List of Soundgarden band members

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Soundgarden Chicago.jpg
Soundgarden performing at Lollapalooza in Chicago, 2010 (L-R: Chris Cornell, Matt Cameron, Ben Shepherd. Not pictured: Kim Thayil.)
Background information
Origin Seattle, Washington, USA
Genres Alternative metal, grunge, alternative rock, heavy metal
Years active 1984–1997, 2010–present
Members Kim Thayil
Matt Cameron
Ben Shepherd
Past members Chris Cornell (deceased)
Hiro Yamamoto
Scott Sundquist
Jason Everman

Soundgarden is an American alternative grunge band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1984 by lead singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto.[1] The drummer position was originally filled by Cornell, who played drums while singing, but in 1985 the band enlisted Scott Sundquist to allow Cornell to concentrate on vocals.[2] The band's first recordings were three songs that appeared on a compilation for C/Z Records called Deep Six.

In 1986, Sundquist, who by that point had a wife and a child, decided to leave the band and spend time with his family.[1] He was replaced by Matt Cameron, the drummer for Skin Yard, who became Soundgarden's permanent drummer. This line-up released the extended plays Screaming Life in 1987 and Fopp in 1988, and the studio albums Ultramega OK in 1988 and Louder Than Love in 1989. Following the release of Louder Than Love, Yamamoto left the band to finish his master's degree in Physical Chemistry at Western Washington University. He was replaced by former Nirvana guitarist Jason Everman. Everman was fired following Soundgarden's tour supporting Louder Than Love. His only contribution for Soundgarden was the band's cover of The Beatles song "Come Together".

In 1990, the band was joined by a new bassist, Ben Shepherd. With the addition of Shepherd, Soundgarden's line-up would not change for the remainder of its existence. Soundgarden subsequently released Badmotorfinger in 1991, Superunknown in 1994, and Down on the Upside in 1996. Tensions within the group arose during the Down on the Upside sessions, with Thayil and Cornell reportedly clashing over Cornell's desire to shift away from the heavy guitar riffing that had become the band's trademark.[3] In 1997, the band broke up due to internal strife over its creative direction. In a 1998 interview, Thayil said, "It was pretty obvious from everybody's general attitude over the course of the previous half year that there was some dissatisfaction."[4]

Cornell announced Soundgarden's reunion on January 1, 2010.[5]

Current members[edit]

Kim Thayil
Active: 1984–1997, 2010–present
Instruments: lead guitar
Release contributions: all Soundgarden releases
Kim Thayil was a member of the original band formed in 1984.[6]
Matt Cameron
Active: 1986–1997, 2010–present
Instruments: drums, backing vocals
Release contributions: all Soundgarden releases
By September 1986, Matt Cameron had gained so much notoriety in the local Seattle music scene that he was chosen to play for Soundgarden, replacing drummer Scott Sundquist. Cornell said, "When I first met Matt, he was already the best drummer in town...He just seemed very confident and well-adjusted."[7]
Ben Shepherd
Active: 1990–1997, 2010–present
Instruments: bass, backing vocals
Release contributions: all Soundgarden releases from Badmotorfinger (1991)
Ben Shepherd first auditioned for the role of bassist in Soundgarden in 1989, immediately after Hiro Yamamoto left, but was turned down because he could not play the songs well enough.[1] Following the firing of Jason Everman, Shepherd was then hired. Cornell said that Shepherd brought a "fresh and creative" approach to the Badmotorfinger recording sessions,[8] and the band as a whole said that his knowledge of music and writing skills redefined the band.[9] Before joining, Soundgarden had been Shepherd's favorite band.[10]

Former members[edit]

Chris Cornell
Active: 1984–1997, 2010–2017; died 2017
Instruments: lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Release contributions: all Soundgarden releases
Chris Cornell was a member of the original band formed in 1984.[6]
Hiro Yamamoto
Active: 1984–1989
Instruments: bass
Release contributions: Deep Six (1986), Screaming Life (1987), Fopp (1988), Ultramega OK (1988), Louder Than Love (1989)
Hiro Yamamoto was a member of the original band formed in 1984.[6] In 1989, he left the band following the completion of the Louder Than Love recording sessions.[11] Regarding the sessions, Cornell said, "At the time Hiro [Yamamoto] had excommunicated himself from the band and there wasn't a free-flowing system as far as music went, so I ended up writing a lot of it."[12] Yamamoto was becoming frustrated that he wasn't contributing much, and opted to go back to college.[11] Cornell stated, "It seems an odd time to quit. We're doing real well. We've got a touring budget now. We don't haul amps or do such long van rides any more."[11]
Scott Sundquist
Active: 1985–1986
Instruments: drums
Release contributions: Deep Six (1986)
Scott Sundquist, who prior to joining the band had been friends with Cornell,[13] was asked to join the band so that Cornell could focus on singing.[14] Sundquist left the band to spend time with his family,[1] and remained on friendly terms with Cornell and Thayil following his departure.[13]
Jason Everman
Active: 1989–1990
Instruments: bass
Release contributions: "Come Together" from Loudest Love (1990), Louder Than Live (1990)
Jason Everman replaced Hiro Yamamoto before the band embarked on its promotional tour for Louder Than Love. Everman was fired immediately after Soundgarden completed the tour in mid-1990. Thayil said that "Jason just didn't work out,"[9] and that the band "didn't need to go find someone better than him; we needed to find a kindred spirit that we'd hang out with anyway."[13]



  1. ^ a b c d Anderson, Kyle (2007). Accidental Revolution. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 112–116. ISBN 0-312-35819-9. 
  2. ^ George-Warren, Holly, Patricia Romanowski, and Jon Pareles. The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. Rolling Stone Press. 2001. ISBN 0-671-43457-8.
  3. ^ Colopino, John. "Soundgarden Split". Rolling Stone. May 29, 1997.
  4. ^ Gilbert, Jeff. "Sound of Silence". Guitar World. February 1998.
  5. ^ Kaufman, Gil (January 4, 2010). "Soundgarden's Cornell announces reunion". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  6. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Soundgarden". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2008-09-18.
  7. ^ "Soundgarden". Kerrang!. May 29, 1996.
  8. ^ "'Garden of Eden". Kerrang!. August 31, 1991.
  9. ^ a b Neely, Kim. "Soundgarden: The Veteran Band from Seattle Proves There's Life After Nirvana". Rolling Stone. July 9, 1992.
  10. ^ Myers, Caren. "Garden of Earthly Delights". Details. April 1994.
  11. ^ a b c "How Does Your Garden Grow?". Sounds. October 21, 1989.
  12. ^ "Colour Me Badmotorfinger!". Raw. October 30, 1991.
  13. ^ a b c Blush, Steven. "Soundgarden". Seconds. 1996.
  14. ^ Neely, Kim. "Into the Superunknown". Rolling Stone. June 16, 1994. Retrieved on May 3, 2008.