I was devastated to wake up this morning and learn that one of my all-time favorite musicians, Chris Cornell, passed away last night. Music has had a profound influence on my life, just as books have. I went through all kinds of phases when I was younger, listening to all kinds of cheesy pop music and boy bands, until I eventually discovered rock music in my early teens. Classic, alternative, grunge, acoustic, 80’s hair metal…There was just something about the fast riffs, rhythmic bass, and heavy beat of the drums that spoke to me and latched onto my soul. When I was 13-14 I picked up a guitar for the first time and, for a few years, we had a lovely affair. During that time I discovered several bands that I still listen to even today. One of those bands was Audioslave. Later on, I dug deeper into Chris’ roots and discovered Soundgarden and Temple of the Dog. In my early twenties fell in love with his solo albums. The styles of each of his projects has been different, but there is one thing that has always been the same: his amazing voice, meaningful lyrics, and passion for his art. I’ve listened to Chris’ music over and over again throughout the years, finding comfort and inspiration each time. “I Am The Highway” and “Be Yourself” are always on my go-to list when I am going through difficult times. “Josephine” and “Let Your Eyes Wander” for my sappier moods. “Fell On Black Days” for my darker moods. And, of course, “Cochise” for when I want to rock the fuck out.
Around this time last year a friend and I went to see Chris Cornell play here at a small theater in Charlotte. The first song he played was “Before We Disappear” and I will never forget how choked up I got, finally hearing it live. Given the events that were happening at that time in my life, it was an appropriate song and it made me feel incredibly emotional. That was the only time I have ever cried during a concert before. It was an amazing experience and I am so grateful that I got to see Chris play at least once during my life.
It makes me so sad that there are people in this world who have impacted my life that I will never get the chance to say “thank you” to.
RIP Chris Cornell. Thank you. You and your music will not be forgotten.