music such as the number 666.

17. The song "One Minute of Silence" is a cover/tribute to John Lennon's song "Two Minutes of Silence", which is actually an attempt by the band to "produce" silence for a minute, but despite this, the band can be easily heard in the background.

18. This album earned the band the 1990 Grammy Awards in the Best Metal Performance category.

19. To promote the album, the band went on tour in the United States in 1989 and for the first time in its history also toured in Europe.

20. In 2016 the band purchased the recordings of the album and together with the legendary producer Jack Endino who was one of the mainstays of the music scene in Seattle, they re-released the album with the mix mainly for guitars and Chris' voice expressing the sounds of "Soundgarden" as they should have been.

21. The reissue of the album also includes 6 additional tracks recorded in 1987 by Jack Andino with an 8-channel tape.

And now that you're very curious, click play to listen to the reissue of the album on: Spotify, Apple Music

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