Kim Thayil picks Soundgarden’s landmark guitar moments

Kim Thayil of Soundgarden performs on stage at the Melbourne Big Day Out at Flemington Race Course on 29th January 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.
(Image credit: Martin Philbey/Redferns)

“When it comes to Soundgarden, we didn’t bend too far towards radio-friendly,” Kim Thayil says. Nevertheless, the guitarist continues, “We did end up being radio-friendly, even with our weird tunings.”

Indeed, over the course of their career, the Seattle giants not only pioneered many of the elements of the sound that would eventually become known throughout the world as grunge, but also managed, courtesy of a highly developed and often idiosyncratic songwriting and guitar approach, to bring that sound straight into the center of mainstream culture, racking up platinum albums (among them 1991’s Badmotorfinger and 1994’s Superunknown) and monster radio and MTV hits (Outshined, Black Hole Sun, Spoonman), as well as influencing scores of rock and alternative bands that followed in their wake.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.