Hearing about the tragic death of Chris Cornell yesterday floored me. I am not normally intensely affected by the death of someone famous, but this feels different. Not since Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994 did something rock my world. 1994, the same year I discovered Superunknown and played the ‘tape’ incessantly in my tiny box room of the share house, my very first experience of moving out of home at age 20 and loneliness.
Breaking the news yesterday was an SMS from my partner. Chris Cornell is dead and a sad face emoticon. Stark and senseless. I quickly googled his name and his frickin Wiki page had an end date to his life May 17 2017! A long blink. What else, what did this mean? The search engine pumped out the same news release from his rep “sudden and unexpected” sudden and unexpected.
Processing, processing I’ll call my sister. No answer. I’ll call my Mum. ‘How are you?” “Not good Mum, I just found out that someone famous I like (love) has just died.”
“Anyone I know?’ she asks
“Chris Cornell Meg, do you know Chris Cornell?” My mum calls out to my sister who is laying on the lounge. Phone hastily passed over.
“I don’t know” I say “I am in shock, still processing it, I just found out two minutes ago. Hasn’t even broken Facebook yet!” Every death these days is broken by Facebook. ‘I’ve got to go that’s all I called up about.”
“Let me know if you hear anything.”
[Fake news? Fake celebrity deaths]
A couple of hours of songs, footage from the last ever gig a man looking a bit depleted. You wouldn’t know if you hadn’t have seen his energy when I saw him 2 years back. He wasn’t bouncing around screaming like the old Soundgarden days, it was an acoustic gig. He was alive, present, positive and just emitted a strong healthy energy. Something was wrong I messaged my sister, the song at the last gig in Detroit at 2.09 min he does some weird autistic thing to the front of his head?? Headache? Stroke? It’s strange.
Posting up the obligatory memorandum on Facebook, “Black hole Sun’ the song I paused so many time on VHS that it caught a white line down the tape. I tried to capture that second where he lifts his eyebrows.
“Fell on Black days” the anthem of my life I fall back upon. I’ve woken up with it in my head a lot this year. My hippy subconscious trying to tell me something.
After seeing him in Perth 2 years back I had googled his life again. There was scant bio on such a man. A smattering of interviews. A few lines about him cleaning up his life and enjoying being sober, finding out what matters etc. How, why, he is awesome, he is amazing, why hasn’t someone written up his biography? What if I write it? He is so private. He looks amazing. Fit, healthy, talented, in love, stylish, calm, present.
I went to bed. No more news online. I googled the time in America. Sent a text to my sister, “Fuck America is only just waking up! Guess I am going to be checking though the night.”
1019pm a text from my sister, Rolling Stone, “Police are investigating as a possible suicide.”
NO NO NO NO NO who fucking tops themselves after a show. It must be a mistake.
My sister had said, at least with Kurt we all knew why.
430am wake up. Tap the laptop next to my bed. Hanging!!! NOoooooo! That’s pretty fucking conclusive.
Feel sick. Nauseated.
Not awake but not asleep.
“So kill your health and kill yourself
And kill everything you love
And if you live you can fall to pieces
And suffer with my ghost”
…going round and round my drowsy head.
Have to play the clip to ease it. ‘Burden in my hand’
‘Pretty Noose’ Fuck fuck
‘The Day I tried to live’
Fuck was his whole work a suicide note.
Just before the ‘alleged’ cause broke. I sent my sister a text, “his last Facebook post, said ‘I am the shape of the hole inside your heart.'”
‘Nice last words’ she said. I had an inkling.
Reflecting on his presence in my life on his impact.
Age 20 I put a Spoonman poster on the wall of the lounge room at my parents house.
Age 21, my flatmates busy boyfriend had a voucher for Brashs and said I could go and buy some CD’s for him, I purchased ‘Bad Motor Finger’ and ‘Superunknown’ I don’t know if he was very impressed, he liked ‘The Offspring’!
1997 saw the second last gig of Soundgarden before they broke up. Horden Pavilion age 23 went with my younger sister. Arrogantly didn’t take any ID into the gig, couldn’t get an arm band so asked my sis to buy me a beer. Walking through gig got stopped by security and beer taken off me, tried to convince security knob that the one with ID was in fact my younger sister. He didn’t believe us. Told I could get a pass out to get my ID from the car. Told I couldn’t get a pass out for 15 minutes. Fingers wrapped around the wire fence shaking it, planet of the apes style.. [I’m gonna break this rusty cage and run]. Sufficiently proved I was 5 years older than the designated Australian legal drinking age. Security apologised profusely and brought my sister and I two sorry beers and gave me back my warm can. Sister cranky walked away leaving me with 3 beers and the Fauves and You am I. Sad on my own at a gig. Sound garden.. second song, Chris Cornell rips off his shirt, turn around and my sister is there and we share a knowing look. Woooo!!! We scream!
Perth concert Hall December 2015… in awe. ‘That was the best concert ever’ ‘His voice was amazing’ ‘I am so seeing him next time he comes.’
I think trawling the fan pages and some ignorant fucks comments the most shocking thing was how. One woman wrote, ‘he was rich, famous, talented, had a loving family.’ He seemed the picture of middle aged serenity. He seemed to have found a peace. I feel terribly for his fate and his family. I can’t imagine what pushed him over the edge. I guess for all of our idolisation he is a real person, with suffering and loneliness and pain. I hope that peace can be found and I urge everyone to reach out for real to try from both sides. Thank you for sharing your talent and art, your music and words will be around forever. A man loved and honoured and respected. peace.