He was born on an American military base in Okinawa, Japan. His family moved to Texas, then settled in Bainbridge Island, Washington where Shepherd grew up. Shepherd played in numerous punk-rock bands with friends before he was a teenager. After graduating high school, he worked as a carpenter and a laborer. He became involved in the grunge scene when he worked as a roadie for Nirvana. He first auditioned for the role of bassist in Soundgarden in 1989, immediately after Hiro Yamamoto left, but was turned down because he could not play the songs well enough, due to the fact that around this same time, Nirvana had asked him to audition as well. Jason Everman was hired as the band’s new bassist, but for unknown reasons, was fired immediately after Soundgarden completed their promotional tour in mid-1990. Shepherd was then hired.
In addition to his role as bass player, Shepherd wrote the lyrics and music to the song “Somewhere” on the band’s 3rd album, Badmotorfinger. He also contributed to the musical composition of several of the other songs on that album.
In 1993, Shepherd and Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron formed a side-project band called Hater. Shepherd sang vocals and played guitar in Hater, in addition to writing several songs on the band’s first release; a self-titled album. A sophomore album called “The 2nd” was partially recorded shortly thereafter but not released until 2005; over ten years after the debut album. During the lengthy hiatus, Shepherd found time to complete the tracks that would become “The 2nd” between his collaborations with Wellwater Conspiracy (another side-project with Matt Cameron), the Mark Lanegan Band, and several other artists.
In 1994, Soundgarden released Superunknown, which again featured Shepherd composing songs and writing lyrics. On this album, he wrote the music and lyrics to two songs: “Half” and “Head Down.”
In 1996, Soundgarden released Down on the Upside, in which six of the sixteen album tracks were lyrically and/or musically composed by Shepherd. The tracks were: “Zero Chance,” “Dusty,” “Ty Cobb,” “Never Named,” “Switch Opens,” and “An Unkind.” Shepherd once said he wrote the music to “Never Named” as a teenager. “Ty Cobb” was the first song Shepherd wrote that was made a single.
In late 1997, Shepherd was part of the first, now rare, Desert Sessions collaborative (Volumes 1 & 2), on which he played bass.
Edited by Lord Mike on 28 Jan 2007, 13:23
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