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Album: Ultramega OK

Ultramega OK is the debut studio album by the American alternative rock band Soundgarden, released on October 31, 1988 through SST Records. Following the release of the EPs Screaming Life (1987), and Fopp (1988), both for the Sub Pop record label, Soundgarden signed with the independent record label SST and went to work on its first full-length studio album. The resulting album contained elements of psychedelic rock, classic rock, heavy metal and hardcore punk. The band supported the album with a tour of the United States as well as its first overseas tour. In 1990, the album earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Metal Performance. The album was recorded in spring 1988 in Seattle, Washington and Newberg, Oregon with producer Drew Canulette. Frontman Chris Cornell said that during the recording sessions the band wasn't on the same page with Canulette. He said, "Material-wise we went through the process that we always do, but the producer wasn't used to the sound we wanted and didn't know what was happening in Seattle." He later said that "we made a huge mistake with Ultramega OK, because we left our home surroundings and people we'd been involved with and used this producer that really did affect our album in a kind of negative way. The producer was suggested by SST because they could get a good deal. I regret it, because in terms of material, it should have been one of the best records we ever did. It actually slowed down our momentum a little bit because it didn't really sound like us." Veteran Seattle producer Jack Endino, who also produced Soundgarden's first EP, Screaming Life, was in the process of re-mixing the album, and actually completed a rough mix of "Flower". But, due to the band wanting to move on and the financial costs involved with repressing and redistributing the record, it was put on hold. Cornell said, "On the production wasn't what we were after at all, and that sort of hurt us critically." Allmusic staff writer Steve Huey gave the album four out of five stars, saying, "It may not be quite as complex or consistent as some of Soundgarden's later albums, but Ultramega OK is easily the best document of grunge's early, pre-Nirvana days." Ann Powers of Blender said, "Not every moment is brilliant, but it sure is loud." "Flower" was the only single released from the album. Its music video, directed by Mark Miremont, aired regularly on MTV's 120 Minutes, helping to call attention to the early Seattle grunge scene. At the 1990 Grammy Awards, Ultramega OK received a nomination for Best Metal Performance. The album's cover art, photographed by Lance Mercer, features a black and white picture of the band. According to Cornell, the album's title was a joke conceived by Thayil. Cornell explained that the title Ultramega OK means "absolutely, unbelievably not bad," and suggested that the British version was going to be called Ultramega UK. Cornell explained the title further, stating, "With Ultramega OK we really liked the songs on that record but we were disappointed in the production. We were sort of making fun of the finished product. It was Ultramega Alright. Ultramega could have been better but not bad. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.