I never wanted to write these words down for you…
If you knew me, you could not help but see how many aspects of my life seem to have moved in this circular motion, somehow always making these ironic connections.
If you knew me, you would know that I have a few favorites. They are: Johnney Depp, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, The Doors, and anything Chris Cornell.
I take my music very seriously, and for a while I have been planning to write this post, except one of my favorites died today. It feels like the end of my youth.
(See My dad the rocker. https://wordpress.com/post/superstew39.wordpress.com/476).
If you knew me, you would know that I was very much a part of the Seattle grunge scene, except that I lived thousands of miles away at the time. Countless concerts and dreams of being a groupie and following a band around. Just like Penny Lane in Almost Famous, minus the slutty part. I know song lyrics for days. People that do not know me that well might find it all surprising, like my tattoos.
I saw Chris Cornell with Audioslave in Cleveland, OH. I stood just feet away from Tom Morello’s guitar. I probably would have gone to a concert every day, if I could afford it. Across all the bands and solo work, I think Soundgarden was my least favorite. Audioslave and Temple of the Dog top my list. Temple of the Dog played here recently, but I found out about it too late.
The right place, the wrong time.
And now, fast forward twenty, or so years, and here I am. Living not far from that city where it began. I feel like… with my people, actually. I could not be anywhere else right now.
Melodramatic? It’s not like I knew him. Is anything different in my life today. No, except that his music got me through many of the difficult times in my own life. Beautiful melodies, with an often blues filled softness. Two of my all time favorite songs: Call Me A Dog: Temple of the Dog, 1991, and The Getaway: Audioslave, 2002. Song lyrics that really transecended whatever their true meaning may have been. And now I will never hear a new song by that amazing voice again, and it hurts.
I watched a series recently about my generation, Generation X. In it they claimed that Kurt Cobain stood for the generation. And while I do have a fondness, even visited the park in Aberdeen memorializing him and drove by his childhood home, he did not represent me. Not in the way that Cornell’s music did, and what a musicain and song writer. His level of talent far outweighs that of Mr. Cobain in any way. There is no comparison between the two. The Jim Morrison of our time, or Robert Plant. Music like this does not exist anymore today.
They say he killed himself. By hanging. I cannot help but wonder about the moments that led up to this. The private demons he must have been struggling with. I cannot get the disturbing image out of my head. I think of his children, and the wife and family he left behind, and I am saddened.
I feel like I can never finish this. If Chris Cornell killed himself, what does that mean for the rest of us. It’s not like he had public scandals for us to piece together an explanation, at least not for many years. He was real. He had flaws, and depression, and addiction, and he overcame them. Try watching a film as you hear that voice slowly creep in on many a movie score. He had outlasted that ‘Live fast, die young, I’m a rock n roll star living on the edge phase’, and he was one of the few who made it. It made us proud.
It wasn’t supposed to end this way. In the next few weeks the mystery will unfold for the rest of the world to see. While I, Mr. Cornell, one of your biggest fans, sits by wishing it was all a hoax, as I have done since the day I heard the news.