My top favorite three groups of all time in order are AC/DC, Soundgarden, and Earth Wind & Fire. Of those three I have only seen EW&F live. I can't see AC/DC because the lead singer has been replaced by Axel Rose and fuck that. And I will never get to see Soundgarden because their lead singer, Chris Cornell, killed himself today. And it sucks. I have all of their CD's and albums even when there was Temple Of The Dog and when he started Audioslave with members of Rage Against The Machine. Cornell, and you will see everyone mention it, had one of the best voices in music. That shit was mad powerful and there has not been anyone that sounded like him or could get away with it without being called a copycat.
I was never into Nirvana during the whole grunge music era. I was all about Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Soundgarden. I first heard “Spoonman” in 1994 and it blew my ass away. I was able to get the entire album and would play it from start to finish repeatedly. The album, Superunknown, is fifteen songs of greatness. Since this was before the internet it wasn't until much later that I found out about Badmotorfinger. “Rusty Cage” is the first song and its like if you don't like this song you need to stop because this entire record is gonna kick you in the balls. Another great album that just made me wonder why everyone was on Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins dicks. I was like “Maybe they haven't heard of this band.” Of course it turns out that many people knew the band and just knew they were good but not as flashy or extreme and weird as the other grunge or alternative bands at the time.
I later found Ultramega OK and Louder Than Love and realized that this song “Hunger Strike” was performed by Temple Of The Dog which was both Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Down On The Upside was released in 1996 and they wouldn't have another album until 2012. In an interview in 2007 Cornell said “I think, and this is now with some distance in listening to the records, but on the outside looking in with all earnestness I think Soundgarden made the best records out of that scene. I think we were the most daring and experimental and genre-pushing really and I'm really proud of it. And I guess that's why I have trepidation about the idea of re-forming. I don't know what it would mean, or I guess I just have this image of who we were and I had probably a lot of anxiety during the period of being Soundgarden, as we all did, that it was responsibility and it was an important band and music and we didn't want to mess it up and we managed to not, which I feel is a great achievement.” In between that time Cornell had a solo career which is seems like people are now discovering where he sings some covers and original songs. He also released three albums as Audioslave. I found out about the third album just a few months ago.
Cornell who was born July 20th 1964 was found dead in a hotel room on May 18th 2017 and left his wife, and three children. Soundgarden had just performed a show that night in Detroit and from all reports there were no signs of anything being wrong with him. An attorney for the family Kirk Pasich stated “Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris—or if any substances contributed to his demise. Chris, a recovering addict, had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages.”
His wife Vicky Cornell said “Chris's death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled. As everyone who knew him commented, Chris was a devoted father and husband. He was my best friend. His world revolved around his family first and of course, his music, second," Vicky said. "He flew home for Mother's Day to spend time with our family. He flew out mid-day Wednesday, the day of the show, after spending time with the children.” She added “When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him. What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.” He was found hanging. Suicidal thoughts and behavior are a side effect of Ativan.
Nuts how with musicians it went from being deaths caused by plane crashes, drinking, drug use, to prescription medication. Cornell talked of his addiction and recovery saying “It was a long period of coming to the realization that this way (sober) is better. Going through rehab, honestly, did help...it got me away from just the daily drudgery of depression and either trying to not drink or do drugs or doing them and you know, they give you such a simple message that any idiot can get and it's just over and over, but the bottom line is really, and this is the part that is scary for everyone, the individual kinda has to want it...not kinda, you have to want it and to not do that crap anymore or you will never stop and it will just kill you.”
His death bums me out for multiple reasons and of course many of them are selfish because that is how death goes when you are still alive. You miss what you could have done or experienced with the person that is gone. I'll never get to see him perform in concert. Not get to shout “Spoonman” at the top of my lungs. It sucks. There are a lot of folks talking more about suicide now. Saying how if you want help you should call this number or that one. If you feel you can do that you should. If you can talk to a friend you should. If you are taking medication that makes you suicidal please see if there is another form of treatment. I'm not gonna say there's always a light of hope but there is always a better way to handle it.