Today was one of those days, that you you did not expect to hear that tragic news that Chris Cornell is no longer with us. A child of the northwest, he spent a lot of time in our fine city. As he worked up the ranks from filthy clubs to arenas with Soundgarden in the 90’s ,to a Solo career, to being a part of Audioslave, back to Soundgarden along with solo stints in between. He was a true artist, that had a kid young, then got remarried and started a new life with his new wife and 2 kids. I feel shattered for them today. It’s an awful loss for them to bear. For all of Chris’ friends, family and bandmates and awful day.
As I type this I am thinking of all the opportunities I had to see Chris perform over the last few decades …gulp. I mean I was a kid the first time I saw Soundgarden for the first time at UBC Tbird, for Lollapalooza.I lived close to the venue, and was obsessed with Badmotorfinger. It was absolutely incredible, they were the band I wanted to see more than Pearl Jam on that bill (ya the bill was that strong). They totally delivered, and that hair that he had…wow! The voice, the band…so raw and unrefined and truly authentic. Who thought a pudgy kid from Vancouver would be able to eventually talk about him on the radio, and interview him one day.
I saw him play on his solo album Euphoria Morning at the QET, then several other times. It was in 2002, that I was in Santa Monica interviewing Audioslave about their new album. Chris was on a day pass from rehab and came out and did interviews at the hotel. He was smoking back then, and I had a few words with him while he was smoking American Spirit cigarettes, I was into Marlboros back then. I couldn’t believe I was talking to Chris Cornell and he was actually cool. No rockstar bs! In the pool of bandmates, I ended up not interviewing him that time, but Tom Morello and Timmy C. Eventually my time would come to talk with him.
In 2005, I was able to talk with him backstage before an Audioslave show in the bowels of an arena, in his dressing room. He was so kind to me, we talked a bunch about Vancouver, Seattle and just life stuff. He told me so much about what he is thinking about when he is singing. (He thought a lot about hitting high notes, and the audience, among other things). He was so down to earth, he gave me 30 minutes of his time. I finally interviewed the guy who’s voice and albums I was obsessed with.
Over the years I saw him several more times, solo and with Soundgarden, with the final time Winter 2013. Soundgarden did a show at the QET in support of their last studio album King Animal. I was once again amazed at how great his and the bands performance was. Seattle Grunge royalty, Matt, Kim, Ben and Chris all on stage together. They destroyed the place that night, truly and I thought I was going to have a heart attack from the bass….I loved it. I was just thinking before the Pemby lineup came out that they would be there.
I hope you had the chance to see him, or love his music. Go back and listen to those Soundgarden albums! So frickin’ good.
Thank you Chris.