Kim Thayil Credits Ben Shepherd For Improving Both Soundgarden And Chris Cornell’s Sound

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Guitarist Kim Thayil joined an interview with Guitar World in which he claimed the bassist Ben Shepherd helped developing Soundgarden and Chris Cornell‘s sound dramatically.

Formed in 1984 by Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, and Hiro Yamamoto, Soundgarden was one of the most iconic music acts of the Seattle grunge scene. Throughout the band’s career, they brought grunge music into the mainstream along with the other Seattle bands such as Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana.

After releasing their debut album ‘Ultramega OK,’ and ‘Louder Than Love,’ Soundgarden didn’t receive the expected success. However, with their highest-charting third album ‘Badmotorfinger,’ the band began to rise in prominence. It was during the recordings of this album when Ben Shepherd joined Soundgarden as Yamamoto’s replacement.

Following Ben Shepherd’s arrival, Soundgarden rapidly achieved commercial success with the contribution of the bassist’s songwriting and sound. According to what Kim Thayil told Guitar World in the interview, Shepherd’s contributions to the band were actually more than that. 

In the interview, Kim Thayil stated that Shepherd affected the number of songwriting combinations of Soundgarden. Besides, they were also excited to have him in the band due to his energy, creativity, playing, and songwriting. Moreover, Thayil argued that the bassist influenced Chris Cornell and Soundgarden in a way that perfectly suited the band’s new lineup.

Speaking to Guitar World, Kim Thayil commented on Ben Shepherd’s contributions by saying the following:

“With Ben in the band, our number of songwriting combinations increased in a multitude of ways. We were totally excited to have him. His energy and creativity, his playing and songwriting – I consider him the MVP and the defining character of ‘Badmotorfinger.’

That’s an easy argument for me to make. Ben’s sparks rubbed off on the rest of us. Chris hit a more prolific stride than he’d ever had before, and we wrote in a way that perfectly suited the new lineup.”

This year marks Soundgarden’s 1991 album ‘Badmotorfinger’s 30th anniversary. As it seems, Ben Shepherd not only contributed to this album’s success, but he also improved Soundgarden’s and Chris Cornell’s sound.