On November 21 2016 Temple of the Dog played the final show of their reunion tour in Seattle, where “Grunge” as a movement had started.
Head held high Chris Cornell teased the crowd about a world tour, and with a voice that never seemed to fade, he sang All Night Thing to close out the show. Cornell and band mates Matt Cameron, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard and Mike McCready were once again celebrating and in tandem, reminiscing the all too short life of Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood. Wood, who died following a heroin overdose at the age of 24 in 1990, was the room mate, confidante and best friend of Cornell.
Mother Love Bone went on, with the addition of singer Eddie Vedder to be the very successful Pearl Jam. Cornell fronted Soundgarden right up until his untimely death.
Unfortunately the news of the very short tour was not received well by the girlfriend of Wood, as reported here in Consequence of Sound.
On Thursday May 18th 2017 after preaching to the crowd that; “nobody can tell me what to do. Nobody tells us (gesturing to the band) what to do. You can burn fucking crosses on your lawn, I don’t give a shit. You can burn your house down. Who cares? I don’t as long as it doesn’t catch someone else’s house on fire” The voice that never faded was silenced forever.
Shortly after playing a Soundgarden show in Detroit where he seemed at times disoriented, and appeared to be looking toward the floor a lot more than he observed the crowd in front of him, Chris Cornell, aged 52, was pronounced dead in his hotel room.
Initial reports suggested suicide by hanging, though more recent reports say that Cornell was found unresponsive on the floor with an exercise rubber around his neck. He was reportedly bleeding from the mouth when he was discovered.
Cornell’s wife Vicky Cornell has said that during their final phone conversation he was slurring, sounding groggy and repeating the words”I am just tired” before hanging up the phone. This conversation prompted a call to security to check on the singer. Additional reports by his wife of the singer perhaps taking too much of the drug Ativan and not being in full control of his faculties, are still waiting to be proven.
A public lifetime of recovery from alcohol and substance abuse, loss of friends and peers from overdoses and suicide (Andrew Wood, Layne Stayley, Kurt Cobain) had put this admittedly anxious, at times obviously depressed, and very private man, on a pedestal. He was a founder and one of the last to survive. That is a huge responsibility. It was often obvious during interviews that Cornell was a guarded man, choosing to express himself through his music and onstage, and not one on one in front of a camera pointed directly towards him.
When Soundgarden went on an “indefinite hiatus” in 1997, Cornell could still not resist his drug of choice (singing) at that time, and went on to sing very successfully for Audioslave, not to mention a slew of solo projects.
In 2012 with the release by Sondgarden of King Animal after a fifteen year hiatus that Cornell described as “probably a bit too long,” during an interview at that time with himself and the bands bassist Ben Shepherd, Cornell was back where he was meant to be. Current, forefront and right here. The album was very well received and Live to Rise was included on the Soundtrack of The Avengers movie that year.
Despite this notoriety, the success, the adoration and adulation, Cornell, who was not only blessed with an absolutely stunning vocal range and ability to sing with seemingly little effort, was considered also to be a very attractive man. Boasting a six pack, a head of beautiful brunette curls, piercing blue eyes and sparkling white teeth, he was the epitome of the American dream, yet his own dreams were seemingly awful nightmares, full of thoughts of friends in days gone by.
Did resurrecting those days by performing with Temple of the Dog make those dreams too much to bear? Was there guilt in making it and still being relevant and present too much for one man to bear?
In all honesty we will never know. It seems that Cornell had not shared his feelings with anyone close and there is as yet, no official statement on either of the official band websites, however Pearl Jam and Temple of the Dog guitarist Mike McCready offered this:
“Chris Cornell painted in song the darkness and beauty of life in Seattle.” McCready began. “Chris means a lot to me today, as he trusted me to play on Temple. He handed me a dream in getting to actually play on beautiful songs. Informed how I would play on Pearl Jam records in the future, I believe”.
“He gave me the break into the music business I’d wanted since I was 11. He was a friend I will miss. I miss you, brother”.
Pearl Jam paid tribute to Cornell posting a photo of the late singer and his dog on their Facebook page. Read more here.
Let us all, in this time of mourning, wondering why and how this could have happened, and perhaps regretting greatly that is has, let us be in the knowledge that we were witness to greatness. We were witness to humility, realness, humbleness and great talent and ability.
We can never know what another person is thinking. We cannot know what another may do something in a time of desperation or tiredness, that perhaps will have end result that was not really intended. We can show compassion, we can be an ear, but without being offered a glimpse of another’s thoughts, we often will miss a signal or sign. In this instance we now miss a whole being. Someone who affected our own well being and ability to cope is gone. A talent that will not easily be followed, replaced or repeated.
We can only be thankful for the time that Chris Cornell gave to us, often at risk to his own well being and mental health and more recently possibly resultant in taking him away.
While we await a full toxicology report, and the full results of the autopsy it is best not to speculate, but to know that Cornell had a family, a wife and children, and it is because of this that we should honor their wishes and be respectful at this very difficult time.
“The family is thinking about a (public) memorial for fans, but is coping now with their loss and the funeral service,” a source close to the family told CNN. Pasich confirmed to Variety that plans for public memorials will be announced “when that’s been decided.”
Chris Cornell will be laid to rest Friday, May 26th, in a private ceremony at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Forever Cemetery. May he rest in peace.
Chris Cornell may be gone but his music will never die.
KG Headbangerwoman May 23 2017