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Soundgarden had the opportunity to perform at the inauguration of President Obama last week, with the band playing the inaugural ball and singer Chris Cornell also performing solo at a ball for military personnel. Guitarist Kim Thayil told us how the crowd responded to the first heavy rock band to ever play a Presidential inauguration: "We were the last act of the night. There were definitely many people making for the exits when we started playing, because we are loud and aggressive and people in their high heels and their ball gowns probably went to some other function and realized that their evening was over. But there was probably a number of hundred to a thousand that were definitely loosening up their collars and bowties and getting into us."

  • The Seattle group also had the chance to meet the President and First Lady before playing their set.
  • Soundgarden released the music video on Tuesday (January 29th) for "By Crooked Steps," the second single from the Seattle quartet's new album, King Animal.
  • The clip was directed by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, who submitted a treatment for the video on his own initiative after hearing the song.
  • King Animal came out last November and was Soundgarden's first set of all-new material in 16 years.
  • Soundgarden kicked off a winter North American tour two weeks ago, and continues a two-night Chicago stand on Wednesday (January 39th).


  • If you were in a band, regardless of your political feelings, would you jump at the chance to play at the President;s inauguration?
  • Was it an honor for them to play even if it wasn't exactly a "rock" crowd?

CHECK IT OUT: Watch Chris Cornell perform solo at the Commander-in-Chief's Ball during the 2013 Inauguration:

Soundgarden's Kim Thayil On Playing The President's Inauguration

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