The books of author Greg Prato have been featured and reviewed many times here at Screamer, so it was no surprise to see that Mr. Prato had been hard at work on even more volumes on the history of rock, including one of his most recent, Dark Black and Blue: The Soundgarden Story. The great thing about reading Prato’s work is that usually you can sense how big of a fan he is and can feel confident that because of this fandom, he has done everything in his power to bring the reader the facts. Prato himself mentions in the intro to the book, “There have been few rock bands that I connected with as greatly and whose music meant as much to me as Soundgarden.”
Some of the author’s books utilize almost entirely quotes from whoever has been interviewed for the book, but this time around there is narrative from the author as well. There are chapters about each of the band members, going a bit into their early days. Each of the band’s albums has at least one chapter to itself and Prato includes all the details you never knew you wanted to know, such as what the B-sides and extra tracks were on the albums and singles released outside of the United States, or how many different formats the album or single was released in. There is also ample information on side projects or other bands the members were involved in, such as Temple of the Dog, Hater, and Audioslave as well as Chris Cornell’s solo work, although the clear focus is on Soundgarden proper and not any of its satellite groups.
The author uses quotes from many interviews that he conducted himself, and any other sources are well documented at the back of the book. As further proof of how big a fan he is, Prato describes personal memories and details of concerts he attended, as well as giving details on each of the tours the band took part in.(Side note: after reading this book, the writer of this book review actually discovered that she was at one of the very few shows the band played in 2010 after reuniting).
This book is not going to have the inside scoop on personal relationships (wives, girlfriends) of the band members or even too much info on how many band members went to rehab and how many times. You might find a brief mention of those topics, but that isn’t the focus of this book.
As the book progresses, many fans will probably feel themselves cringing as they know that they are getting closer to the chapter that covers the untimely death of vocalist Chris Cornell. The loss of someone so influential to an entire generation still stings 2 ½ years later and is hard to read about.
Bringing it to a close, the author features full interviews with several people who had some sort of connection with Soundgarden, whether it be touring, photography, or other aspects, including Phil Anselmo of Pantera, Marky Ramone of the Ramones and Matt Pinfield among others.
Another enjoyable, informative read by Prato, but if you want to take a sneak peak before purchasing the book, there are a couple of excerpts available online: