What Soundgarden Members Have Been Up To Since Chris Cornell’s Death
The death of Chris Cornell in 2017 seemingly put an end to Soundgarden, but the other band members remained active in the years that followed.
In some cases, the three surviving members—guitarist Kim Thayil, drummer Matt Cameron, and bassist Ben Shepherd—have collaborated together. Such was the case in 2019 when the musicians joined a star guest list to celebrate the life of Cornell at the I Am the Highway concert in Los Angeles.
Still, things certainly haven’t remained smooth in the Soundgarden camp since their leader’s untimely passing. Although all parties continued to express their endless respect for the singer, the remaining band members engaged in several notable public battles with Cornell’s widow, Vicky.
The parties argued – through their lawyers – over unreleased recordings made with Cornell before his death, as Vicky and the band claimed ownership of the songs. At one point, Soundgarden accused Vicky of using the funds raised for charity at the Cornell tribute concert for her own purposes, but they later dismissed those allegations. The widow also took control of the band’s website and social media pages during a legal dispute over royalties, until she and the other Soundgarden members finally reached an agreement on how accounts would be used.
Rumors persist that a final Soundgarden album of unreleased material will be completed and released, but there is no clarity as to when it might arrive. Litigation aside, here’s what the members of Soundgarden have been up to since Cornell’s death.
Guitarist Kim Thayil has kept busy collaborating with a wide range of artists. In 2018, he embarked on a North American tour with Wayne Kramer of MC5, celebrating the 50th anniversary of that band’s debut album, Expel Jams. In 2020, Thayil appeared on the albums Grandpa Metal and Fixed point by comedian Brian Posehn and jazz fusion band Barret Martin Group (respectively). In 2021, Thayil performed on the songs “Only Love Can Save Me Now” by Pretty Reckless and “Had It All” by Mastodon. More recently, the guitarist formed the band 3rd Secret alongside fellow Soundgarden alumni Matt Cameron, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, guitarist Bubba Dupree and singers Jennifer Johnson and Jillian Raye. The band released their self-titled album in April 2022.
It’s possible that Matt Cameron is the most underrated drummer of his generation. After all, he’s sat behind the kit for Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, two of the biggest rock bands of the past 30 years. Since Cornell’s death, Cameron has focused on his “other” grunge band, contributing to Pearl Jam’s 2020 album. gigaton and a tour in support of the release following an enforced pandemic delay. In 2020, the drummer joined Taylor Hawkins of The Foo Fighters in the Nighttime Boogie Association, with King Buzzo and Steve McDonald of The Melvins appearing on one of two tracks the supergroup delivered. Cameron would later form the aforementioned group 3rd Secret with Thayil, Krist Novoselic and company.
Unlike his bandmates, Ben Shepherd has remained almost entirely out of public view since Cornell’s death in 2017. Along with three Soundgarden-related releases – Cornell’s career-spanning 2018 retrospective, the band’s 2019 live album Live from the artist’s lair and a two-song collaboration with Thayil, Cameron and vocalist Brandi Carlile – the bassist did not appear on any recordings. And, with the exception of the I Am the Highway tribute concert, he also did not take the stage. Shepherd still resides in the Seattle area with his family and co-owns a bar called Hazlewood.
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