RIP Chris Cornell
May 18, 2017 3:33 AM   Subscribe

posted by Nanukthedog at 3:41 AM on May 18

WTF? I mean, really....WTF?

The Singles soundtrack vinyl reissue is supposed to show up from Amazon tomorrow, too....
posted by kuanes at 3:41 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

posted by Ickster at 3:43 AM on May 18


Christ. Unbelievable.

All I can say is what a huge part of being a teen in suburban '90s Virginia.
posted by selfnoise at 3:43 AM on May 18 [9 favorites]

It's like 2016 reached its bony finger out from the grave and tapped him on the shoulder.
posted by hippybear at 3:43 AM on May 18 [7 favorites]

. RIP Chris. Soundgarden was/is my favourite band and I've seen Chris Cornell live over 10 times in his various projects. Now I'm even more disappointed that I didn't get to see Temple of the Dog play live last year.
posted by Kris10_b at 3:45 AM on May 18


Whatsoever I've feared has come to life
Whatsoever I've fought off became my life
Just when everyday seemed to greet me with a smile
Sunspots have faded and now I'm doing time
Cause I fell on black days

posted by Pendragon at 3:46 AM on May 18 [20 favorites]

So sad. What a great talent. His music played a huge part in my life.
posted by 1head2arms2legs at 3:52 AM on May 18

well that's some bullshit
posted by Sebmojo at 3:52 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]

All my friends are skeletons
(And beat the rhythm with their bones)

posted by PenDevil at 3:53 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]

posted by jilloftrades at 3:53 AM on May 18

RIP, sir.
posted by resurrexit at 3:54 AM on May 18

This is just so, so sad.
posted by obfuscation at 4:00 AM on May 18

say hello 2 heaven
posted by juv3nal at 4:02 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

I don't believe it.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:02 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

Soundgarden were never my thing, but Cornell had one of the great rock voices. Sad to hear it's been silenced.

Since I can't find any information on the child development charity Cornell founded, I will be donating my busking tips this weekend to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound in his honor. If you have the means I invite you to do the same.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:06 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]

Oh no. Such awful news.
posted by A hidden well at 4:06 AM on May 18

posted by lalochezia at 4:10 AM on May 18

Wow. This is a shocker. A great voice silenced. RIP.
posted by jonmc at 4:11 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

posted by Fizz at 4:12 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


posted by Thorzdad at 4:12 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

Chris Cornell's solo album Euphoria Girl was the first album I ever torrented off of Napster.
posted by Fizz at 4:29 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]

Things will not be the same... (SLYT; plus annoying ad up front).
posted by datawrangler at 4:30 AM on May 18

Soundgarden was my favorite band out of Seattle; in keeping with the aphorism that you stop listening to new music around age 30, they were one of the last new bands I really got into. Chris really did have a great voice; RIP.
posted by TedW at 4:31 AM on May 18

Saw Soundgarden at Lollapalooza in New Orleans in 1992. I am surprised that articles are not mentioning Temple of the Dog or his solo work.

Missed seeing Soundgarden at Memphis in May a couple of weeks ago. Suffice it to say I regret that now.

Great pipes.
posted by grimjeer at 4:36 AM on May 18

Soundgarden and other grunge was the soundtrack to the housepainting career that I had in the early nineties before I went back to school. Any time that I hear that band, or Temple of the Dog, Nirvana and Pearl Jam, I think of that time in my life painting rich people's houses and blasting rock radio all day.
posted by octothorpe at 4:37 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]

posted by Gelatin at 4:38 AM on May 18

posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:38 AM on May 18

I left Seattle in mid-1986, before the scene blew up, so when I read about people like Chris who I knew from that time dying, they are not distant stars to me, they are another of the ratty kids and weirdos going to all-ages shows and talking excitedly about bands.

There was no them and us back then. It makes each loss enormous.
posted by Glomar response at 4:41 AM on May 18 [19 favorites]

I'll admit I'd have been more devastated if it had been Eddie Vedder but as a fan of the Seattle 90s grunge scene in general, I agree... it's heartbreaking. We only just got Soundgarden back!
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:42 AM on May 18

Soundgarden (and specifically Superunknown) was the first music I thought of as "mine", I'm utterly gutted.
posted by sarble at 4:46 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

Chris Cornell's solo album Euphoria Girl

Euphoria Morning, right? Played that a lot back in the days (and for people who just went on Spotify and experienced the Berenstein effect, yes, it was later renamed to Euphoria Mourning for the 2015 reissue)

(just noticed that album collaborator Natasha Shneider died a few years back, also at 52)
posted by effbot at 4:46 AM on May 18

posted by gauche at 4:48 AM on May 18

Thanks for that correction effbot. Still working my way through my first cup of coffee as well as this bad news. But yes, that album. It's so good.
posted by Fizz at 4:48 AM on May 18


Man, so unexpected.
posted by jadepearl at 4:49 AM on May 18

Stuttering, cold and damp
Steal the warm wind tired friend
Times are gone for honest men
And sometimes far too long for snakes
In my shoes, a walking sleep
And my youth I pray to keep
Heaven sent hell away
No one sings like you anymore.

posted by bird internet at 4:51 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]

This is just devastating news. I was too old for grunge but nonetheless, I persisted. Soundgarden was my favorite. When they released King Animal a few years ago I was overjoyed. I had counted on seeing a followup this year or the next. And his last solo album, Higher Truth, was just incredible. I am just floored.

