Soundgarden Member Reveals Why He Wants Band To ‘Stop Reissuing Everything’

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Bassist Ben Shepherd discussed Soundgarden’s reissues in a new WeldBHam interview.

“The thing with Ultramega OK, if you’re talking about that record, is that they just got the rights back to that, so they own it outright. It’s the whatever anniversary of it, [and it’s] Badmotorfinger’s anniversary. Echo of Miles is the complete collection of a bunch of [rarities]. It’s always been on the backburner to do that stuff anyway, and we’re finally just getting around to it.

I personally just focus more on what we’re going to do next, and I don’t deal with that reissue stuff very often — although I am [reissuing] stuff from my band Hater, and dealing with that stuff. That’s the only time I’ve gone back in the past to re-release something. I don’t do that. I’d rather just make the next thing. Same with Soundgarden; I’d rather stop reissuing everything… It’s in the past. Just put it back out and keep moving forward, you know?”

Kim Thayil discussed Ultramega OK in a recent AL interview.

“Well Ultramega OK is our second album. It’s our first full-length album. Screaming Life we’ve always considered our first album. It’s technically an EP, or mini-album. But it was an original record in a period of time in the 80s where they’re kind of called punk rock EPs, which are basically punk rock albums, where indie bands because they were new to the market, usually they’d put five, six, seven, eight songs on a 12-inch and then they’d be able to sell it for maybe $6 or $7 as opposed to $10 for a full-length album.

Labels like Sub Pop, SST, Alternative Tentacles, Touch and Go, for their new acts they’d put out EPs. Bands like Butthole Surfers, Big Black, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, on and on. So we put out “Screaming Life” on Sub Pop Records. It was recorded by Jack Endino, famous guy who did early Mudhoney and Nirvana records. And then the next year, we put out an EP that was more of an EP. It was a cover song “Fopp” by The Ohio Players. It was sort of like a modified single. You add a few extra songs to a single to kind of fortify that release. So we put those things together and had one big full-length with those EPs.

Ultramega OK, we always considered our second album, but it was our first full-length one. It was with our second label, SST. A new producer, who although we got along well with him and loved the guy, we had a communication problem with the final process, and we weren’t that happy with the way the record sounded. By the way, that producer Drew Canulette — great guy — he grew up in Louisiana, outside of New Orleans.”