Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Have No Disguise You Can See Through: The Loss of Chris Cornell

I never wanted
To write these words down for you
With the pages of phrases
Of things we´ll never do
So I blow out the candle, and
I put you to bed
Since you can´t say to me
Now how the dogs broke your bone
There´s just one thing left to be said
Say hello to heaven
It was his multi-octave voice that hit you first. Whether it was with Soundgarden, Audioslave, or Temple of the Dog, Chris' unmistakable voice enticed you. He could dance softly with it or he could pound the chords over your head and you would enjoy every minute. He was a mystery, those eyes, mesmerizing, looking at you, beyond you, to things unseen.
But the early days of grunge in Seattle and the 90's left Chris scarred. It wasn't just the drugs, alcohol, but slowly and maybe, it was depression. In 1990, Chris lost his roommate and dear friend, Mother Love Bone front man, Andrew Wood. Andrew's loss prompted Chris to start Temple of the Dog, inspired by a line in one of Andrew's songs. But Andrew's loss didn't seem to ever leave Chris. Similarly with the loss of Jeff Buckley, Chris seemed to live in the past with the loss.  

And people ask what was so special about Chris? Chris helped to usher in grunge - and was actually from Seattle. It wasn't like he jumped on the Seattle grunge band wagon, he formed Soundgarden in 1984, while hair metal and pop succeeded disco and punk. Six years and several band changes later, Badmotorfinger propelled Soundgarden to the charts and onto MTV. The 90's gave us the Singles song Seasons, Temple of the Dog, and his contribution to Alice's in Chain's Sap, Right Turn.

Chris was versatile, himself saying he could play Sydney Opera House one night and Voodoo Fest the next. While he gave us some heavy songs, we also got songs like Ave Maria or his cover of Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U.

Chris and his wife started The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation  that"develops projects and programs with leading charitable organizations and partners to raise awareness and mobilize support for children facing tough challenges including homelessness, poverty, abuse and/or neglect." He looked out for others and spoke for those who didn't have a voice, including helping refugees.

It's hard not to play into the guessing game. Was he sick? Depressed? Back on drugs? How long had he planned That maybe the tease of In My Time of Dying was Chris saying goodbye. Many of us worship our musical gods and goddesses. These last few years have taught us that we need to get busy living - go and see your favorite artist. Dance with your partner. Take five minutes and be late for work to finish your favorite song. Just enjoy life. And also be a listening ear for anyone who may need help. 

 In my time of dying, I want nobody to mourn
All I want for you to do is take my body home.

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