RIP Chris, hope you found that higher truth.
posted by Ber at 4:53 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

posted by drezdn at 4:55 AM on May 18

I am absolutely devastated. He is one of the handful of singers that I can listen to the same song over and over again, like a 4 year old.

posted by MexicanYenta at 4:55 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]

Good lord, 52? That's disturbingly close to my age.

Well damn.

posted by djeo at 4:59 AM on May 18

Oh man, a great voice gone.
posted by PussKillian at 5:00 AM on May 18

posted by grumpybear69 at 5:10 AM on May 18

Goddamnit, this is horrible.

Hard headed fuck you all.
posted by gwint at 5:12 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

Superunknown was one of the first CDs that I bought with my own money after saving up for a whole summer to buy a disc boombox in 1994. It was and is absolutely essential.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:17 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]

This is messed up.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:18 AM on May 18

I am stunned. I associate this man's voice with so much in my life. I truly can't believe he's gone. 52. It's not right.
posted by h00py at 5:27 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]

posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:28 AM on May 18

posted by Gorgik at 5:30 AM on May 18

Jesus. Any one of the bands - soundgarden, audioslave, temple of the dog - would have been enough. All three? That's a genre-defining voice. Quieted too soon, and while on tour? Fucking hell, I'm incoherent with sadness.
posted by donnagirl at 5:30 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


i have no words

posted by bigendian at 5:32 AM on May 18

posted by cmfletcher at 5:33 AM on May 18

posted by Mister Moofoo at 5:34 AM on May 18


Never got into grunge personally (a timing/teenage ego thing) but Cornell's cultural influence and importance was indisputable and over the years I even came to appreciate that growly macho voice of his despite that not being my cup of tea so much, and 52 is just too young.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:42 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

I was never a huge Soundgarden fan, but Huck500 was, and told me about them.

I really liked Cornell's acoustic stuff, though. If anyone is interested, he had an album out that is available in the usual places.

posted by dfm500 at 5:45 AM on May 18

Well fuck this news.
posted by saladin at 5:47 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]

One of my favorites of his was Seasons, an acoustic number from the Singles soundtrack.

posted by Fleebnork at 5:48 AM on May 18 [10 favorites]


I just saw Soundgarden play last Friday.

They still had it. It was a superb show. Everything was tight and right, and loud as fuck.

I can't believe this. Well, I can, but... fuck.

RIP. I'm so glad I got to see them play one last time.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:49 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]


why didn't i get any news alerts about this from major papers? chris cornell is an absolute legend. i swear if i get news alert that roger ailes is dead and not one about chris cornell i'm...throwing my hands up in frustration. that's about all i can muster this morning.
posted by ovenmitt at 5:58 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]

posted by zinc saucier at 6:02 AM on May 18

i think my teenaged self said it best 25 years ago when he said:

"this world is bullshit"

posted by entropicamericana at 6:04 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]

Chris Cornell narrated my profoundly fucked up teen years. Fuck.
posted by xyzzy at 6:10 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

i am not a soundgarden superfan or anything, but superunknown was one of the discs that rarely left the 5-CD carousel in the first house i lived in as a community college dropout.

black hole sun is one of those songs that, upon hearing, immediately transforms me back into a teenage dirtbag

rock in peace

posted by murphy slaw at 6:11 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]

Of the big Grunge bands (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, STP, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden) I wasn't a massive fan of Soundgarden in general but I always thought Chris had a massive voice. Early on he seemed like he was always going to flame out in stereotypical rock lead singer fashion (much like Scott Weiland and Layne Staley did) but I understand that Chris had gotten sober and New Soundgarden was in a much better place. It's increasingly apparent that the rock gods of my youth and teenage years are depressingly mortal.
posted by vuron at 6:11 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

posted by radwolf76 at 6:16 AM on May 18

posted by bz at 6:23 AM on May 18

posted by Become A Silhouette at 6:25 AM on May 18

Soundgarden was never high in my rotation either, but they had some songs I just absolutely loved.

