Soundgarden Refuse to be Labeled as Grunge

"We never were grunge, we were just a band from Seattle," insists bassist Ben Shepherd.

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Soungarden bassist Ben Shepherd doesn't like his band to be classified as grunge, which he now even considers as just "a f--king word used in TV commercials about scum on your shower."

In a recent Press of Atlantic City interview, the bassist insisted on Soundgarden being just a rock band from Seattle, saying, "Grunge was a f--king word used in TV commercials about scum on your shower curtains you know. It's called rock and roll, or it's called punk rock or whatever all those genres that everyone's just like - we never were Grunge, we were just a band from Seattle."

Shepherd also added, "I see people misreading quotes about that all the time about that too, each band is their own band it doesn't matter where they're from or what scene they're from, unless they're trying to emulate bands from their town. Soundgarden didn't emulate anybody, I remember before I joined the band they were their own thing, they were the first heavy band around playing the punk rock shows, opening for like Husker Du and Battalion of Saints and stuff like that."

Soundgarden are currently busy touring to promote their latest release "King Animal," with a string of US tour dates stretching until the end of May.

Released in November 2012, "King Animal" marked the band's first studio effort after returning from a 13-year hiatus in 2010. With 83,000 copies sold in the US within the first week, it managed to peak at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart.

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29 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I still don't get grunge as a rock genre. What exactly did Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam have in common? Guitars, bass, drums, and vocals?
    the fact that most songs consisted of the softer sounding verses and when the chorus kicks in they start rocking out?
    I guess that's true for many songs, although Nirvana is the main one to follow that. I love all the bands in the genre, I just don't know what connects them besides locale.
    Grunge is best termed as a time period and location. However, the term DOES describe the sound of Nirvana and Alice in Chains very appropriately.
    That's how I think of it. Grunge was an alternative/hard rock movement and scene during the early 90's in Seattle. Aside from location and playing rock music most grunge bands never really had a unifying feature. And you're definitely right on your second point. Nirvana were gritty, Alice in Chains (even back then) are sludgy. All grunge, though.
    it's just punk with 70's metal guitars, especially the early Nirvana stuff, AIC was the more metal of the big 4 (Pearl Jam, Nirvana, AIC, Soundgarden), Soundgarden was the more Psychedelic influenced Zeppelin type of sound, Nirvana had a more punk aesthetic, and Pearl Jam was more Rock oriented (with a Hendrix/Stevie Ray inspired guitar style)
    Thank god, someone with actual sense on this site. I remember seeing another news article on grunge and people were calling Melvins, Stone Temple Pilots, Sonic Youth etc. etc. grunge. All named except the Melvins were from Seattle and Melvins were literally a Sludge Metal band. It's absolute madness. It's like people see an alternative rock band and go lolgrunge. Some people have absolutely no concept about what it is about. They think it's just a "cool" name to call bands.
    Well for one they all rocked. Its hard to truly define grunge, the best I can is its grungy. I do know that if you listen to Corduroy of Pearl Jam and then Come as You Are of Nirvana it definitely sounds similar. Lets not forget about the Foo Fighters as the are a more modern grunge. I think grunge is just a variation of punk, and punk a variation of rock in general.
    Always considered them more of a heavy metal band than grunge. I mean come on, Jesus Christ Pose sounds way more like a metal song than grunge.
    I love how people can rant over trivial matters like music genre's.... come on dude, who the hell cares?
    They are generally heavier than Nirvana and Pearl Jam but not as heavy as a lot of Metal bands. I can see why they would perhaps not want to considered grunge but at the end of the day does it really matter?
    IF you want to know what Grunge is, Listen to Alice in Chains new song Stone. To me that is what grunge has always been. dirty , gritty and fekking awesome. I think some bands were more "grungy " than others in those days, but since they all came out around the same time.. media lumped them together.. Sometimes I listen to old AIC or Nirvana and I need to shower I feel so grungy
    Album was good, love that they're taking the piss out of people who obsess over subgenres.
    They are too good for grunge.
    What? Grunge was awesome. Aside from the bands mentioned the Meat Puppets, Mudhoney, Husker Du, Sugar, Melvins were/are great bands. If you aren't aware of them check them out. Too high to die by the Meat Puppets is especially excellent.
    This is why they reject the name 'grunge' because half the bands you named aren't even grunge. Hell, Husker Du formed and broke up before "grunge" was even a big thing.
    What the hell is wrong with being considered grunge? A lot of artists strive for that title and their just blowing it off!
    You know what I do when a girl is making the eyes at me? I scream "AND YOU STARE AT MEEEEE"
    I've seen many interviews with Sean Kinney about the same subject. Maybe the term is used so that shittier rock bands of the day could still have their dignity.