It’s a year on since the untimely death of Chris Cornell. His passing hit me immensely as it did many fans. His music, his lyrics, his riffs, his presence was astounding and boy, does this still hurt. His music gave me comfort when growing up in this world, giving me a connection and realisation I’m not alone. The 18th May is the date Chris Cornell left us and on that day 2018, I attended a memorial of a pal who left this mortal earth way too soon.
Music is a comforter, so connecting with his records is needed. Audioslave’s first album proves how Chris Cornell’s vocals were/are extraordinary. You can hear his diverse style which literally blows me away, and I’m emotionally stunted. Many peers called him ‘The Voice’ while others tried to emulate his skills; they couldn’t but they tried. “Shadow of the Sun” is on my playlist constantly from Audioslave’s debut record and bleeds emotion.
What have we learnt since his passing? Basically, help is still a hard word when the mind isn’t a friend. Mental health is like physical health – both need feeding. It’s hard to ask for help or tell people how you really are when you have no idea yourself. When trapped in addiction it feels there is no other way to go. He felt the loss when his former flatmate Andy Wood of Mother Love Bone was also taken too early.
While in recovery from addiction quite often other problems arise, other mental health issues, and reality hits leading to people isolating or gravitating to self-hatred. Working through this helps and is achievable. When Chris Cornell belts out lyrics he’s connecting with those people who feel they’re alone. Mad Season’s “River of Deceit” hits those issues head-on. During the anniversary of Mad Season, Cornell performed this song with the remaining members.
Searching live performances of Soundgarden, Seattle Symphony/Mad Season, Audioslave, Temple of The Dog to his solo gigs it’s astounding how this musician came from an era where word of mouth was the way to spread the news. Playing small clubs to large arenas, all because people spoke of him and his brothers, allowing people like me to hear Louder than Love and Superunknown and begin my journey with the band. His creations affected me from the moment I heard his voice. His legacy lives on every time one of his tunes is played loud from “Black Hole Sun”, “Slaves and Bulldozers”, “Wooden Jesus” “I am the Highway” to his “Billie Jean” cover along with more powerful performances.
His brethren from Audioslave pay tribute to this star at Prophets of Rage gigs by performing the “Like A Stone” instrumental, asking the crowd to sing the words or say a prayer for peace. His presence is there, feeling his cool charisma on stage.
Let us celebrate the life of an icon, get those CDs, cassettes, and vinyl out, play his music loud, listen to music which stands the test of time. Chris Cornell is the Bill Hicks of my musical generation.