My Wave being one that made me wish I had been to the west coast more. And you tube is filled with evidence that he loved doing covers in concerts that showed him to be a genuine music lover, and his voice was a pretty damned unique instrument.

posted by DigDoug at 6:25 AM on May 18

Soundgarden was supposed to play a big festival in Columbus tomorrow. I don't have any interest in the other bands, or the other people attending the festival, but I was really thinking about going just to see Soundgarden. I saw Cornell live solo on the Euphoria Morning tour. He was impressive. Superunknown is probably the most underrated album of the 90s.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:26 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

it was fun as hell to drop the e string & utterly fail to sing half as good as Cornell
posted by fleacircus at 6:28 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

If I should be short on words
And long on things to say
Could you crawl into my world
And take me worlds away

posted by tonycpsu at 6:30 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

The take home lesson of the story for me here is, don't go back to Detroit.
posted by BinGregory at 6:33 AM on May 18


I saw Soundgarden's first reunion tour and it was awesome. Badmotorfinger, Superunknown, and Down on the Upside were part of the soundtrack of my youth. Solid all the way through. What a loss.
posted by Existential Dread at 6:35 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

The news is saying it's possibly a suicide. :(
posted by aclevername at 6:37 AM on May 18

posted by mondo dentro at 6:39 AM on May 18


posted by SonInLawOfSam at 6:45 AM on May 18

posted by blurker at 6:45 AM on May 18

Legendary voice. Euphoria Morning was and still is one of my desert island discs. I was shocked that it didn't do better; it showed amazing range and versatility and soul. And in interviews, he was always so humble and sweet. I love how he made a point of always giving praise to Ann Wilson of Heart and how much she'd influenced his sound, especially considering how many male ("cock rock" worshiping) fans he had.

RIP, Chris.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 6:46 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]

A guy on my friend's Facebook was literally at last night's Soundgarden show, and said it was one of the best concert experiences of his life. He said that Cornell was in great voice and had incredible vitality throughout the set, sounding just like his twentysomething self from Badmotorfinger and Superunknown. I wonder if there will be a recording, because it sounds like an amazing swan song from someone who had so much more ahead of them.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:48 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]

posted by dlugoczaj at 6:48 AM on May 18

This is hitting me harder than I expected.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:48 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]

His Bond theme was top-notch. Great voice, far too young.
posted by porn in the woods at 6:51 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]

so much.

I was the grunge generation, and I am a huge Pearl Jam, but Soundgarden and PJ will always be intertwined to me. Going all the way back to Temple Of The Dog, which Chris recorded for Andy Wood who died way too early as well.
Say hello 2 Heaven Chris and give Andy a hug.
posted by ShawnString at 6:52 AM on May 18

52 is way too young. Chris Cornell always had one of those amazing voices. He struck me as a private but kind person. I'm sorry to hear this. It really is a bit of a shock.

posted by Kitteh at 6:53 AM on May 18


Cornell had one of the best voices in rock. His loss is enormous. I'm really upset, way more than I would have expected to be and I'm so, so sad that I never got to see him live.
posted by rachaelfaith at 6:54 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

Superunknown was one of the great albums of the 90s. Chris Cornell's voice was a big part of the reason why. And Down on the Upside was enormously underrated.
posted by blucevalo at 6:56 AM on May 18

Pearls and swine bereft of me
Long and weary my road has been
I was lost in the cities
Alone in the hills
No sorrow or pity for leaving I feel

I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky

posted by Amor Bellator at 6:56 AM on May 18 [11 favorites]

posted by zakur at 6:57 AM on May 18

posted by bstreep at 7:05 AM on May 18

Such a huge part of my college years... Soundgarden opening for Voivod in a little Santa Ana club was one of the best shows I've seen to this day, maybe the best. Chris Cornell was a madman, all over the stage, throwing water on the audience. My older brother had to go wait in the car because it was too loud, and he saw Zeppelin back in the day. The shirt I got at that show said Total Fucking Godhead on the back, and man did I get some comments about that over the years.

I wrote my first concert review about it in journalism school. Really a sad day.
posted by Huck500 at 7:11 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]

posted by Elly Vortex at 7:13 AM on May 18

posted by cazoo at 7:13 AM on May 18

posted by Medieval Maven at 7:13 AM on May 18

posted by mixedmetaphors at 7:16 AM on May 18

I remember reading that Sharon Jones died while watching the 2016 election returns. She was shaking her head "Hell naw" at what she saw & then she slipped into a stroke from which she never woke up.

I wonder what pushed Chris Cornell over the edge.

posted by jonp72 at 7:22 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


Well that is just total shit.
posted by Gotanda at 7:23 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

posted by Token Meme at 7:30 AM on May 18

I first discovered Chris Cornell on the Singles soundtrack, which was an amazing CD. Most of my friends thought Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam were better, but I always really liked the cut of Cornell's Jib.

I don't love everything Cornell has done - but he's produced a tremendous body of work.

This is a terrible loss.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:32 AM on May 18

I did a phone interview with him back in the mid-aughts which was really thrilling for me at the time. We talked about his writing process and working on recordings. He was really nice.

