RIP Chris Cornell

Let’s give the webcomic promotion a rest for a moment. I need to address some serious news.

Talk about being taken aback. I never would have seen this coming. I mean, when I was growing up, I wasn’t shocked when I heard about Kurt Cobain’s death. It was well-known that he struggled with heroin addiction. Plus in interviews, you could tell the guy didn’t think much of himself. While it was sad, it was not really a surprise.

But this? I am sure Cornell partied with the best of them, but for him to be gone…I just can’t wrap my head around it. Then again, these statements are based on the assumption that his death was related to some sort of substance abuse. That isn’t known as of this writing.

I remember in 1991 when “grunge” music really took off. Nirvana hit it big, followed soon after by Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and of course Soundgarden. At the time, I was into all kinds of “alternative” rock bands, and I had an indie chip on my shoulder. I was like, “Screw those guys…freakin’ sellouts!”

At least, that is the image I projected to my mainstream-hating friends. Inwardly, I liked three of those four bands. (The only one that never won me over completely was Alice in Chains. I liked their second album, but that’s about it.)

I was especially fond of Soundgarden. Not only did they have complex songs and odd time signatures, but they also had the powerhouse voice of Chris Cornell.

Chris Cornell had an amazing vocal range, intelligent lyrics, great songwriting ability, and on top of all that, the man was unrealistically handsome. I used to hate that! How can one person be the recipient of the whole package like that? Ugh!

In college I bought a couple Soundgarden albums (BADMOTORFINGER and SUPERUNKNOWN). At that time I was undergoing a bizarre “crisis of faith” when it came to music. I listened to depressing or angry music all the time, and I just wanted a change of pace, so I sold those albums to a friend. Years later, I would buy them again for good.

My purpose in writing this is really to address just one memory. About a month ago, I was riding the shuttle to my job. For some reason it struck me to listen to Chris Cornell’s song “Sunshower.” I decided to watch a video on YouTube that included the lyrics. One thing to keep in mind is that I’d just had a depressing conversation with someone about certain patterns of behavior that I exhibit, and have for a while. I was scared that I would never be able to break those patterns…never be able to treat people better…never be able to have a healthy relationship.

And then I played this song. And the words started scrolling by. And I thought to myself,  “This song came out in 1997, and it’s like I’m hearing it for the first motherfuckin’ time!” In the name of 100% honesty, I will admit that the song literally moved me to tears, especially with these lines:

When you’re all in pain
And you feel the rain come down
Oh, it’s alright
When you find your way
Then you see it disappear
Oh, it’s alright

Though your garden’s gray
I know all your graces
Someday will flower
In the sweet sunshower

It spoke to me in a way that I never knew it could. It said to me there was hope, that I had not maxed out my full potential, that I could grow and change…and flower.

Thanks for the hope, Chris.



6 thoughts on “RIP Chris Cornell

  1. This was a tragedy.
    Hie will be missed. It is sad that we hear accolades about people after they are gone. Many other musicians have come out saying what a great performer he was. It would be such a better world, if we could give them while the people are still with us.


    • I think Chris was one of those rare musicians who DID hear praise while he was alive. Unfortunately, when you have the kind of hole inside you that people like him (and Cobain, and Staley) have, no amount of external praise will ever fill it.


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