19 May 2017

CHRIS CORNELL/WHY HIS DEATH HAS SIGNIFICANCE TO ME


I don’t do obit type blog posts, or R.I.P posts. I do not like to read them for the most part either. But last night I heard that Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell had died suddenly, and then this morning further found out he had committed suicide by hanging himself. And is all rather depressing and causes me to reflect on a few things, and how his death has some personal meaning and significance for me. I would first say that did not idolize the guy or the band and did not even like a lot of the stuff of theirs I heard. I did always like Cornell’s awesome voice however even if I did not like the particular song. But I did have a sort of admiration for the band and in fact would call Soundgarden the last band I ever liked. I just stopped following bands after them and do not even know if I can name a band that came after them that I have listened to.

I moved to Seattle from San Antonio Texas in autumn of 1993. I was never a fan of the so-called grunge scene as a whole but liked a few of the bands that came out of all of that at that time. Kurt Cobain killed himself in winter of 1994 if I remember right and I recall seeing the newspaper headline in a newspaper machine downtown. Ever a big fan of him or Nirvana I was still sort of stunned by the suddenness of the news. Soundgarden was already known around the area and they started to hit it big about 1995 or so and they sort of got lumped into the whole grunge thing simply because they were from Seattle more than because of the way they sounded, in my opinion, since they sounded a bit different to me. They sounded bigger and their sounded harkened back to the 70’s in many ways. Only better in some aspects. Cornell’s husky, manly voice and brooding voice was the centerpiece of it all. And on top of it he had those intense rock god looks that were, and still are, in sort supply. No doubt I liked most of their stuff and the band was not so much younger than me that I could not listen to them without feeling like I was listening to, well, kids. I think it is natural to reach a place in life were rock music starts to lose it place in your routine (I am more prone to listen to Eno, Philip Glass or old 50’s rock-n-roll and obscure garage rock bands these days) and also to start to listen less and less to people who are significantly younger than you are. All the rock gods I grew up with are dead or nearing 80 now. I just can’t stand even looking at new rock band pictures they are all so handsome and slick. Chris Cornell was the last “rock star” I liked.

There is also the backstory of my life of leaving Texas and the beginning of my estrangement from my family, and after ten years of struggle in Seattle I packed up and left the US and came here to China, where the struggle has continued but I have adjusted to it. If there was one band I had to pick that I had some degree of interest in following during that time it was Soundgarden, though I would hardly call myself a fan. In fact with liking Soundgarden came a period were I no longer wanted to be a fan of a rock band and I definitely stopped foolishly worshipping and praising Led Zeppelin, a band Soundgarden is often compared to. While I still like rock music of course and I play rock and roll on my guitar, in many ways Soundgarden marks the end of the line for me.

And on another note Cornell’s death marks the first loss of a celebrity I really liked since I quit Facebook and deleted my accounts, back in like December or so. While I do use Messenger and have about 18 people I actually know on it I do not have a Facebook account for any other purpose. I never check the newsfeed and I use a Google Chrome app/extension to kill that so that it never shows. It means, thank God, I will have not have to see all those vapid Facebook eulogies and tributes and “we lost another one” posts. I will follow some of the news over the mainstream outlets and then let it go. Of course I was moved enough to come here and write this. But I think a real blog post is a more fitting remembrance to someone I liked and followed than a Facebook post, sent from my iPhone, of a few hasty lines and a link to a Youtube video, sandwiched in between a Black Lives Matters retread post and another about rabid liberals wanting to impeach President Trump. Just like pretty boy rock bands Facebook is something I cannot connect with. And I imagined I could connect with Chris Cornell and his songs, and he was the last rock star I can say that about. And why would I do pearls before swine and share all of that on stupid ass Facebook. I am saddened by the whole deal at a time when death becomes something I fear and think about. As you get older there are suddenly less and less of the things you once know of in the world and fewer of the people you knew, and the ones who are left are all old and growing fragile. I always thought he was above all that self-centered, poor little misunderstood Seattle rock star crap, but I guess I was wrong. He abandoned three wonderful looking kids who obviously loved him and admired him. Their lives are permanently scarred. It is really a sad thing and while I wrote a lot I said nothing. And with that I guess there is nothing more to say.



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