SOUNDGARDEN Bassist Says He Is Not Homeless

August 25, 2010

Bassist Ben Shepherd of reunited grunge legends SOUNDGARDEN has issued a statement in response to a new cover story in Spin magazine in which he is quoted as saying that he's living "nowhere" at the moment and implying that he is homeless.

In the Spin issue, which is now available on newsstands, the members of SOUNDGARDEN speak out on getting back together after 13 years. Singer Chris Cornell, drummer Matt Cameron, guitarist Kim Thayil and Shepherd are all interviewed, in addition to Cornell's ex-wife and SOUNDGARDEN's former manager, Susan Silver.

When asked by the Spin writer where he lives, Shepherd replies, "Nowhere. Literally. I've been sleeping on studio couches and at friends' houses. I'm totally broke." He adds that he took SOUNDGARDEN's 1997 breakup the hardest, saying, "My whole life seemed over . . . my fiancée broke up with me, and then I broke three ribs. I got addicted to pain pills, drank a ton, and wound up OD'ing on morphine. I was laid out in my house for five days, and no one knew it."

In a statement that was posted yesterday (Tuesday, August 24) on SOUNDGARDEN's official web site, Shepherd attempts to clarify his comments in the Spin story, saying, "I feel the banner saying that I am homeless was merely a sensationalizing stunt done by workers at Spin magazine to sell their story, or make it seem more exciting than it actually is. It makes me feel embarrassed for the truly homeless people to be associated at all in any way with the likes of me. I seem to have been lucky, as most of you, in never having to survive day to day (on the streets) anyway. Furthermore, my friends and family have always been by my side so I have never gone without love, care, food, compassion, and understanding.

"I would actually like to thank whatever editor that played this hand for helping once again bring to light the subject of the homeless and uncared for human beings of this dangerously bleak world.

"I humbly ask for whoever reads this to realize we are all in this together, and try to just remember that once in a while and not only at some convenient time.

"I in no way refute what was written in the article, I say what I mean with someone else's alphabet, so it is no wonder to me that my blathering can be so easily 'shined up' or misinterpreted to whatever purpose, especially to a stranger who has no idea of my horrible humor, or my delusional ideas. There I was thinking I was on top of the world, doing what i love and GET to do (music, I mean). Sure I've been couch surfing, but that's a far cry from the plight of many many millions of good people worldwide.

"I just don't want our loyal and most badderasser fans to be misled, or a bad light to be shone upon my family or friends who have helped me and tried to help me get along. It would be wholly unfair of me after all this to not stand up for them."

According to the Spin article, SOUNDGARDEN's upcoming projects could include a live album and a long-awaited collection of B-sides, but they have yet to write any new music. Cornell says, "It would be exciting to record one song to hear how soundgarden-ish that might be this much time later. But for me, it's been more of a trip relearning the songs and playing them together. Some of the songs we're approaching we've never played live."

Other notable parts of the feature include:

The "happily semi-retired" Thayil on what he hopes to get out of the reunion: "Look, there are certainly benefits. There's camaraderie. Actually, that might be one of the most important things, just being able to hang out with the guys."

Cornell on trying to go solo in 1999, after SOUNDGARDEN's demise: "It was mentally, physically, and spiritually a fucked-up point in my life. I was waking up and drinking a glass of vodka just to get a dial tone. My marriage wasn't working at all, and rather than face that, I turned to constant inebriation and then drugs."

Cornell also says that the members of SOUNDGARDEN never stopped being friendly even though they split up: "The one thing about SOUNDGARDEN most people don't get is that we always got along . . . we never had that internal negativity that usually spells the obvious reasons a band breaks up."

Susan Silver, however, says that Cornell was forced to reunite with SOUNDGARDEN after the failure of his disastrous 2009 album with Timbaland, "Scream": "Chris didn't have anywhere else to go. His solo career was so unfocused that he started to modify his behavior to make this work and earn the other guys' trust back."

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