The MusicNerd Q&A With Ben Shepherd

Ben Shepard - Bass Player Magazine

Released this past Tuesday via digital retailers and on vinyl in Canada, In Deep Owl is the debut solo release from HBS. The initials are those belonging to Hunter Benedict Shepherd, best known as Ben Shepherd, the long-time bassist of Seattle legends Soundgarden.

Shepherd’s solo debut In Deep Owl largely steers away from Soundgarden’s chunky guitar riffs although fans of the band will appreciate the grittiness that lurks behind the songs contained on the record.

Ben Shepherd spoke with Here Magazine about the long road to the release of the dark and brooding In Deep Owl last week:

Where did you disappear to after Soundgarden disbanded in 1997?

In addition to recording some of my own stuff, I did some recording with Mark Lanigan and also put out a second record with my band Hater. I was working on two albums worth of material when the Soundgarden building was robbed. I lost my guitars, basses, everything and so I stopped playing music for a few years. After a relationship break-up, I was living in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle when some friends goaded me into making a solo record.

So you had planned for this record to come out long before it did?

All of the material pre-dates the Soundgarden reunion; I had intended the record to come out before Soundgarden got back together.

Did you see yourself getting back into a band situation outside of Soundgarden?  

During the making of the record, someone suggested to me that I should get a band together to play these songs. I told them I’d never be in another band again, that it was too much of a hassle; Soundgarden reunited two days later [laughs].

How did In Deep Owl evolve from the record you had originally envisioned?

At the outset of making this album, I pictured doing an acoustic record with a little electric guitar here and there. Then I had Matt Cameron and Matt Chamberlain along with Greg Gilmore and Joseph Braley all volunteer to play on the record and that was when everything changed. It was totally flattering to have those guys show up and help me out. But because I had these good players on the record, it forced me into a corner to make the record work from there.