Wednesday, May 24, 2017


By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for chris cornell     It's been a week, but it still doesn't seem real to me.

     Grunge pioneer Chris Cornell, dead at the age of 52. And the way he died still hasn't fully clicked for me either.

     Cornell passed away early in the morning May 19 after, according to police reports, he hung himself in his hotel room just hours after playing a show at Detroit's Fox Theatre.

     It shouldn't have to be explained, but Cornell was the lead singer and creative force for some of the great rock bands in the Grunge era and in modern rock as a whole.

*Audioslave (A supergroup with members of Rage Against the Machine)
*Temple Of The Dog (A group with members of Mother Love Bone to honor former Mother Love Bone lead singer Andy Wood, who died from a drug overdose in 1990)
*Four solo albums that, despite ranging in quality, showcased his versatility as an artist. (2007's 'Carry On' featured a well-received cover of Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' while 2009's 'Scream' and 2015's 'The Higher Truth' displayed Cornell going off in directions of R&B-based pop and acoustic music, respectively.)

     There's no doubt we've lost a number of musical legends over the past few years... David Bowie, Prince and Glenn Frey are the first that come to mind. But Cornell's death, and the fact he committed suicide, ended up hitting closer to home for me.

     Chris Cornell wrote songs such as 'Black Hole Sun', 'Outshined', 'Spoonman', 'Like A Stone', 'Fell On Black Days', 'Be Yourself', 'I Am The Highway', and countless others that featured lyrics showing the internal struggles of a man trying to find the light in the midst of a darkness that surrounded, and at times would engulf him.

     As I delved into his musical discography growing up, Cornell's music always felt like it was a little more sophisticated, a little deeper and yes a little darker when compared to some of his contemporaries in Seattle-based bands like Nirvana or Pearl Jam. His music could range from hard rock to psychedelia to even country inspired sounds that weren't always typical in the genres which he performed. Cornell's four octave range, which stands as one of the greatest voices in the history of rock music, could easily shift between loud bombast and delicate introspection.

     Cornell had demons throughout his life as depression and addictions to alcohol, Oxycontin, and other drugs hung a cloud over an individual who was still able to use that cloud to create a ferocious storm of artistic expression.
     And even though it appeared in the mid 2000s that he got sober and was able to live a clean life... the demons in his head never went away and ended up taking him far too soon.

     I'm 24. I didn't grow up in the early nineties where grunge was the most popular genre of music in mainstream culture and where the genre would get regularly played on MTV and the radio.
     But it was the first genre that connected to me as I really started listening to music in high school. The angst of those times gave me a place where I could both channel my angst and also find solace from, at times, the cruel world of everyday life.

    Chris Cornell's music didn't just give me a place to vent my anger, it gave me a place to explore my fears and my insecurities. His lyrics, as stated earlier,  helped me and I bet millions of others throughout the world find that light through the vast shroud of darkness both in reality and in our psyches.
     Sure, finding that destination isn't easy and it's something we end up dealing with for the rest of our lives, but he showed us that it can exist.
     Even if it's just flickering, it's worth finding and embracing.

     Whatever caused Chris Cornell to take his life is a question we should have for anybody suffering from depression and experiencing suicidal thoughts. We can't put blame on him for making that choice, even if it might've been drug-induced, because only he knew what was going on in his mind.
If there is any silver lining in this shocking scenario, hopefully it's that we do a better job of listening to each other and looking out for one another as we battle our own personal demons on a daily basis.

     Thoughts and prayers with the Cornell family at this time as they go through this terrible ordeal.

Image result for chris cornell 2017     Chris, thank you for the music and the memories that you've given me and countless others throughout the world. We are lucky that you were able to share your incredible voice, songwriting and philanthropy with us.
     Despite this being the outcome that no one wanted, I hope you can find peace somewhere out in another universe.

RIP Chris Cornell (1964-2017)