Say hello to heaven: The death of Chris Cornell

WINDOW ROCK

Chris Cornell, vocalist for Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog and who had a solo career, died at age 52 from an apparent suicide.

Chris Cornell

Cornell was found by his security guard in a hotel bathroom on May 18 after a Soundgarden concert in Detroit. His wife, Vicky, said Cornell had slurred his words, complained of being too tired and admitted to taking an extra Ativan – medication used to treat anxiety.

On May 25, Cornell was revealed to have had track marks on his arm and Soundgarden tour manager and engineer Ted Keedick said Cornell seemed high and “out of it” when performing that night. Cornell had a history with drugs.

Growing up to songs like “Black Hole Sun,” “Jesus Christ Pose,” “Birth Ritual,” and “Falling on Black Days,” Cornell would be a prominent voice of the 1990s and of my generation.

“Chris Cornell painted in a song the darkness and beauty of life in Seattle,” said Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, who collaborated with Cornell in Temple of the Dog.

I first encountered Cornell through my parents and Uncle Ty when I was growing up in the early 1990s. Cornell was on mainstream radio. I was introduced to him with Temple of the Dog songs “Say Hello To Heaven,” “Reach Down,” and the famous “Hunger Strike.”

But Cornell’s band, the famous Soundgarden, was the one he would be popular with during the great Seattle explosion. They were the first band to get a record contract with the 1986 album “Loud Love” before their predecessors Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam.

Soundgarden produced six albums: “Ultramega OK,” “Louder Than Love,” “Badmotorfinger,” “Superuknown,” “Down on the Upside” and “King Animal.”

His iconic voice made him known throughout the music world, a howling of beautiful pain and lavish joy.

After the demise of Soundgarden, Cornell began a solo career and sought advice from well-known music producer Rick Rubin to jam with former members of Rage Against The Machine – guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Cummerford and drummer Brad Wilk. The band they formed was Audioslave.

Audioslave produced three albums: “Audioslave,” “Be Yourself” and “Revelations.’

I first saw Cornell with Audioslave in 2003 in Albuquerque during the 2003 Lollapalooza Tour with bands Incubus, Queens of the Stone Age and Jane’s Addiction at the Journal Pavilion.
Cornell sung the songs “Like A Stone,” “Show Me How To Live,” “Gasoline” and “Cochise” off their self-titled release.

Audioslave was a sight to see as Cornell led through the show with his flaring vocals and lavishing stage presence. Cornell played acoustic guitar on the song “I Am The Highway” and “Like A Stone.”

The group covered The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” and Cornell’s vocal pitch matched that of Jack White’s iconic voice and Morello would make the perfect guitar solo to match White’s style.


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