“[…] Don’t you lock up something that you wanted to see fly. / Hands are for shaking, no not tying.” – Fell On Black Days, Soundgarden. Superunknown.
Chris Cornells’ journey through the music industry left an impression that helped to define a genre and keep rock relevant. Either in bands or alone Chris’ personality and voice made an impact not just on the industry but in the many lives that were lulled into a reverie or excited by his high-range vocals. From Temple of the Dog to Audioslave, Soundgarden and his solo albums, Chris was unique. An individual who was not only skilled but talented and determined. Chris and the bands he was a part of were an inspiration to generations of disaffected youth and the news of his death was dire.
Breaking the hearts of many an official press statement later revealed that the cause of his death was suicide by hanging. An act that took place shortly after he played with Soundgarden at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. The band that made him not just a rock icon but a role model for grunge kids who admired his austere but authentic presentation. Putting personal politics aside; Chris made a choice to deliver himself out of this mad world while echoing the power that his self-determination to succeed afforded him.
We learned about Chris through his music, we shared and identified with his ideas, and his songs have their own time for us on a personal level. Yet it’s impossible to know what finalized his decision to die young. From the perspective of his fans Chris Cornell was a gift to music, a muse with the voice of reason, and we will remember Chris not just for his voice but for the kick-ass songs that made our parties hard, our club nights hit and our skins a comfortable place to live. Even if just for a moment.