Rest in Peace Chris Cornell
Much of the internet is abuzz today with news of the sudden passing of Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell.
As I sit here trying to make sense of this news, I am going to pour my sadness out here on to my blog. I don’t normally cry when my heroes die, but Cornell’s passing got me to tear up. I never got to see Soundgarden live, nor Chris Cornell. This is something I will regret.
How I Learned of Soundgarden and Chris Cornell
I was sitting at the back of my school bus one morning in 1995 or 1996 when the topic of Soundgarden and Live came up with an upperclassman. I had never heard of either. It just so happened that this guy’s brother was in a band and they covered “Spoonman” by Soundgarden. That is how I got introduced to Soundgarden and Chris Cornell.
I had to hear more. I wanted to know what the original sounded like since my friend’s band’s cover was pretty awesome. So, I hunted down a copy of “Superunknown” and was instantly floored and hooked.
I listened to “Superunknown” a lot. It was one of a handful or records that would be a soundtrack to that time of my life. It made an impact and left a lasting impression on my soul.
“Down on the Upside” and Audioslave
When Soundgarden disbanded after “Down on the Upside” came, I was furious. I said to myself that if they ever got back together, I would do anything I could to see them live. While DotU was not as strong an album as Superunknown was, there were some great songs on it.
“Burden in my Hand” and “Blow Up the Outside World” are phenomenal examples of mixing of rock with pop sensibilities. It is this quality that I loved about Soundgarden. The same qualities that “Blackhole Sun” and “Fell on Black Days” have. Not surprisingly, all these songs were penned by Cornell.
I must admit that I was never a huge fan of Cornell’s solo material, but his stint with Audioslave was great, in my humble opinion. I wish that project would have born more fruit.
“King Animal” and an Abrupt End
When Soundgarden got back together and released “King Animal”, I was so excited. I really wanted to see them, but I was living in Hong Kong and the time and their tour did not come through HK. While the album had some good moments on it, it didn’t reach the genius of “Superunknown”. Still, I was so happy that they were back together.
Soundgarden were on tour in the United States in spring 2017, when Cornell passed away after performing just hours before his untimely death. No cause was reported at the time the news first broke out. As of writing this blog post, the case is still open.
Rumor had it that they [Soundgarden] had been working on a new album but were taking their time with it. I hope they were far enough along with the process so they can release some new music – or that fans can get a glimpse in to what would have been.
My deepest sympathies go to Cornell’s family, the members of Soundgarden and Audioslave, and to all who knew him closely. As a fan, I could only ever admire Cornell from a far. He was one of my favorite songwriters and lyricists. Though I am saddened that I will not hear more of his work, I am happy that I had a chance to enjoy and appreciate it – and I will continue to listen and appreciate his work for as long as I still have time to do so.