Some of the most interesting rock of the nineties. I wore out my Superunknown cassette and bought the guitar tab book for Down on the Upside. Still remember the the tuning for the big singles on that record was CGCGGE which blew my mind.

The two songs I listened to this morning were Limo Wreck and She Likes Surprises.

posted by dagosto at 7:33 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]

Limo Wreck was the second one I played! (After Seasons from the Singles soundtrack.)
posted by kevinbelt at 7:39 AM on May 18

As a nursing student in 1998, I got to see open heart surgery. The surgeon had music blasting. One of the songs that played was "Black Hole Sun." It was pretty surreal to see his hands in the patient's chest, him singing in between clipped orders to the nurses and techs.

My husband is a bigger fan than I am and was in tears this morning. It's a terrible loss.
posted by danielleh at 7:42 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


Only 52. That's way too soon. RIP, Chris.
posted by SisterHavana at 7:55 AM on May 18

They're saying possible suicide?!?!
posted by agregoli at 7:56 AM on May 18

Man. "Jesus Christ Pose" and "Black Hole Sun" would make any list of Grunge Classics. RIP from this '90s twentysomething.
posted by rory at 8:02 AM on May 18

posted by aerotive at 8:03 AM on May 18

lots of clips from last nights show on youtube. He was in fine form.
posted by shockingbluamp at 8:13 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

This shocked me. He will be sorely missed.

posted by Defying Gravity at 8:14 AM on May 18

posted by mont the drifter at 8:18 AM on May 18

When I first heard You Know My Name, I didn't really like it. Then maybe the third time I heard it I totally changed my mind on it. After that I realized it's one of my absolute favorite songs.
Goodbye, Chris. And thank you.

posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:20 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

WTF. Knowing nothing, I saw an article on Google news from Rolling Stone titled "watch Chris Cornell's last performance with Soundgarden" and clicked it thinking it was just some breakup rumor or whatever. It opens up and says CHRIS CORNELL DEAD AT 52"

I'm sitting here with my mouth hanging open for a good 35 seconds, in actual shock. I Loved Soundgarden and I loved Chris. This sucks. And that was a shitty way to learn the news.
posted by cashman at 8:20 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]

Soundgarden opening for Voivod

Holy shit, that is an incredible bill
posted by Existential Dread at 8:23 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]

This sucks. And for the record "Looking California/Feeling Minnesota" may be the single best couplet in pop/rock history.
posted by Lyme Drop at 8:26 AM on May 18 [14 favorites]

Superunknown was pretty much the defining soundtrack of my freshman & sophomore years of college.
posted by mont the drifter at 8:35 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

Nothing will do me in before I do myself so save it for your own and the ones you can help.


Blowing up the outside world and alive in the superunknown. His "Ave Maria" is the best. Andrew Wood, Layne Stayley, Cobain; I feel with Vedder the same sense of injustice as knowing Ringo will be the last Beatle, unjust last holder of the crown.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 8:43 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]

posted by wallabear at 8:44 AM on May 18

Euphoria Morning has been one of my go-to albums for 15 years. Other albums come and go, but Chris Cornell's voice will randomly spring into my head with that amazing Follow my way crescendo and I have to put the album on repeat for the rest of the day. Such tremendous depth in his voice, his lyrics, and his composition. I don't think there's any living artist whose loss would hit me harder. Never saw him live, god damnit. This is heartbreaking.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:04 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

My very first exposure to Soundgarden was when I was 10 or 11, and Encarta 95 had something of, I guess, and easter egg with an entry for Soundgarden and a clip of Nothing to Say. At the time I was on a steady diet of radio top 40 oldies and was totally baffled. I remember asking my dad, "Is this music?" It really is probably the single inflection point that showed me how much music was out there, and sent me out there trying to find it all that would eventually instill in me the idea that music is, in and of itself, an imperative for personal, spiritual, and philosophical growth.

On hearing the news I first thought of The Day I Tried to Live, and then another track from Jason Molina that I never thought I'd connect together as "great songs about personal existential doubt that wold one day become disturbingly prophetic," Almost Was Good Enough.
posted by cmoj at 9:06 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


So sad. Saw him at the Masonic in SF a couple of years ago, one of the best shows I've ever seen. By anyone, and we see a lot of shows. Saw Temple of the Dog in the city, and they were incredible. A welcome blast from the past. I feel like a piece of my youth is gone. What a loss.
posted by onecircleaday at 9:06 AM on May 18

An old friend went to Cornell because he liked the idea of being at a school with the same name as one if his personal gods. It totally changed his life, as college often does... Chris Cornell can take credit for at least one neurosurgeon, is all I'm saying.
posted by potrzebie at 9:06 AM on May 18 [16 favorites]

My sister was the lead singer in a band that toured with them long ago and far away, and in her remembrance of him she recalled that her nickname for him was The best smelling man in rock, because somehow even after a sweaty two hour set, he was still smelled amazingly, mouthwateringly good. He was also as sweet and good natured and poetic as the stories told of him. This is a devastating loss. I'm just heartbroken for his wife and kids.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:08 AM on May 18 [7 favorites]

