When I first heard Chris Cornell had passed away, my first thought was “The good Lord decided it was time for his beautiful voice to “Say Hello 2 Heaven.” I assumed, at 52 physically healthy years of age, he died of a heart attack or some freak natural cause that can only be attributed to it “being one’s time.” When I later found out Chris had actually taken his life, I found myself feeling even more devastated.
I know we throw words like “devastated,” “shocked,” and “saddened” around too often and sometimes in exaggerated context. I’ve actually found it somewhat annoying when the effigies and vigils come en mass for celebrities we’ve never met and so on.
Yet on a personal note, I must say this one really, really hurts. I’ve been a huge fan of Cornell’s for over 25 years. I’d go as far as to say he’s been my favorite musical artist of all time. I own all his Soundgarden albums, all his Audioslave albums, solo albums, etc. I’ve always enjoyed his voice and song writing. I’ve always liked him. Just seemed like a good guy. A cool guy.
I listen to a lot of music on youtube. I get on kicks. There was the month I watched a Cream reunion concert from the Royal Albert Hall from 2005 like everyday. Or a Tom Petty concert from L.A. that I seemed to listen to for the better part of 3 weeks. For the past two weeks, for whatever reason, I’ve been listening to live acoustic Chris Cornell performances almost nightly. Maybe he was on my mind because I’d kicked around the idea of going to the Soundgarden concert in Indianapolis last week. I didn’t make the time for that show. Sure wished I had. I suppose it makes me appreciate all the more the Soundgarden concert I attended back in ’94. Back in the earlier days.
Here’s a guy who’d conquered his alcohol addiction and been sober for over a decade. He had his great band back together and were blowing audiences away on their new tour. They were planning to release a new Soundgarden album by year’s end. Three teenage children. A happy marriage. He sounded great. He looked great. So how does this happen?
Most of us have lost a friend, family member, or someone we’ve respected and admired to suicide. As hard as the loss is, the why, or lack of knowing why, is so hard as well. I suppose the truth is, we simply can’t put ourselves in someone else’s head space. As much as we may know someone, or think we know about a person or their life, we’re still not that person. That’s how I accept suicide. But it doesn’t make me feel one damn bit better.
Thank you Chris Cornell. Thank you for all the songs you wrote and sang that I’ve had the privilege to enjoy for so many years. For what it’s worth, my children will know your music too. Thank you. Rest in Peace.