Chris Cornell My Vinyl Revolution

Chris Cornell’s Rusty Cage

So the news of Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave, broke on Thursday – and I am broken. His rusty cage has broken and here is a heartfelt tribute to a great artist.

The sadness that I feel is not just because one of my rock gods has died, leaving me with only memories of my hazy twenties in mosh pits, soundtracked by Soundgarden.

It is not because I really wanted to see Audioslave before they came out on stage with zimmer frames (because yes, they would/will be playing forever).

It is because I would dearly love to read information about him that I don’t already know – information on why he did what he did, but it is not freely available on the internet. That would be information privy to only himself, that not even his family know, and why he made the decision to leave, what seemed to be on the outside anyway, such a charmed life.

Chris Cornell’s Musical Life

Most blogs are focussing on highlights of Chris’ musical career – good. He wrote and sang incredible tracks for Soundgarden and Audioslave, the two big hitters of his lifelong career. You know them, they were mind-blowing.

Temple of the Dog, another side project inbetween the two titans above, and his solo career, are the musical pauses that I consider to be of interest for fans and non-fans alike. Here are a few nods to his work:

Chris Cornell – “Can’t Change Me” (from Euphoria Morning, 1999)

“Can’t Change Me” is from Chris’ solo album Euphoria Morning. This psych-pop track is a tantalising look into a musical direction Soundgarden could have gone in if they had’ve reformed and worked together at this time.

And here is the french version of this song – the best ever!

Chris Cornell – “Seasons” (from Singles Soundtrack, 1992)

This gorgeous fan fave sits in the pantheon of ethereal, acoustic, mystical folk greats linked to the Led Zeppelin family. So not Soundgarden, but an excellent and seldom shown side of Chris’ repertoire.

Temple Of The Dog – “Times Of Trouble” (from Temple Of The Dog, 1991)

This represents the early 90s for me – the alt-nation ideal that was being explored in many creative cultures of the time is strong in this track. But it is a power ballad and about love, even if grungy and hard in the aesthetic style that Chris and Soundgarden were the pioneers of.

Soundgarden – Rusty Cage (from Badmotorfinger, 1992)

This song is terrifying in its’ directness, its’ need to explode – whether in terms of energy, an actual rusty cage, the truck or the shed in the song. Perfect for hormone-driven teens (which I was at the time it was released) to writhe and jump around in mosh pits and concerts, all dressed like Chris Cornell in long shorts, boots and shirtless.

Suicide or OD?

Apparently Chris did not take his own life, according to his widow Vicki Karayiannis:
“Chris, a recovering addict, had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages. The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing, and that drugs or other substances may have affected his actions.”[1]
But even if he did, it is done now and will no doubt influence many others as his music has done. I really just wish that his prescription was monitored, and his rock star ways were not allowed to end in his death, if they contributed to it.
Thankyou Chris. You really have soundtracked many moments in my life and for that I am very grateful to you. Your talent and obvious good looks were a staple on my life until now, and I never really made the effort to find out who you really were behind your music. I hope you will be happy wherever you go and will remember you fondly, along with the other dearly departed singers of this past year.
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