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Chris Cornell, Dead of Suicide, Soundgarden Was Guiding Force in Grunge Music (Video)

Thursday, May 18, 2017 11:53
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28th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert - Day 2

Chris Cornell, the Seattle-born rock guitarist who killed himself after a Wednesday concert in Detroit, was a central figure in the 1990s grunge movement and had been one of its most enduring stars.

His death at 52 was ruled a suicide by hanging, the Wayne County, Michigan medical examiner said Thursday.

For fans, the tragedy marked a sort of a bookend to the 1994 suicide of Kurt Cobain, grunge’s king.

Cornell was the frontman for Soundgarden, which formed in 1984 and was the first of the Northwest grunge bands to break into the mainstream in the early 1990s.

Its 1991 release “Badmotorfinger” introduced the mainstream public to grunge’s punk-meets-metal formula: angst-ridden vocals, heavy guitars, long hair, flannel. Cornell started out as a drummer and played some guitar, but his soaring four-octave voice was Soundgarden’s key ingredient.

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Chris Cornell perform during the 28th annual Bridge School Benefit in 2014 in Mountain View, California. Tim Mosenfelder / Getty Images

Cornell was a magnetic force in the early 1990s Seattle rock scene, organizing a tribute for his close friend, a local singer named Andrew Wood who had died of a heroin overdose. The project, Temple of the Dog, brought together members of Wood’s band and a newcomer to Seattle, Eddie Vedder, who soon after joined Pearl Jam. Cornell sang lead vocals on Temple of the Dog’s hit “Hunger Strike.”

Because Soundgarden was at the forefront of the genre ─ the Sub Pop label was formed partially to produce the band’s earliest music ─ Cornell was seen as one of the scene’s symbols and architects, said Mark Yarm, author of “Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge.”

“Even back then, from what I gather, he was kind of larger than life,” Yarm said. “He tended to perform shirtless. He was sexy and brooding and mysterious. He was probably the guy all the women wanted and the guy all the guys wanted to be.”

In those early days, Soundgarden and members of like-minded bands lived and rehearsed in close proximity, competing and supporting one another.

”We had bands that were influenced by each other,” Cornell told The New York Times last year. “And there was kind of a rivalry between us as songwriters, but literally like five feet apart ─ through the doors to the bedrooms we could hear each other.”

While Cobain’s Nirvana blazed its own trail, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam came to define grunge and helped remake rock. Cornell had a cameo in the film “Singles,” Hollywood’s take on grunge. Soundgarden, which channeled the dark slow-grind of Black Sabbath, went on to win 1995 Grammy awards for the song “Black Hole Sun” and album Superunknown. The band broke up in 1997 but reunited more than a decade later.

Image: Chris Cornell of Soundgarden

Chris Cornell of Soundgarden in 1991. Stuart Mostyn / Redferns via Getty Images

Cornell, a married father of three, died in the middle of a Soundgarden tour. He was found unconscious in his room at the MGM Grand Casino by a family friend and was declared dead shortly afterward, Detroit police said.

Cornell had spoken in the past of suffering from depression and substance abuse, including a drinking problem that blossomed during his time with Soundgarden. He credited rehab for getting clean.

After Soundgarden’s initial breakup, Cornell formed Audioslave with members of Rage Against the Machine. He balanced that with a solo career that included the song “You Know My Name” on the soundtrack for the James Bond film “Casino Royale.”

As a solo artist, he pursued more soul- and blues-influenced music. But he never left grunge behind. He briefly rejoined his old Temple of the Dog band mates last year for a tour of sold-out theaters. This year, Cornell contributed a song to the soundtrack of “The Promise,” and he lent a few unreleased tracks to a January reisssue of the “Singles” soundtrack.

“We had our moment,” Cornell told NPR in 2012, when Soundgarden got back together for a new album and tour. “And we had it on a level that has only happened in a few places. So it’s incredible that if there were one kind of defining moment in rock music that will always be in the history books, that one of them came from Seattle. That’s something that none of us would have ever guessed.”

Source NBC and YOUTUBE

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Total 5 comments
  • UniqueArchetype


  • Anonymous

    Firstly, I never quit liking the music or the scene. It’s not my intention to be negative, at a most-inappropriate time.

    “He was probably the guy all the women wanted and the guy all the guys wanted to be.”

    When you try to copy his sound, just recording your voice, and comparing notes, etc, you realize that he was physically-small and high-pitched. It’s not a crime, but I want to be my own person.

    All of my friends are not ‘brown and red.’ I will not worship in a temple to a dog or go on a hunger strike.

    Vetter writing abortionist slogans on himself, on that bar chair, and the guy losing his religion, Cobain’s feminism, are discouraging. Dark themes and reverb would not have been problematic, for me.

    I feel they were communicating a value system, foreign to my own, and I just liked the songs. It created a sense of dissonance, for me.

    “But he never left grunge behind.”

    Yes, when you cut your hair. Some fusion would have been fine, but many of these groups went totally glam and wrote musak and exploratory kind-of sound effects for 16 minute tracts. The hip hop / basket ball type stuff and ska were insultingly irrelevant to the genre. Noone in their right mind was going to spend good money on that, not that Cornell was the main culprit.


    I saw Chris Cornell died today (making six 00 after Fox News Fat Man and POWERS BOOTHE!!!

    Said I to myself: Pritchett will cover this news!!!

    And so he has.


  • N. Morgan


  • Redlist Renegade

    Chris was a good guy . I remember him well . I was a part of the founding of the early Seattle scene back in the mid 1980′s and I knew most of the people in the scene well . For those of us that knew him and the others that are gone now that were a major part of that scene (like Layne Staley and Mike Starr of Alice In Chains and Kurt Cobain) he will be forever fondly remembered and missed ! Rest in peace Chris , I hope that I see all of you guys again in the afterlife in the Great Gig In The Sky !!!

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