Best voice of his generation.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:09 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


He is a man who will be missed on many levels. I wish him well in his travels to the unknown, but I will miss him here.
posted by Silverstone at 9:12 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]

In the early 1990s, before MTV began playing Smells like Teen Spirit 24/7, mainstream guitar-based rock music still pretty much consisted of crappy hair metal. I was in high school, but thanks to my older brother I had grown up on a steady diet of 1970s hard rock, and hearing Badmotorfinger for the first time in 1991 was a fucking revelation. It was a huge part of the soundtrack of my senior year of high school. For both that album and Superunknown I have peculiarly intense and specific memory associations; Badmotorfinger puts me back at a big round table doing homework in my school's "campus room" (glorified study hall) and Superunknown takes me back to driving across the state to visit my girlfriend every weekend that summer.


posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 9:14 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]

My brother and I were just texting about this and he said:

"A friend of mine wrote perhaps the best tribute to him I've read today -
'It's awfully shitty about Chris Cornell. Let us remember him not only for his voice, which sounded like a honey-coloured corset being ripped from the ribs of a willing wench of the old West, but for his excellent face, which was a really thunderingly excellent face, wasn't it?'
I think I'd die happy being remembered like that."

I agree. RIP Chris; you take another little piece of my youth with you.

posted by billiebee at 9:15 AM on May 18 [14 favorites]

Badmotorfinger ripped a hole in music when it hit. It felt like old-school rock being born again.

It was fashionable among my musical peers to make fun of Superunknown when it came out, mostly because it was a commercial success. But it's a rock solid album from top to bottom.

He was a solid dude, and I never heard anything but positive reports from people who dealt with him personally.

The world is worse for having lost him.

posted by lumpenprole at 9:19 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]

posted by aiglet at 9:35 AM on May 18

WAIT, WHAT!? Oh my gosh! Oh, man!

All I can say is that I had no time for hard rock until Soundgarden. Them I liked!

Poor man.

posted by droplet at 9:39 AM on May 18


A few years ago I was mowing my yard, and thinking "Who on earth is blasting Chris Cornell somewhere in the neighborhood?" That's when I realized it *was* Chris Cornell, playing at the Rock on the Range festival which takes place at a stadium less than a mile from my house.

I'm generally annoyed by most of the bands that play that festival, but Soundgarden was set to headline tomorrow night, and I was actually looking forward to throwing open the windows for that.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 9:39 AM on May 18 [12 favorites]

Badmotorfinger is one of those records that evokes a very specific moment in my life for me. It's a record where everybody in the band is doing their job, and everything fits together perfectly.

I somehow missed seeing them back in the 1990s, but finally caught up with at the Beale Street Music Festival weekend before last. Strangely enough, I saw Stevie Ray Vaughn play BSMF a few days before he died, too.

(Fortunately, most people who play BSMF survive.)

posted by vibrotronica at 9:42 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

Yes, but how many people that YOU see at BSMF survive?
posted by hippybear at 9:46 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]

I incidentally saw Soundgarden play so many times, as openers or on festival lineups, that I think they may rank in my top half-dozen most-seen bands. The last concert I went to was NIN at the Hollywood Bowl with Cornell opening in 2014. (My brain insists the first time was also with NIN, 92-3ish but I'm not sure it wasn't actually a radio station Christmas concert or similar.)

I'm having a full-body multi-sense memory of multiple occasions of hearing "Outshined" all compressed together, every time thinking holy shit, that voice.

posted by Lyn Never at 10:07 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

posted by dogstoevski at 10:11 AM on May 18

posted by Lynsey at 10:14 AM on May 18

I can say unequivocally that Superunknown saved my life. I suffered (suffer, really) from clinical depression starting in 7th grade. If I hadn't found music that really resonated and taught me that other people felt the same way, I know I wouldn't have made it. He sang about all of the darkest thoughts I was having, but he was screaming them out in his rock god voice. It taught me to put up a middle finger to my pain.

I'm going to go listen to The day I tried to live and then hug my dogs for awhile.

posted by Drumhellz at 10:20 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]

posted by spinifex23 at 10:29 AM on May 18

Badmotorfinger was transformative for this 8th grader. I went to the actual Soundgarden in Sandy Point Seattle once. It was real nice. RIP in your Jesus Christ Pose.
posted by afx114 at 10:33 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

Just saw a tweet that the Detroit ME confirmed it was suicide by hanging.


