Soundgarden To Play Obama Inauguration Ball

Grunge rockers announced to play presidential event.

Ultimate Guitar

Soundgarden have been announced amongst the performers scheduled to play at President Obama's inauguration Ball this evening (21st January). Soundgarden will appear alongside Alicia Keys, Black Violin, Brad Paisley, Far East Movement, FUN., members of the Glee cast, John Legend, Katy Perry, Maná, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Usher at the Washington Convention Center.

The news comes after Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil has spoken out about claims that the band's reunion was a cash in. Guitarist was angered by claims that the band's latest tours have been a 'cash grab': "Matt had some songs he wanted us to learn. We said, 'Sure, we'll learn your ditties.' We did, and we had a blast we loved the songs and other ideas were coming out.

"Eventually they hit the road again, and released compilation album Telephantasm. There were some reviews that said, 'Soundgarden is obviously doing a cash grab,'"

"I thought, 'How is it a cash grab? Since when is there money in making records any more? Since when do we need the money? We had a fairly successful career.

"Matt Cameron's played in Pearl Jam, for God's sake. Why the hell does he need to spend another 20 hours a week writing, rehearsing Soundgarden songs and tending to Soundgarden business? He's doing just fine, thank you.

"I don't think Chris needs the money it seems like he did pretty well with Audioslave and his solo career. I've been semi-retired. I didn't need the money. I guess if I needed to I could have started a band and toured a whole bunch."

