It was formed by drummer and vocalist Chris Cornell and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. They were also joined by guitarist Kim Thayil. Cornell later moved onto guitar and vocals when drummer Scott Sundquist joined the band, but was replaced 2 years later by Matt Cameron.
They survived through band member's leaving and being replaced, along with certain drug addictions. They broke up in 1997 after Chris Cornell began trying to leave their "heavy" sound that defined them. The final nail in the coffin was when bassist Ben Shepherd threw his bass and stormed off stage after equipment failure.
Though they were commonly overshadowed by Nirvana, Soundgarden was a pioneer of grunge music.