Back in 1985 the band began its musical career. At first they travelled around on gigs for about a year, with a man called Scott Sundquist as their drummer. Their first recording was two songs, called "Heretic" and "All your lies", for a CZ Records compilation album called Deep Six (1986), where a band called Skin Yard was also featured. Matt Cameron was one of the members from Skin Yard, but later on he would join Soundgarden.
The same year as they recorded for the Deep Six album, Scott Sundquist, who now had a wife and kid, backed out and left the band without a drummer. After looking around for a while they managed to lure Cameron away from Skin Yard and to join their band instead.
Their first full length album was Ultramega OK, which was released on LP and nominated for a Grammy. Later that year, they signed a contract with A&M, and they began working on their second album Louder Than Love (original title: Louder Than Fuck), which would be their A&M debut album.
In 1989 Yamamoto, their current bass player, left the band and went off to finish his education. They recruited Jason Everman who would serve as their new bass player while they where on tour, but afterwards they kicked him out. "Jason just didn't work out," says Thayil. Ben Shepherd joined Soundgarden in 1990, and he would serve as their bass player until the end.
Soundgarden won their very first MTV video music award for "Best Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Video" for "Black Hole Sun." On the September 8, 1994, broadcast of the award ceremony, Chris and Kim were also given the honor of presenting an award.
On April 9, 1997, Soundgarden announced that they were disbanding. As the press release stated, "After twelve years the members of Soundgarden have amicably and mutually decided to disband to pursue other interests. There is no word at this time on any of the members' future plans."