posted by computech_apolloniajames at 10:49 AM on May 18

posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:58 AM on May 18

Chris Cornell.
If you grew up in the late 80s/early 90s the music you listened to had no choice but to exist within the shadow of the 60s and 70s, a window that included everything from bubblegum to postpunk.
As the 1980s was the decade of Boomers dealing with the hangover of their 70s avarice of endlessly decadent sex and drugs by imposing austerity on the rest of us, it was coupled with their own aged navelgazing and recontextualizing/lionizing of their own past. Probably more than any other era, this was a country having a midlife crisis en masse. Thus, The Who wasn't merely an amazing pop group, they were Puccini in flared jeans. Zeppelin wasn't just fantastic groin-propelled honkey blues (and man is it ever, to its credit) but morso it was Important Epic Poetry, a runestone for all time.
Here's why this mattered: everything seemed post-history and simultaneously indebted to that history. We were given the past with the implicit understanding that everything Important already was, and whatever we would contribute would only exist within that sphere. Of course any time you contain people to that box they start rigging parts together to make a rope out of it. As it was with hip hop, so it was with the new heavy alt (nee Grunge) in the late 80s.
What if we wanted the caterwaul of acid rock without the sexism?
What if we'd heard too many Ramones records to let a song dick around for too long?
What if equal affection for Boston and Wire could make us bend this thing a new way?
That's what Cornell gave us. Before everyone else, Cornell and Soundgarden gave us all the white meat of muscular, diesel-soaked, heavy 70s rock, sorry Rock, without all the bullshit. And that was huge. It was an angle into a powerful form that we could own without embarrassment, and it *mattered*. Absolutely.
Nowadays in our remix culture we have the power to take the allure of the past, slough off the rust and barnacles of bad ideas and motivations and make it our own new prism of those things. That's important.
I remember a Rolling Stone interview with Cornell around 89 or so where the Zep comparison was addressed and he deadpanned that "our songs aren't about swords and wizards and shit" (paraphrased). There's nothing at all wrong about that subject matter, but being free of it gave Cornell and Soundgarden free reign to take this sound somewhere else. And the lens they interpreted it through allowed them to take it somewhere demonstrably better. And in that they were standard bearers for the best instincts about what alt rock in the turn of the 90s was meant to be, before the Candlebox opportunists wiped off the glam makeup and crashed the party. What Chris did around that time was pure. It was us reinterpreting our own past, taking the best parts and fitting them with better parts to make them new. And it's a massive loss to see that creative line end. Plus, have you *heard* Badmotorfinger? It's a fucking beast
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:15 AM on May 18 [27 favorites]

Set this fucker off.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:21 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]

Just saw a tweet that the Detroit ME confirmed it was suicide by hanging.


i just...

posted by entropicamericana at 11:21 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]

posted by i_have_a_computer at 11:36 AM on May 18


I literally woke up this morning with the sound of his voice in my head (the song he did not long ago with Zac Brown Band), then immediately learned of the news.
posted by wats at 11:40 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

Just saw a tweet that the Detroit ME confirmed it was suicide by hanging.

Well, he was found dead with a band around his neck
posted by Flashman at 11:41 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

I am so sad about this I can hardly bear it.
Nothing Compares 2 U
posted by shockingbluamp at 11:43 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]

posted by /\/\/\/ at 11:46 AM on May 18

Sitting here like wet ashes with x's in my eyes…

Man, Badmotorfinger was the first CD I ever bought. Really shocked by this news.
posted by klangklangston at 11:55 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

fuck suicide
posted by thelonius at 11:57 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

posted by Iridic at 12:03 PM on May 18

posted by biscotti at 12:12 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]

In the autumn of 1994 I was in the eighth grade. Every band class, my friend and I would drive our poor teacher crazy by constantly busting into the bass-and-drums part near the start of The Day I Tried to Live.


And sorry Mr. Wong.
posted by Beardman at 12:16 PM on May 18 [5 favorites]

And then I come across this song, which I've never even heard of, on YouTube while rocking out to Rusty Cage and Outshined - Pretty Noose
posted by Clustercuss at 12:45 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]

posted by Joey Michaels at 12:51 PM on May 18

Fuck. This is terrible. Suicide at 52. Goddamn it.

posted by homunculus at 12:54 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]

posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:59 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]

posted by epj at 1:15 PM on May 18

right turn
posted by juv3nal at 1:40 PM on May 18

My college freshman year.
I feel so old.

posted by eclectist at 1:49 PM on May 18

Stop what you're doing and listen to Burden in my Hand right now to hear Cornell's amazing vocals.
posted by zardoz at 1:50 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]

He made the loudest music I ever loved.

posted by DrAstroZoom at 2:03 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


He was so talented. I was always happy to hear his voice. So sad.
posted by dawkins_7 at 2:19 PM on May 18

Zardoz - Burden in my Hand is my favorite Soundgarden song, too.
posted by jonmc at 2:37 PM on May 18

posted by kinnakeet at 2:47 PM on May 18

posted by limeonaire at 2:48 PM on May 18

posted by dreaming in stereo at 3:10 PM on May 18

And then I come across this song, which I've never even heard of, on YouTube while rocking out to Rusty Cage and Outshined - Pretty Noose

