This Day In Rock. SOUNDGARDEN.
Soundgarden bass player Ben Shepherd turns 48 today.
Hunter Benedict Shepherd was born on September 20, 1968, in Okinawa, Japan, son of a U.S. serviceman, but grew up on Bainbridge Island, across Puget Sound in Seattle. Attracted to punk rock as a teenager, Shepherd took up guitar and formed several garage bands throughout the '80s. He also served time as a roadie for Nirvana during their early days and was considered at one point to join as a rhythm guitarist.
A major fan of another up-and-coming Seattle band, Soundgarden, Shepherd tried out for the band's vacant bass position shortly after the quartet released their major-label debut in 1989. Although he was seriously considered, the spot went to Jason Everman, another Nirvana graduate. By spring of 1990, however, it was clear that Everman wasn't working out, and Shepherd was finally asked to join up, touring with the band throughout the summer.
In 1993, Shepherd organized his first side project, Hater, together with Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron. A year later, Soundgarden issued their masterpiece, ‘Superunknown’, which placed the band at the top of the hard rock heap, and featured two striking Shepherd compositions, ‘Head Down’ and the Middle Eastern-influenced ‘Half’. But after only one more release in 1996, the Soundgarden would call it quits.
Shepherd continued to record with others, playing with the likes of Josh Homme, The Ramones, Mark Lanegan and Black Sabbath’s Toni Iommi.
On January 1, 2010, Chris Cornell confirmed that Soundgarden would reunite, with Shepherd playing as their bassist again. The band continues to tour frequently, arranging time around Matt Cameron's schedule in Pearl Jam, and Chris Cornell's acoustic tours.