I'm having a rough day. As you may have heard, Chris Cornell died unexpectedly this past week after a Soundgarden show in Detroit. As the lead singer for Soundgarden, Audioslave, and many solo and side projects (Temple of the Dog first among them), his unique voice has essentially provided an ongoing soundtrack to my life.
As you may gather from my avatar, I'm a huge fan of all things Seattle Grunge. I'm a few years older than most of you, which means I started to get into music and buy my first albums in the early 90's as Seattle was stomping its way into the national music consciousness on the backs of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and of course Soundgarden. For a kid growing up in the suburbs on the Eastside, it was like learning a first language--my first understanding of music as an art form to evoke emotion was listening to those tapes (yes, tapes).
Chris Cornell was connected to all of it. Pearl Jam formed from the surviving members of Mother Love Bone after their lead singer Andy Wood--Cornell's roommate--died of a heroin overdose. Susan Silver, Alice in Chains' manager, was Cornell's wife. Kurt Cobain developed his sound from driving from Aberdeen to Seattle to go to clubs where Soundgarden was turning punk and metal into something new. He is easily one of the faces that goes on the Mt. Rushmore of Seattle Grunge.
And now he's gone, and it's hard to ignore the feeling of a closing door on a chapter of my own life.
Any stories of life-changing concerts, or fandom of regional music scenes, or of the impact a certain artist has had on you--thanks for sharing. Sometimes we all fall on black days.