Chris Cornell

I’m going to show my vintage here, but I remember running to cut weight for wrestling in high school and listening to Superunknown on my Walkman. The thumping distorted intensity pushed my strides, but the melodies and his voice kept me pushing the cassette into the tape player.  Limo Wreck was my favorite song.  Chris Cornell’s vocal range was unbelievable.  He could swing from a smooth soulful vocal line to a gritty scream with ease.


The first CD I ever bought was the Counting Crows August and Everything After. My favorite bands in high school were Weezer, the Cranberries and U2.  But I can’t leave out Soul Coughing, Beck and Sponge. Looking back, one of my favorite bands of the time was Toad the Wet Sprocket.  I started playing guitar because of Bob Dylan.


The hardest music I listened to was influenced by Soundgarden and the grunge guys, throw in a touch of Deftones and a dash of Metallica.  I wasn’t really into the screaming noise of even some of Nirvana’s tunes.  I was always looking for melodies and always punk over metal.  Superunknown was full of melodies and fantastic guitars and drive.  That album will always hold a special place in my listening catalogue.  But I hadn’t listened to it in years until this past week and actually preferred a lot of Chris Cornell’s solo stuff.  When his Euphoria Morning came out in 1999, I ate it up.  It was still dark and from the belly of grunge, but it wasn’t nearly as heavy as Soundgarden.


I must admit. I got into Nirvana after Kurt’s death.  I can now say I know who Pat Smear is and I know about the Germs and lead singer Darby Crash’s suicide on December 7, 1980.  On December 8, 1980 John Lennon was shot.  It hasn’t stopped.  There is a tug of war between the public and the private, between fame and obscurity.  Or is it that beautiful art has a cost or at least, it seems that those I respect are telling me the price is too high.


Death and Rock & Roll.  Like a good kiss.


From Jim Morrison to John Denver, Chantilly Lace and La Bamba. Elliot Smith stabbed himself twice.  Prince had pain killers.  There are plane crashes and car crashes, but it’s tough when an artist/human being takes their own life.  It’s particularly tough to swallow when it’s someone you have admired.  There’s a feeling of hopelessness that saturates the details surrounding their death.  I am devastated.  And I’m still coming to terms with the permeating sadness.


I think about running in high school. Superunknown playing in my Walkman.  My whole life stretched out unseen ahead of me with Chris Cornell on top of the world and I can’t help but feel a pull on the thread.  Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos.


“Musicians are often asked to answer for an entire culture, or for an entire movement. It’s a process of commodification.  It becomes packaged and summarized in a word like ‘emo’ or ‘grunge’… or ‘folk music.’  I think that’s just language itself, trying to understand the mysteries of the world.”  – Sufjan Stevens

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