Reviewed, Rewound ‘n Revisited: Chris Cornell
When magic goes out of the world, it’s tough. When magic goes out of the world of its own accord it’s even more difficult; especially when that magic has entranced you personally, and for such a long time.
“Chris Cornell died” (text 1)
“Right offstage, apparently” (text 2)
Finding out later on that the Soundgarden/Audioslave/Solo frontman had died by his own hand was somewhat shocking. Not overly so, however, as images of suicide had dotted his lyrical work and the music itself had always been shot thru with a sort of darkness that pervaded even its most bright sounding moments.
It feels as though Chris Cornell has sort of always been there. Soundgarden, of all the “Seattle bands” were always my favorite. Their melding of odd time signatures, alternate tunings and sortofkindofish pop sensibilities were always so intriguing to me. It was rarely music that was immediate and as such it was far more rewarding in the end. This was music where you had to really pay attention to hit emotional paydirt. It took work to make and it took work to appreciate.
While Matt Cameron, Kim Thayil and Ben Shepherd were each in their own way integral to the sound of the band that produced such incredible music, it was Chris Cornell who was the glue that held it all together. Amongst indespensables, he was the most indispensable.
The day I found out he had died, some three weeks ago, I was left shaken up. I felt as tho I was more shaken up than I had any business being as I didn’t know Mr. Cornell from Adam or Eve. That he had died by his own hand left me, as a person who has struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide, with a hopeless feeling. This light burnt bright for such a long time and it should have been left to quietly lower and dim or perhaps burn in different colors as time went by.
Some people are left angry about suicide…While I admit there was a bit of anger, I was mostly completely gutted and saddened at the loss of what strangely felt like an old friend…And after all, he was a husband and father…his family.
I was delighted, back in the day, to hear that Cornell and the members of Rage Against the Machine were to put together a band to be called, somewhat strangely, Audioslave. It is perhaps the very nature of vastly different chemistries that their musical output (at least in the studio) was, to me, a little (but only a little) underwhelming. I imagine, tho, that they were an incredibly potent live act.
When Soundgarden reunited five or so years back (with a glorious twitter statement regarding the union of the Knights of the Soundtable from Cornell himself), I was floored and delighted. Even moreso when the resultant album, King Animal, turned out to be perfectly in step with the muse statement of purpose. Not a inch was given and the band was as musically adventurous as ever…vital as shit. What has surprised me as I have listened to it more and more is the way Cornell was able to take what he had learned from his experience with Audioslave and bring it to the table with his old mates.
This was truly a gifted individual. So many songs and tales and melodies and memories and so much more.
…There exists, in a gone by quantum reality that still exists in a state of mind; an 18 year old adolescent, circa 1998. He prepares for his exams mid winter. Spinning on a laser a couple feet away is a Rhinosaur, eating Ty Cobb for breakfast and hanging from a Pretty Noose. The stress of the day is rendered more palatable and indeed unforgettable as the Lion roars in odd time…
Thank you Chris Cornell. I will miss you deeply
– Pete Sounds