SOUNDGARDEN
BEN SHEPHERD

Bassist Hunter Benedict Shepherd was born on September 20, 1968, in Okinawa, Japan, the son of a serviceman. He grew up on Bainbridge Island (home of the Woods and Jack Endino), across Puget Sound from Seattle. Short-tempered and intense (according to Kim Thayil), Shepherd hates media attention and the commercialization of the "Seattle scene," avoiding the press when possible.

He was the bassist for a Seattle hardcore (or "speedcore" as he called it) outfit called March of Crimes. That band's biggest claim to fame, says Shepherd, was a tape that sold a few copies in Finland. At one point, Shepherd enlisted Stone Gossard to play guitar (Gossard then went on the play in Green River and ultimately wound up in a band called Pearl Jam). Shepherd played in another band called 600 School, and even was a member of Nirvana for a while, though he never played a single note with them; he was their backup touring guitarist.

Shepherd had long been an admirer of a local band called Soundgarden, and even auditioned for them when Hiro Yamamoto quit right before the Louder Than Love tour in 1990. He lost to Jason Everman because he didn't know how to play the songs. When Everman didn't work out, however, Shepherd auditioned again and this time was welcomed into the band he had always idolized, making less money than he had been earning as a carpenter. His first recording session with Soundgarden was the "Room a Thousand Years Wide"/"H.I.V. Baby" single that was released in limited edition on Sub Pop Records.

Shepherd is perhaps best known to Soundgarden fans as "the angry one," as evidenced by his stage behavior, where he continuously flips off and spits on the crowd (though some consider it an honor to be spit upon). He and drummer Matt Cameron are both members of Hater, where Shepherd gets a chance to flex his guitar and vocal muscle, more so now that they're not busy with Soundgarden; they are also both members of the Wellwater Conspiracy.

Ben Shepherd speaks...

on music:
"Sometimes I feel like it's cheapened by the process of spreading it so thin over such a wide area. People want to take so much, analyzing the lyrics and trying to figure out 'Did you really mean that?' or 'You said that to me, didn't you?' That cheapens it. That makes it old. Sometimes it makes you feel like you're living in a land of cows that just don't think."

on human nature:
"I dont think any human is very smart, really. They always try to make themselves seem smarter then they are, so I think thats a sign of stupidity."

on fans:
"The fans are the real bottom line, though. They're the ones who really get fucked, and they're the most important people."

on interviews:
"One thing we won't do is discuss the personalities in other bands."

on interviewers:
"I don't mean to offend anybody, but normally they don't get my sense of humor. I know my jokes aren't funny, just strange."

on the Guns N' Roses tour:
"They called me Frankenbass or Manimal 'cause they thought I was angry and pissed off all the time."