Yesterday was hard for me (and so many friends as evidence by Facebook) because Chris Cornell was the first artist that had been with me for 25 years.
I remember seeing the video for ‘Hunger Strike’ for the first time. I was 16, watching TV in my bedroom with Josh Keller and Sean Daley. Our cable had been spliced so many times that my reception was snowy. But I do remember one of us saying ‘Isn’t that the singer from Soundgarden?’ and then ‘Wow, that’s Eddie!’.
The Seattle sound hit Vermont that Summer of 92. Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Nirvana and we were all hooked. Badmotorfinger was the sleeper of the four bands.
I also remember buying the ‘Singles’ soundtrack on opening day with Sean on June 30, 1992. By then, both he and I were craving something new from Pearl Jam, and ‘Breathe’ and ‘State of Love and Trust’ didn’t disappoint. But somehow, Chris’s ‘Seasons’ always stood out. At one point ‘Full Moon Blanket’ was even thrown around for a band name for Josh, Sean and Phil Joseph‘s latest project.
August 4th 1992 found Sean and I going to see Lollapalooza to see undoubtedly the biggest band in the world, at least in our eyes, Pearl Jam, play Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Soundgarden performed that day, along with the likes of Ice Cube and Red Hot Chili Peppers. I remember the pouring rain during Pearl Jam’s set and I remember triple cheeseburgers in Dream Team cups after the show.
I remember tweeting at Chris shortly after joining Twitter in August of 2009. I didn’t know what I was doing, and he didn’t respond, but his music had just spoken to me, again, and I let him know.
Chris’ music and that incredible voice was always there for the last 25 years. I got to see him twice more. November 29, 2011, a solo acoustic performance at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts with Tater and friends. It was quiet, haunting, emotional. Everything I wanted.
And then I got to see Chris one last time. for the last time unfortunately, in a complete circle, when I saw Temple Of The Dog at the Tower Theater in PA on November 5, 2016. It was everything I wanted it to be and then some.
I had hopes of seeing him again. Hearing whatever it was he decided to create next. It didn’t matter what he touched. His wail was unmistakable and his way with words was as well.
I woke up yesterday at 6:30 to the next from my buddy Kurt, who I attended Temple of the Dog with and he said “I am really glad that we went to Temple of the Dog together…since I just heard Chris Cornell died” and I would say was “Waaaaaaa?” and my day was a daze from there.
Music is an escape and we all cope in different ways. Many, many of us, put on Chris’ music yesterday and shed a tear. I was one of them. “Say Hello 2 Heaven”, Chris.