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Soundgarden Members Start New Side Project With QOTSA + Off! Musicians

Mary Ouellette,

Soundgarden bassist Ben Shepherd and drummer Matt Cameron (also a member of Pearl Jam) are teaming up with Off! guitarist Dimitri Coats and multi-instrumentalist Alain Johannes (ex-Queens of the Stone Age) for an unnamed new project.

Coats, who will be a vocalist in the group along with Johannes, tells Billboard that the group came together after a Facebook exchange with Cameron. As part of the online conversation, Cameron told him about a project that he, Shepherd and Johannes had started back in 2008 and wanted to resume.

“So I was like, ‘Jeez, let me in on that,'” Coats says. “They invited me to Seattle and it was really incredible. There was just an instant chemistry and a really creative and open situation where everybody’s passing around the guitar and throwing in ideas. I sort of felt like I was in the grunge Beatles.”

Coats describes the sound of the music they’ve created as heavy and doomy, but across the board. “It’s a little bit more laid-back than I would’ve thought, but in a good way,” he says. “There’s some kind of heavy, bluesy moments and then there’s some really beautiful stuff, too.”

He continues, “It’s a little bit like ‘Superunknown,’ that kind of era of Soundgarden, mixed with Alain’s kind of Stevie Wonder vibe. And they call me the secret weapon; I’m a little bit rough around the edges, but I have a lot of good ideas.”

There’s not a lot of time currently for recording, as the members are busy with other projects. Shepherd is touring with Soundgarden, Cameron took a hiatus from Soundgarden to play with Pearl Jam, and Off! also have summer tour dates.

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