There are some bands whose sound makes such a forceful and immediate impression that you can remember the first time you had ever heard them – and will likely be able to remember it for the rest of your life. The first time I had ever heard Soundgarden, I was watching MTV‘s Headbanger’s Ball. I could clearly remember the show’s host Rikki Rachtman telling viewers that they needed to check out Soundgarden, from Seattle. He had specifically mentioned that everyone needed to check out Chris Cornell because he was a little guy with a gigantic voice. And then it was followed by the video for “Outshined” off Badmotorfinger. My mind was absolutely blown by that sound – Kim Thayill’s guitar playing was (and still is) incredible, and Chris Cornell’s voice can blow the roof down. .
But what’s sadly forgotten is that when Soundgarden started their incredible career, they were originally signed to Sub Pop Records, and that the now-legendary grunge rock/alternative rock/indie rock label released the band’s earliest records – including their debut Screaming Life and the wildly experimental Fopp EP. The famed Seattle, WA-based label will be re-issuing both Screaming Life and the Fopp EP on November 26th, marking the first time both albums will be available through digital. And it’ll mark the first time that both albums will be available on vinyl since sometime in the late 80s/early 90s.
Naturally, the re-issue was remastered and it was remastered from the 8 track analog masters of the July 1986 studio sessions by the album’s original producer and engineer, Jack Endino. Endino has described the sessions as a profoundly interesting time as he and the band were “trying to make the most of our eight tracks. Somehow we found room for all of Matt Cameron’s ‘bonus tubs,’ Hiro’s” (the band’s original bassist) “primordial Fender bass, and a whopping four tracks to share between Kim Thayill’s mad guitar psychedelica and Chris Cornell’s still-expanding voice. ‘Nothing to Say’” (the first single off the re-issue) “was the song that made us all look at each other and go ‘uh, holy crap, how did do this?”
Although Soundgarden’s sound has become quite familiar, from listening to “Nothing to Say” it was apparent even back in 1986 that the band was destined for much bigger things – even then they had a sound that sounded thunderous and as though it could knock the roof off an arena.