It’s been a few days since the passing of Soundgarden front-man Chris Cornell. Out of respect for Chris, his family, friends, and fans, I chose to keep quite about this on the website for a day to let this information sink in a little more. Soundgarden has been my all-time favourite band since I can remember. It was probably one of the most difficult celebrity deaths I had to deal with personally, ever in my life. I know I am not alone.
We don’t know why Chris took his life. We will never know. Was it even really a suicide? The questions will be endless. There is no point in analyzing this now. What makes me angry is that the media is blowing up trying to analyze his lyrics, and coming to conclusions about how depressed and sad he really was.
“What I enjoy doing is making paintings with lyrics, creating colourful images..” – Cornell
And this is exactly how I always felt when listening to Soundgarden. After nearly thirty years following Soundgarden and Chris Cornell, reading books, collecting bootlegs and pretty much anything I could find on this band and this artist, the impression I always had of Chris was that he was a happy go-lucky person; always cracking jokes with his band, friends, and family, and sort of the “goof” in the gang. I saw him as the “wise old owl” in his group of musician friends. He quit drinking ages ago, and seemed to have taken good care of himself. Sure, he relapsed a few times, but nobody is perfect.
This video is a great example of a typical Chris moment.
When I found out about Chris’ death, it was by waking up to many messages on my phone with the news. I thought it was a hoax at first. A prank maybe? I didn’t want to believe it. Then friends shared the news all over their Facebook feeds. Everyone was in shock. I needed a moment to breathe and let it sink in. Then the tears came. Why cry over a person I never met? It’s hard to explain, and it is the first time it has ever happened to me. When a person’s art touches you so strongly for basically most of your life, it does hit home. You begin to think of the negative – no more music will be made by this person. He is gone.
But after sleeping the tears off, I realized how much we all had to benefit from his music and the bands he was in. There is so much to listen to – some new fans will still get to discover it- and we just need to let that live on.
We need to celebrate his life. I won’t go into detail on what I know and have learned about this band. If you’d like to talk more about this band or Chris, feel free to email me or comment below.
I personally believe this suicide was not done on purpose, and if so then something specific caused it. They are now saying with more investigating that Cornell may have taken too much Ativan by accident. His wife Vicky said he was slurring his words after his last show, saying he thinks he may have taken too much. Ativan is a drug mainly prescribed for anxiety disorders.
If not this, my own take was that possibly his doing the Temple of the Dog reunion tour was being a little rough on him (hence the Ativan). Now this is not fact, this is a personal guess. The only time I ever saw Chris unhappy in interviews was when Andy Wood’s name was brought up.
“There’s something about losing friends, particularly young people, where it’s not something that you get over. I don’t believe there’s a healing process.”
Soundgarden just released a rarities collection called Echo of Miles. I suggest you all listen to this – for those who are too familiar with Soundgarden’s musical history pre-Superunknown, this is a great collection representing how much this band experimented with their sound. It is available on Spotify.
Thanks for reading.
“And if you don’t believe the sun will rise, stand alone and greet the coming night in the remaining light.”
Written by Liz Imperiale
*edited by Kate Erickson