Yeah, his last few albums with Soundgarden are full of suicide imagery, and suicide by hanging in particular. They were a weird source of comfort to me when I was a teenager with obsessive suicidal ideation and no real clue how to cope with it or get help — and it was always really, really clear to me that he was speaking from the same sort of deep pathological obsession I was living with, and not just throwing the word "suicide" around for shock value. I am 0% surprised this is how he died, but still very sad.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:22 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]

My CD collection has the following.
* Soundgarden - Louder Than Love
* Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger
* Soundgarden - Superunknown
* Soundgarden - Down On The Upside
* Soundgarden - Burden In My Hand (Single)
* Chris Cornell - Euphoria Morning
* Audioslave - Self-titled
* Audioslave - Out of Exile
* Audioslave - Revelations
My digital music collection has all that plus the wonderful song "Seasons" from the Singles soundtrack.

I had a poster of Soundgarden on my wall as a teenager.

A sad day.
posted by nnethercote at 3:26 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]

Also, everybody rightly remembers his voice. But he was a mean rhythm guitarist too. I just listened to Seasons and his acoustic version of Like Suicide again, and the guitar work is just wonderfully textured and expressive.
posted by nnethercote at 4:02 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]

Depression can go eat a bucket of dicks. RIP Chris.

posted by echolalia67 at 4:22 PM on May 18

posted by Farce_First at 5:12 PM on May 18

Kurdt's death ripped me into pieces, Layne, Andrew too. You could fully see those coming though.

This. Oh no. You beautiful beautiful man. Thank you.

posted by riverlife at 5:15 PM on May 18 [5 favorites]

For anyone who might be troubled by this news, please remember there is always help.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 5:26 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]

posted by luckynerd at 5:33 PM on May 18

"Like the sun we will live and die and then ignite again" -CC

posted by buzzv at 5:42 PM on May 18

Superunknown, Vitalogy, and In Utero were the albums of my teens (I came to it all a bit late). I hadn't listened much to any of Cornell's stuff outside of Soundgarden but, man.

posted by turbid dahlia at 5:55 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]

Aw jeez, that is really sad. He was so young!

Grunge blew up just as I started university--Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Screaming Trees, Alice in Chains. My friends and I would hop over the border to Seattle because it was the cool place to be. We loved the movie Singles--in which Cornell had a cameo and provided some of the music.

This Rolling Stone interview with Cameron Crowe was done last week but is especially poignant with Chris Cornell's death.

posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:16 PM on May 18

Hands All Over from Louder Than Love was the first grunge song that really blew me away. Very raw, very metal, but very different from Metallica and other 80's metal bands.

I don't know what demons Chris Cornell was dealing with, but sorry to see him go this way.

posted by Loudmax at 6:25 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]

Andrew Wood, Layne Stayley, Cobain; I feel with Vedder the same sense of injustice as knowing Ringo will be the last Beatle, unjust last holder of the crown

Lanegan is still going.
posted by mannequito at 6:35 PM on May 18 [8 favorites]

Well, this sucks. Same age as my dad when he committed suicide.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:45 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]

How could I know that this would be your fate?

I thought he'd beat the badness in his head.

posted by cmyk at 7:05 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]

So, this is insane, but Cornell is the first (opening-title) Bond theme song singer to die.

Matt Monro didn't sing in the opening titles for From Russia WIth Love.
posted by Etrigan at 7:24 PM on May 18

May I heartily suggest listening to The Morning show on Seattle's KEXP radio tomorrow. It's publically funded so John Richard's plays whatever he wants...and his love should be strong tomorrow.

God speed, Chris

posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 7:26 PM on May 18 [3 favorites]

Ugh. Fuck this entire decade.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 9:01 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]

Soundgarden transcended Grunge simply because the were so fucking... good. Masters at their craft, really. His voice has always been one of my favorites. My first real listen to Superunknown was in the back of the band van in the middle of the night between gigs. The towns were close enough together that it made sense to just move straight on to the next town & sleep there, so John put that on loud as "keep me awake" music & I was sitting right between the 2 back speakers & it ripped my head off.

Gotta agree on Burden in My Hand being the most amazing thing they recorded, but Euphoria Morning was great & my daughter & I actually overlapped at Audioslave so I heard a lot of that driving her to school. Mad respect for everything he did.

And I'm 2 years older than him. Sick of surviving people I shouldn't have to.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:08 PM on May 18 [4 favorites]


I never saw this coming.

Temple of the Dog carried me through some tough times over the years. Hunger Strike is one of my go-to songs to play and sing. His voice had such effortless range, which I've admired and aspired to for my entire adult life. His songwriting was phenomenally good. He's been a huge influence on me, and his music is an essential part of the soundtrack of my life. Seasons, Fell on Black Days, Burden in My Hand, and Jesus Christ Pose are among my favorite songs ever. This is from one of my favorite jams of all time:

I wanna reach down and pick the crowd up
Carry back in my hand
To the promised land

Listening to that brings me to tears.

