Soundgarden Split

Grunge pioneers call it quits to pursue other projects

After 12 years and five albums, Soundgarden formally called it quits this morning in a statement issued by their label, A&M Records. Although the statement said the group was disbanding to "pursue other interests," sources have speculated that frustration with touring, artistic differences and tension with bassist Ben Shepherd also contributed to the breakup.

"Kim [Thayil] and Chris [Cornell] sat down the other day....and they said, 'Look, we've accomplished everything we've wanted to do, there's a lot of pressure for us to be Soundgarden, people's jobs depend on us, but we've done it all, we've been to the mountain and back, maybe it's time for us to try something different for a while," says a source close to the band.

par par Another reason for the split was Shepherd, Soundgarden's third bassist, who reportedly walked offstage during the middle of the band's February 9 performance at the Neal Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu. The show turned out to be the band's last. Shepherd also irritated his bandmates by saying he was going to leave Soundgarden to devote all his time to his side project Devilhead, according to a source at Loosegroove Records, Devilhead's label.

"Kim told me this had been coming for a while," says the source. "They had actually been considering it since Ben's little temper tantrums in Australia and Hawaii. The very end of the last tour, the writing was on the wall for them. They had not been happy for a very long time."

The entire statement reads: "After twelve years, the members of Soundgarden have amicably and mutually decided to disband to pursue other interests. There is no word at this time on any of the members' future plans."