Reprinted without permission from KERRANG!, April 19, 1997

It's official - the Seattle grunge heroes decide to call it quits plus how the sad news broke

Soundgarden have made the shock announcement that they have split up. A statement was issued last week, amid growing rumours of friction within the band.

The statement, issued by the band's label, A&M, simply states: "After 12 years, the members of Soundgarden have amicably and mutually decided to disband to pursue other interests. There is no word at this time on any of the members' future plans."

However, sources close to the band believe the tensions between bassist Ben Shepherd and the rest of the band - as well as artistic differences - might have played a part in the grunge legends' decision to call it quits.

A source close to the foursome said: "Kim said this had been coming for a while. They had actually been considering it since they were on tour earlier this year. They have not been happy for a long time."

Shepherd - it is claimed - walked offstage during the band's show on February 9 at the Neal Blaisdell Arena in Hawaii, which will now go down in history as their last ever performance.

The bassist is also said to have angered Soundgarden when, during a recent gig with side project band Hater in Seattle, he is alleged to have been involved in a fight with a member of the audience.

But frontman Chris Cornell's mum Karen denies there was trouble in the ranks. "It was all amicable," she says of the split. "They just needed to do something fun again."

Kerrang spent time on the road with Soundgarden in the last few weeks before they broke up, and saw no evidence of any major friction between the band members. In fact, they seemed very happy with their lot, which makes this decision even more surprising.

As for future plans, Cornell is likely to pursue a solo career, whilst Shepherd and drummer Matt Cameron will record a second album with Hater for release on A&M later this year. The pair have also contributed to the debut album from local band Wellwater Conspiracy, which will be released shortly in the US on Third Gear. Shepherd will also spend time working with another one of his side projects, Devilhead, who are signed to Loosegroove Records, owned by Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard.

So far there is no news on Thayil's plans.

THE SHOCK SPLIT: how the news broke

  • There have been rumours for months that Soundgarden were about to split up, but they've always been strongly denied
  • Earlier this year, stories began to circulate that the Seattle superstars would call it quits after they finished the world tour for the album DOTU
  • However, a spokesman for the band told Kerrang at the time that there were no plans for a split
  • At 9am local time on April 9, Seattle radio station KNDD The End read the brief statement from the band, announcing they were going to split up. Within minutes, Kerrang recieved a copy of the official press release.
  • KNDD devoted the rest of the day to playing Soundgarden records and replaying old interviews with the band.