MAY: CHRIS COR­NELL

The world mourned one of our great­est mu­si­cal tal­ents

Metal Hammer (UK) - - CONTENTS -

On May 18, 2017, the world woke up to the news that Chris Cor­nell, one of the great­est voices of our gen­er­a­tion, was gone. Fol­low­ing a Soundgar­den show in Detroit, he had taken his own life in a ho­tel bath­room. He was 52 years old. An au­topsy re­vealed that sev­eral pre­scrip­tion drugs had been in his sys­tem, and as his widow, Vicky, ex­plained: “After so many years of so­bri­ety, this mo­ment of ter­ri­ble judge­ment seems to have com­pletely im­paired and al­tered his state of mind.” He was cre­mated, and his were ashes in­terred at the Hol­ly­wood For­ever Ceme­tery on May 26.

More than six months on, it still doesn’t seem real. Chris’s friend and long­time Ham­mer scribe Mörat puts it best: “We are told that time is the great healer, but how long is long enough? Maybe one day it’ll be OK to lis­ten to Soundgar­den or Au­dioslave again and not feel such a sense of loss, even anger, but that day has yet to come. What’s more, the feel­ing can strike at any time. There’s a mo­ment in West­world when Black Hole Sun is played on the pi­ano, and there’s that loss. There’s that part in the com­edy movie Blast From The Past when Draw­ing Flies is on the juke­box, and there’s that anger. How could they use the song in such a friv­o­lous man­ner? This, de­spite the fact that the movie came out in 1999 and the song would have raised a smile back then. There’s no real sense to it.

“Chris would have understood. When his friend An­drew Wood died from an over­dose in 1990, it was years be­fore Chris could lis­ten to Wood’s band, Mother Love Bone, again. In 1994 he told Rolling Stone that this was be­cause Wood’s lyrics of­ten felt as though they told the story of his demise. ‘Then again,’ he added all too prophet­i­cally, ‘my lyrics of­ten could tell the same one.’ Maybe he al­ways told us how, he just never told us when. Or why. The list of trib­utes to Chris is im­pres­sive: Guns N’ Roses cov­er­ing Black Hole Sun; Serj Tankian and Au­dioslave per­form­ing Like A Stone; Stone Sour, Me­gadeth and Dee Snider all of­fer­ing ver­sions of Out­shined... but there’s no need to go pok­ing those wounds. Quite how Chris’s daugh­ter Toni man­aged to sing Hal­lelu­jah on Good Morn­ing Amer­ica in trib­ute to her fa­ther – and to Ch­ester Ben­ning­ton, who took his own life two months later on Chris’s birth­day – is be­yond imag­i­na­tion. And still there are more trib­utes: Me­tal­lica, Ed­die Ved­der, Gods­mack, to name just a few.

“Mean­while, Chris’s wife, Vicky, fought back tears as she ac­cepted the LA Chefs For Hu­man Rights Hero Award on be­half of her hus­band on Septem­ber 25 at the Pro­gram For Tor­ture Sur­vivors fundraiser, where he was hon­oured for his hu­man­i­tar­ian work. She has also com­mis­sioned a me­mo­rial statue for Chris, by the artist and sculp­tor Wayne Toth, to be erected in Seat­tle. ‘He is Seat­tle’s son,’ she said, ‘and we will be bring­ing him home and hon­our­ing him.’

“Chris was so much more than just a singer; his mu­sic and lyrics touched mil­lions of lives, and even saved some, if not, alas, his own. Now there’s just shadow on the sun. I can’t tell you why. Rest in peace,

Chris. The voice of a gen­er­a­tion, an artist for all time.”

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