Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Voice Of Legend

Every morning, Monday through Friday, I get up at 4:30. I take a shower, fix my breakfast, and turn on the morning news, mostly for the traffic report to get an idea of how bad my drive is going to be. Then, while I'm eating breakfast and mostly ignoring the news, I fire up Facebook to see what I might have missed while I slept. This morning, the very first thing social media had to show me was a friend's post lamenting the death of Chris Cornell. Time stopped. As impossible as it was - this friend would never do such a thing - my first thought was that it must be some sort of prank. Chris Cornell was too young, too vital, too very much alive. But it wasn't a prank, and he wasn't alive. We had lost one of the greatest voices of modern rock during the night.

As the day went on, the news would get worse. Word went out that the coroner had ruled suicide. My first reaction was, "No way," but that had been my reaction to the initial death announcement as well, and it was no more accurate this time. I told my friend that I didn't want to believe it, I hoped it wasn't true, but that I also wouldn't be entirely surprised. Cornell had his demons. The magnificent art he created? That art comes from demons. Sometimes people forget what beautiful art demons can create, but some of us remember. Some of us see the signs, even when we hope we are wrong.

I'm a child of the 80's, with a touch of 70's thrown in for spice. Musically, I found the 90's to be pretty bring by comparison, but not Soundgarden, not Chris Cornell. While it seemed that so many others were rushing to the middle, competing for mediocrity, that beautifully haunting four-octave voice was reaching for Heaven. That guitar was screaming like so many others had forgotten how, and his lyrics were the kind of evocative that voice required. Cornell once said, "I'm not a lyric writer to make statements. What I enjoy doing is making paintings with lyrics, creating colorful images." Paintings with lyrics, creating colorful images. He certainly did that, and he will be missed.

I have said before, and it bears repeating, sometimes those who say the most need the most. We can't always know the weight that people are carrying, but they often do try to show us, in many small and immeasurable ways. Sometimes it's just too much, but I hope that we stand ready to help when we can. My heart breaks for Chris Cornell, and for his family, but he has inspired millions, and his legacy will inspire many millions more. Love and peace to those who are hurting, and please know that you are not alone.


If you need help right now, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun

Soundgarden - Outshined

Soundgarden - The Day I Tried to Live

Audioslave - Show Me how to Live

Audioslave - Like a Stone

Chris Cornell - Imagine (live 2015)

Chris Cornell - Redemption Song (live)

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