Chris Cornell: 1964 – 2017

This one’s difficult

UPDATE: Chris Cornell’s death has been ruled a suicide.

Growing up my dad listened to bands like Journey, Elton John, Boston, Van Halen, and the like. My mom liked Prince, Poison, Barbara Streisand and Alannah Miles. Needless to say, I was going to have to find my own music to listen to. I had some older cousins who were very into INXS and The Cure, so that was a start. And then Kurt Cobain came along and then went away. I was 14 years-old and figuring out life at West Jordan Middle School. “Superunknown” was released.

Losing Chris Cornell is difficult because unlike Prince and David Bowie and George Micheal, Chris Cornell was something I found. He wasn’t a band that was around before I was (though he was). Soundgarden belonged to me. Anyone around my age knows what I am talking about.

With @Soundgarden in Tuscaloosa

A post shared by Chris Cornell (@chriscornellofficial) on

My dad forbade us to watch MTV while he wasn’t at home, but as my parents had recently split, so I was pretty much bitter and was going to do as I pleased. So my little brother and I took it all in after school before my dad got home from work. Primus, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. We built our music tastes around that time.Seattle was covering the world in its nihilistic sound and style. Even in the dry Utah climate, the older kids sported plaid and Doc Martens and therefore, so did we.

From there I found bands like NoFX & Rancid, L7, Unwritten Law, Leonard Cohen, Rage Against the Machine, and then on to the poppier side of rock like Weezer and Blink-182. If it weren’t for bands like Soundgarden, well, I fear what my relationship with music would be.

From Soundgarden, Chris went on to front Audioslave from the remnants of Rage Against the Machine, and then Chris Cornell’s solo work – even his 2007 album “Scream” that was shunned by critics, but he was always loved by the fans because he was a genuine guy in his art and you can’t fake that. I met him once, briefly, when he was touring on the “Scream” album. The show was at the Murray Theater, which seemed a small venue for such a big name, but it was one to remember as he broke out some Soundgarden classics for the encore that no doubt took a few years out of the place as the crowd went apeshit and you could feel the floor bend under our feet.

Well, at the age of 52 Chris Cornell has passed away surprisingly, shortly after performing in Detroit of unknown causes. Needless to say, there has been an outpouring from fans and peers.

His passing, surprising to his family and friends. According to Rolling Stone:

Police received a 911 call at approximately 12 a.m. from a family friend, according to Michael Woody, Director of Media Relations for the Detroit Police Department. When the friend went to Cornell’s hotel room at the MGM Grand casino to check on him, he “made it inside the hotel room, where he found Mr. Cornell unresponsive laying on the bathroom floor,” according to Woody. EMS pronounced Cornell dead at the scene.

Detroit police are investigating the death as an apparent suicide, though Woody tells Rolling Stone that an official cause of death by the medical examiner’s office is still forthcoming. The medical examiner’s report is expected to be released Thursday afternoon.

None of that really matters to me. Chris Cornell was part of what gave me direction: a huge taste for music. Soundgarden – “My Wave”, “Outshined”, “Spoonman”, “Like a Stone”, “Show Me How to Live”, “Cochise” and more. According to the various other obituaries, Chris Cornell talked about his drug in interviews from time to time. It was rumored he started up again after Audioslave broke up in 2017. I don’t really care about that aside from I really hope that isn’t what had killed him. I hope it wasn’t a suicide – though that’s what is being investigated as the cause. I am mostly just pretty sad today.

R.I.P. Chris Cornell

If you have any feelings or have anything to say about Chris’ music or legacy, text us at 33986 so we can share them on the air today as we will be playing our favorites from his amazing career that not only shaped the music tastes of every person on the X96 staff, but X96 as a station.

To Top