RIP, Chris Cornell.
posted by dbscissors at 9:19 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]

KEXP Will Help You Deal with Chris Cornell's Death
For those of us in Seattle (and the world) who are mourning the sudden, tragic passing of Chris Cornell, local radio station KEXP has been a godsend for getting us through this tough day. And tomorrow, they'll be paying tribute to the beloved Seattle musician all day long for their annual "Six Degrees" day of programming—featuring a full day of "on-the-fly” music curation by KEXP on-air hosts John Richards, Cheryl Waters, and Kevin Cole. Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, and Audioslave will be on heavy rotation, and the idea of "six degrees" is that each song played will somehow be linked to the song before it.
Invisible Oranges obit
posted by Existential Dread at 9:41 PM on May 18

cobain was a cathartic blend of inchoate adolescent pain and rage that perfectly captured my (pardon the phrase) teenage angst. but i found myself turning to cornell more in my middle age. the sheer power, range, and virtuosity of his voice, along with his stubborn existence, gave me hope that such feelings could be transcended

now i just don't know
posted by entropicamericana at 9:49 PM on May 18

Fuck depression, depression lies.

posted by Coaticass at 11:00 PM on May 18

A monstrously wide vocal range and totally distinctive voice, and a fine musician overall. 52 is far too young.

posted by dbiedny at 11:33 PM on May 18

Paraphrasing how I put it elsewhere -- yeah, I was in awe of his vocal prowess, (going all the way back to Graceland, Vancouver, 1988 or 89, Soundgarden warming up somebody or other), but I suspect I'll remember him more as a songwriter than a performer. By which I mean, Black Hole Sun is a f***ing masterpiece, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't prefer Steve + Edie's take ...
posted by philip-random at 12:08 AM on May 19

also, Johnny Cash vs Rusty Cage
posted by philip-random at 12:09 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]

Wow. This is very sad.
posted by sio42 at 3:18 AM on May 19

(ugh - i hate adding this to Favorites)
posted by filtergik at 6:49 AM on May 19

Temple of the Dog, "Say Hello 2 Heaven," live at Seattle's Moore Theater in 1990
posted by entropicamericana at 6:51 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]

His family hypothesizes that anti-anxiety meds may have contributed:

“When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different,” his wife added. “When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him.”
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:03 AM on May 19

posted by snsranch at 9:05 AM on May 19

He gave voice to a huge part of my life. Rest in peace and thank you so much.
posted by gt2 at 10:18 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]

I just read that the last song of the show was a cover of Zep's In My Time of Dying.


posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 10:36 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]

Just flipped on KUOW a couple minutes ago and they had a segment on suicide, its causes and ways to prevent it. The episode ended, the musical spacer kicked in, and even though I was expecting it the opening riffs of Superunknown made my stomach tighten up involuntarily. Normally celebrity deaths don't hit me, but this one is a hard one.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:11 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]

Decibel Magazine's full interview with Chris Cornell about Soundgarden's debut Ultramega OK debut for their Hall of Fame series.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:16 AM on May 19

posted by suprenant at 11:18 AM on May 19

Cornell's family say he did not intend to kill himself.
posted by Coaticass at 5:12 PM on May 19

This is a pretty good article.
posted by gt2 at 4:23 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

My introduction to rock music was grunge - I heard Chamber mention that his favorite band was Pearl Jam in a Generation X comic, I asked my father about the band, he gave me 'Ten' and 'Vs' and that was it from then on. Eddie Vedder was my teen idol, but in an environment where one of my concert pastimes was "count the other black people at the venue" Cornell's voice pulled at my heartstrings because - to me - it hearkened back to rock's origin, that even at the intersection of punk, metal and folk, that there was a root, and that I hadn't wandered off, I belonged. It's a shock and a shame to know that that voice was silenced so prematurely.

posted by Selena777 at 12:09 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]

This is a little late, but:

The interview in Rolling Stone with Cameron Crowe that went to press before Cornell died includes a wonderful anecdote about the filming of Singles back in the day.

In the film, Matt Dillon's character loses his girlfriend and his band, and so goes solo. There's a scene towards the end with him busking and selling his solo cassette. Well, the first cool thing is that Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament made the solo cassette prop, complete with graphics and an utterly fictional track list. That's cool; all manner of Seattle musicians worked on or were in the film, including the then-new Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden.

Cooler than that is this: One night, Crowe had stayed home while his then-wife (Heart's Nancy Wilson) went out to hear some band or another. When she came home, she had a rando indy solo tape for him to listen to.

It was the Matt Dillon solo tape. Which, of course, was just a prop, right? Nah. In the interim, Chris Cornell had written and recorded songs to go with all the titles. Just for fun. Some of them ended up on the soundtrack, including "Seasons."
posted by uberchet at 3:07 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]

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