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|Birth name||Hiro Yamamoto|
|Born||April 13, 1961|
|Origin||Park Forest, Illinois|
|Genres||Heavy metal, grunge, alternative metal, garage rock, surf music, exotica|
|Instruments||Bass guitar, vocals, guitar|
|Labels||Sub Pop, A&M|
|Associated acts||Soundgarden, Truly, Stereo Donkey|
Hiro Yamamoto (山本 紘 Yamamoto Hiro, born April 13, 1961) is an American bassist who was a founding member of grunge band Soundgarden, along with Kim Thayil and Chris Cornell in 1984. He left the band in 1989, and two years later, he started the independent rock band Truly together with Screaming Trees drummer Mark Pickerel and Robert Roth from The Storybook Krooks. In 2016, Yamamoto founded the surf trio Stereo Donkey, with drummer Mike Bajuk and guitarist Pat Wickline.
Yamamoto was the founding bassist of Soundgarden. He performed with Cornell, Thayil, and drummer Scott Sundquist on the Deep Six compilation, and performed with Cornell, Thayil, and drummer Matt Cameron on the EPs Screaming Life, Fopp, and Loudest Love, as well as on the albums Ultramega OK and Louder Than Love. His last gig with the band was on May 17, 1989 at the Melkweg in Amsterdam, after which Yamamoto left the band following an argument among its members. Jason Everman (formerly of Nirvana) replaced him on the bass briefly, after which Ben Shepherd became the permanent bassist. After Yamamoto departed, he completed the requirements for his master's degree in physical chemistry at Western Washington University.
As did Cornell, Thayil, Cameron, and Shepherd, Yamamoto actively wrote songs for the band:
- "Tears to Forget" (Screaming Life) music (co-written)
- "Kingdom of Come" (Fopp) credited to Soundgarden
- "All Your Lies" (Ultramega OK) music (co-written)
- "665" (Ultramega OK) music
- "667" (Ultramega OK) music
- "Circle of Power" (Ultramega OK) lyrics, vocals
- "Nazi Driver" (Ultramega OK) music
- "Power Trip" (Louder Than Love) music
- "I Awake" (Louder Than Love) ... music
- "No Wrong No Right" (Louder Than Love) ... music
- "Heretic" (Loudest Love) ... lyrics
In 1991, Yamamoto formed a three-piece indie band, Truly; the other members were former Screaming Trees drummer Mark Pickerel and singer Robert Roth. Truly released two studio albums and a compilation of unreleased material before breaking up in 2000. The band reunited in 2008.
Following a successful 2016 jam session, Yamamoto formed a surf-inspired trio, Stereo Donkey, with drummer Mike Bajuk, and guitarist Pat Wickline. Unlike most surf music, which tends to feature either the guitar or the drums, Stereo Donkey emphasizes all three instruments—with Yamamoto's bass providing a fresh, melodic sound.
In November 2018, the band released an eponymous six-track EP, recorded in the old church that Wickline lives in. According to Wickline, “'The room is a fourth member of the band.'” The recording reportedly works as both surf music and exotica, yet is still rooted in, "Pacific Northwest rock history."
- Heart and Lungs (EP) – 1991
- Fast Stories... from Kid Coma – 1995
- Feeling You Up – 1997
- Subject to Change: Artists for a Hate-Free America – 1997 compilation
- Twilight Curtains – 2000
- Stereo Donkey
- Stereo Donkey (EP) – 2018
- official Stereo Donkey website