57 comments sorted by best / new / date

    from what ive heard, Ben needs the money. not even 2 years ago, he was couch surfing, stayed a couple weeks at my mechanics place (went to high school together) and was essentially broke from drug use. also, in b4 politics? edit: 3 years ago rather
    Ben's response to that story: I feel the banner saying that I am homeless was merely a sensationalizing stunt done by workers at SPIN magazine to sell their story, or make it seem more exciting than it actually is. It makes me feel embarrassed for the truly homeless people to be associated at all in any way with the likes of me. I seem to have been lucky, as most of you, in never having to survive day-to-day (on the streets) anyway. I in no way refute what was written in the article, I say what I mean with someone elses alphabet, so it is no wonder to me that my blathering can be so easily shined up or misinterpreted to whatever purpose, especially to a stranger who has no idea of my horrible humor, or my delusional ideas. There I was thinking i was on top of the world, doing what I love and GET to do (music I mean) sure Ive been couch surfing but thats a far cry from the plight of many many millions of good people worldwide. I just dont want our loyal and most badderasser fans to be mislead, or a bad light to be shone upon my family or friends who have helped me and tried to help me get along. It would be wholly unfair of me after all this to not stand up for them. Now feck auf, thanks. I dunno, he may have been able to use some money but it seems ridiculous to say they all reunited and made a record for one person to get some financial help when Chris or Matt could have easily just tossed some money his way.
    So now they play alongside "members of the Glee cast" and pretend it's about politics right. Being from Washington I wish people would seriously shut up about this overrated band already. I swear, their motto should be, "Hey guys, remember that one song Black Hole Sun? Yeah, that was a cool song we wrote." "Yes, Ben, we know. You wrote that song once. Great job slugger.
    STFU, Superunknown got me through high school Not that I had a bad childhood or whatever, but I started to discover the Seattle scene right around '99 when most kids my age were either into NSync or lame-ass nu metal. You have any idea how much more sh*tty the early 90's would've been for guys slightly older than me if it hadn't been for bands like this? It would've been hammer pants and glowsticks for the lot!! Who cares if you only know one of their songs, any altern. rock fan who knows his sh*t will tell you that throughout their pretty f*ckin successful career Soundgarden were among the most respected acts in rock music (and if you care about that kind of stuff, at the top of many cool lists and whatnot). Same goes for Cornell after that: his 1st mediocre-ish album -Carry On- was released like 20 years into his career Now you're prbbly thinking "why should I care?". And the answer to that is -> you shouldn't. Now shoo, go and bestow your worship upon some other sh*tty band you deem worthy of your praise, oh infinitley relevant UG user. Or rant about Nickelback or something you're vaguely familiar with
    Rusty Cage and Outshined were pretty big too and they hold up pretty well. Actually, that whole album is a classic and nothing like Black Hole Sun.
    Also: "Now shoo, go and bestow your worship upon some other sh*tty band you deem worthy of your praise, oh infinitley relevant UG user." Tons of irony here, considering your fanboy-istic comment. Lol.
    Look dude, I don't mean to slaym all whom disagree with me. But sometimes you just cant resist... I was like this guy once: strolling the web, taking trivial stuff way too seriously, cheering and flaming about One day I posted a juvenile comment on a game site about a Metal Gear game and it backfired like you wouldnt believe. I wasnt even the only person in the thread with that particular opinion but the content of that post mustve been so stupid it instantly triggered an e-massacre. I mean, people were mocking my failed attempts at sarcasm, the insane amount of smileys I was using as a safeguard just so I wouldnt seem too assertive (obviously the case) and the fact that I was probably just a 13 year old in dire need of a hobby (again, spot on) I mean I got gang raped, and it was just a sad sight. Some people actually went ok guys, leave him alone now, hes had enough. Yet as violated as I felt afterwards, I cant help but view this life-changing event as a painful yet valuable experience now because I got what I deserved and in the end it made me a nicer person. Well, whenever Im online that is I rarely shower my fellow internet users with negative feedback nowadays, and when I do consider that type of reaction to be appropriate I usually opt for a slight tongue in cheek delivery. Every now and then youll come across the occasional psycho who just WANTS to take everything people throw at him/her the wrong way, but I cant recall the last time I actually took the bait and followed that person into their so desired sh*tstorm wrestlemania God I wish Id saved that comment...
    Dude, I really don't care about this band at all man. I was just seeing if I could make a fanboy angry. It's going pretty well so far. I'm from a place near Seattle and all they ever play is Black Hole Sun. Almost as much as that freaking Marcy Playground one hit wonder song. I really tried to like this band a few times, but they always seemed meh... Nevertheless everyday durring the commute I had to hear Black Hole Sun at least thrice. Thrice I say good sir.
    Not everyone here got into rock/metal threw guitarhero/rockband. I'm sorry but Black Hole Sun is not what most people know them for. What i find so good about Soundgarden is that even though the genre that they are playing is in my eye's very bland they still spice it up really well. Kind of like all those popular prog-rock groups in the late 70's. That's my opinion.
    I did not get into rock through guitar hero, nor did I ever "throw" my guitar hero as you so foolishly suggested above. Through - by way of Example: We draw closer to Christ through daily prayer. Threw (Past Tense of Throw) - To have caused an object which was at rest to travel through the air by overcoming its inertia with an outside force Learn from this mistake, children.
    Trolling 101. It's hard to figure out who's worse, piss poor trolls or butthurt fans. Maybe one day there will be a mass murder/suicide.
    I know it's obvious, but overly detailed grammar nazi thing works more than you think it would. Also, the smileys seem to really enrage people for some reason. Here's my favorite one!
    Why is it a bad thing to earn money in this industry? As long as the band members are consistently preforming at a "worth seeing" level grabbing cash is just part of what keeps them going. It's how they make a living ffs.
    I would probably scream like a girl if I saw Chris Cornell on stage singing at a ball thrown for me. It must be awesome being the president...minus all the responsibility and everyone in America blaming you for everything that's wrong with the world.
    A little disappointed they are playing this gig (won't stop me from seeing them next week though), but think the "cash grab" bit is utter nonsense. Their shows have been fantastic, and I think the new album speaks for itself.
    It always baffles me how people have this strong of a emotional response over this moderate of a president, If Mitt Romney (his plan near the end was to pretty much copy what obama was saying so it's pretty safe to say that there both very comparable moderates) asked me to play at his inauguration I wouldn't have a problem doing it, how can conservatives get so riled up over a president whos taking flack from fellow democrats for being to conservative? At this point fox news has to use the way he's treating liberal supporters as ammunition.
    It's not only conservatives that get riled up buddy- there are people in every political party that are disappointed with the POTUS. What has he done that he said he would do? Gay people have no more rights, we still have tens of thousands of troops in the middle east, the economy is awful, and unemployment is at record highs. I don't affiliate with any party but I vote as unbiasedly as possible. Mitt Romney may not have been a better president, but you can guarantee he couldn't possibly be any worse.
    It's sad that they have to explain the world the reason why they've reunited because there's people dumb enough to think that getting money is a stain in someone's integrity as a musician. Anyway, new album is pretty good.
    Who cares even if it was blatant cash grab? If someone offered me a ton of money to go on the road and play to sold out crowds, sign me up.
    When a musician does something you don't like, it's a cash grab. That's the most important thing to remember. Professional musicians shouldn't do anything for money, lest they feel the wrath of morally superior internet warriors.
    shit that's awesome. and the hell it's a cash grab. they made a great record, since when do cash grabbers actually do that?
    I flat out hate it when musicians commit to political sides. What do they know about governmental doings? Music is one thing that can be free of all the political bickering. Soundgarden are a truly great band, but I hate this shit, regardless of what pol they are backing.
    They're playing at the president's inauguration ball. Since there's only one president, I'd say they aren't really taking sides.
    In a way it is a cash grab... it's their job. Do whatever they want, I like the music, don't like it or them then don't pay attention
    I really don't care if they're touring just for money, still one of the best live acts at the moment and a legendary rock band in general.
    sick of bands playing for the fools who are destroying this country! and by fools i mean ALL POLITICIANS THE ONES ON THE RIGHT AND THE ONES ON THE LEFT!!!!! i lose respect for the bands that do it. i wonder if its the money or their political beliefs or what? either way i wish they would stop it! these idiots in power do not care one bit about anything but how to get to the next rung on the ladder! and if it means using a band that they think will sway the youth their way, then thats what they will do! one word. SCANDALOUS!!!
    Soundgarden, swaying the youth? Maybe 20 years ago, but not when their lead singer is approaching 50. No, I think the problem here is that, y'know...they just wanted to play.
    Yep I remember an article about Ben Shepherd struggling for quite a while, but a cash grab is unlikely since the band actually progressed rather than just rehashing the same sound. It's great that they're playing the inauguration. Obama has some good taste in music.
    Does anyone else find it funny that a band that has an album called KING ANIMAL is playing the president's ball?
    Exactly. Anyone who supports Obama is drinking the Kool-Aid. His speech was absolute bs yesterday. Look at how things are now.
    WTF only thing I can think of as to why they would do this gig is for the money. I doubt they give a crap about anything political, in fact I thought they were against everything that our politics stand for these days... Argg, so sad to see this
    would be not ug if there would not be an article about them in period of 2 weeks.
    ... Slash is at least one of the most original guitarists, not going to mention all things.. just total true legend. They aint. thats why its annoying to hear so often just about an average band -.- my opinion
    Original? Slash in undoubtedly a great guitarist. He's just a very standard blues rock styled one. If you want to look at originality, Kim Thayil of Soundgarden is the place to look.
    Never really cared for the whole 90's grunge thing, but liked Soundgarden past and present. Liked Audioslave alot better. Thats great thay they are where they are. Dont think they need the money.
    Not a cash grab but I read that same article about Ben couch surfing and shit. Some of the band came to him and he was pretty rough but it seems like he is doing fine now.