SOUNDGARDEN BASSIST BEN SHEPHERD SAYS HE HAD A “BAD FEELING” ABOUT KURT COBAIN WHEN HE HEARD HEART SHAPED BOX

Published On August 31, 2011 | By Brett Buchanan | Nirvana, Soundgarden

Credit: grungebook.tumblr.com

I had just put my bags down in our hotel room in London and turned on MTV. I saw the video for ‘Heart-Shaped Box.’ That was the first time I’d heard the song, too. I freaked out and was like, ‘I need to get ahold of Kurt right now.’ Yeah, I can feel Kurt. A million miles away, and in one song. One note, one little drain of his voice, that’s when I could feel it. It was a bad feeling. Like, It’s either him or me. Kurt, don’t. That’s what I felt like. So I tried to get ahold of Kurt for our entire European tour. But no one helped me get ahold of him from our camp. No one paid attention.

- Soundgarden bassist Ben Shepherd, from Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge

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About The Author

Bio: Brett hosted the BWR podcast from 2004 to 2009, and then opened GrungeReport.net in May 2009. The site changed its name to AlternativeNation.net in June 2013. Brett also owns Concertfy.com. Reach out to Brett at; brett (at) alternativenation.net
  • BillyL

    I remember reading either Rolling Stone or Spin magazine back in ’94 or ’95, it was an article on Soundgarden. The reporter was following them on tour and was with Chris Cornell when he got word that Kurt had killed himself, right before Soundgarden were to go onstage. I believe Chris decided to wait until after the show to tell the rest of the band. When Ben found out after the show, he seemed to be the most visibly upset by it. I wish I could find that article and re-read it because the details are a little fuzzy….

  • Irish Trev

    If you read the lyrics on In Utero, it’s pretty much a suicide note.

  • http://www.lastfm.es/user/sugar-coma Medea

    You’re right Irish

  • dennis

    there was no hope for Kurt, he was too far gone by this point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashley.icardi muthafuthinASH

    I’m speechless. Speechless. I have no speech.

  • Electric Fun

    i just hope he don’t blame himself on Kurt’s death as much as Mike Starr used to blame himself for Layne’s death after all he (Ben Shepherd) just had a gut feeling kind of thing

  • http://spam-alternative.blogspot.com wasogrunge

    all of a sudden everyone’s speaking about Kurt Cobain, doesn’t that feel suspicious? Everyone’s trying to say something to be a part of the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind.

    Back in the day, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and all the rest of Seattle bands didn’t share an actual relationship with Nirvana members so why bother now?

  • http://www.tbmband.com PiE

    What a beautiful Kurt photo.

  • Di

    Well Ben’s personal feelings are one thing
    And Kurdt’s are/were something else (we’ll never know)

    I think a lot of people maybe felt that they could have saved Kurdt – but like some of you say hopeless cause :(

  • greatjupiter

    @wasogrunge You’re kind of wrong about the relationship between Ben and Kurt. They were friends and Ben was a roadie for Nirvana very early on in their career. He was even considered for Nirvana’s 2nd guitarist before losing the spot to Jason Everman the same guy he orginally lost out to as the bassist for SG. Why bother speculating on any relationship of any of the bands had back then, because you really don’t know. You’re probably right though about all this talk about Nirvana is retrospective of the 20the anniversary of “Nevermind”.

  • RödeOrm

    Stop now Irish. Kurt said himself that in the lyrics of In Utero he tried to be less depressing.

  • Mills

    Well PJ and Nirvana toured together on the Chili Peppers tour in 1991. Nirvana and Alice played a show or two together in South America in 1993 or so. Nirvana and Soundgarden played together at least once that I know of, in Olympia WA, 1988 or so.

    PS Where’s the Chili Peppers review of their new album on Grunge report??

  • Guy

    I’m not sure if you guys realize this, but Ben felt that he had a special connection to Kurt. They were both loner types. I remember Ben saying that he liked Kurt because they both didn’t bother to get to know other people and sat in the corner at parties. So he was freaked out to find this guy very similar to himself was on the edge. That also may be why he wanted to help Kurt earlier than most, because he could relate and got more warnings/clues from that song than most would.

  • Kris

    None of these friends (Ben or Mike Starr) should feel (or in Mike’s case have felt) guilty about what happened to their buddies. Bottom line: both Kurt and Layne surely knew what heroin was doing to them, namely Layne. In Kurt’s case, he had some deep-rooted depression and combine that with the hardcore drug use, it was a recipe for disaster. No one helped kill them or are in any way, shape or form responsible for their deaths except for Layne and Kurt. I love ‘em both but the truth of the matter is that they decided to end it and no one else should bare that burden of guilt.

  • what ta fack

    I dont think Ben felt as guilty as Mike did and he shouldnt either. The reason Mike might of felt guilt for Laynes death is some people that new mike say that the day he died Mike stole paintings from Layne to score some dope. He was in need of money in the oral gistory of grunge book Susan silver AICs manager said that when Alice signed their record contract Mike would spend a shitload of money and wasnt good with his money. Thats another reason Mike went on celebrity rehab he needed money. Also Sean Kinney kinda hinted at that in an interview when he was asked why they reunited and he said that they loved making music or something along those lines. And added its not like we need the money if we needed the money we would of gone on a reality show because right now there is no money to be made in the music industry. Mike pretty much used Layne because Layne had the money and drugs and when he died he stole some of his stuff to score drugs.Allegedly, but if you think about it makes sense. I know that sounds fucked up but i think thats why none of the Alice guys remained close to mike over the years. What makes it more sad is that people only now that mikes dead say good things about Mike but when he was alive thay never mentioned anything about him. Thats why i never say like some people oh i miss mike or rip mike because to be honest im not gonna act like i care for him just because hes dead when i didnt care for him when he was alive.I was hoping he would pull through though.

  • Robert

    I doubt this is another Mike Starr type thing but it was sad for Ben to watch somebody kill themselves.

  • steph

    @ what ta fack Have you been reading FAD?? there was money found in Layne’s condo when he died…on the floor. So why would Mike steal a “painting” if he could have just picked the cash up off the floor?? There was dope right there in the condo. So why wouldn’t he just take that?? I think you have to take a grain of salt with what people say on the internet. I am sure that we will never know the whole truth about what happened that day in Layne’s condo, because the 2 people that were there are gone now. Bless them both.

  • Kris

    Steph is right! There is so many untruths on the internet about this issue and I’m tired of seeing Mike get trashed by rumors. Everyone know that the had his “issues” but accusing him of stealing, lying, murder, and whatever other stupid shit is out there is just wrong.

    Back to my original post: Kurt killed himself and Layne let his drug use kill him. They both knew what they were doing and they are solely responsibile for their deaths.

  • http://www.ryancrase.com Ryan

    @wasogrunge you are so wrong. Ben and Kurt were friends from a young age, and Ben had even played a summer tour with Nirvana. You need to stop posting….period.