15 Things You Might Not Know About Badmotorfinger

By Dave Basner

October 8, 2019

Photo of SOUNDGARDEN

On October 8th, 1991, Soundgarden released their third album, Badmotorfinger. To mark the record’s anniversary, here are 15 things you might not know about it:

1. Guitarist Kim Thayil came up with the album title as a funny riff on the Montrose song "Bad Motor Scooter."

2. Thayil once said of the record’s title, “It was sort of off the top of my head. I simply like it because it was colorful. It was kinda aggressive, too… It conjures up a lot of different kinds of images. We like the ambiguity in it, the way it sounded and the way it looked.” 

3.Badmotorfinger was the first album bassist Ben Shepherd did with the band.

4. Soundgarden recorded the effort in Sausalito, California, LA and Woodinville, Washington.

5. The band didn’t want to deal with the pressure of finding a new producer and, since they liked how Terry Date did on their previous release, Louder Than Love, they hired him again to be at the helm of Badmotorfinger.

6. Kim Thayil once jokingly described Badmotorfinger as the “heavy metal White Album.”

7. “Jesus Christ Pose” is about famous people who use the symbol of Jesus’ crucifixion as a way to suggest that the public persecutes them. It was inspired in part by a photo singer Chris Cornell saw of Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell.

8. Because they used a wah wah pedal as a filter, “Rusty Cage” has such a weird sound that Kim once pointed out if you listen to the riff in it, it almost sounds backwards.”

9. Chris said that “Outshined” is about going from “periods of extreme self-confidence” to “plummeting in the opposite direction.”

10. “Holy Water” is about people who push their beliefs onto others.

11. “New Damage” is a song that criticizes the America’s right-wing government.

12. “Room a Thousand Years Wide” is one of very few Soundgarden songs written without any input from Chris Cornell.

13. Thayil, who penned the lyrics for “Room a Thousand Years Wide,” said it’s about “experience in general.”

14. The cover art features a cyclone-like design with the album title written in a triangle in the center. In the middle of the triangle is a spark plug. It was designed by Mark Dancey, the guitarist for the band Big Chief.

15.Badmotorfinger peaked at number 39 on the album chart, but was one of the 100 top selling albums of 1992 and has since gone two-times platinum.

Pop in your original copy of Badmotorfinger today to celebrate the anniversary or pick up the special edition of the album the band put out last year. 

Photo: Getty

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