Chris Cornell Is Dead

Chris Cornell, legendary guitarist from the band Soundgarden, etc. is dead. He died on May 17, three weeks ago, but I just heard about it today. Apparently out of the grunge scene in Seattle in the 1990’s. I do not know much about this band, having stopped following rock and roll sometime in the 1980’s, but apparently he and his band were huge in that scene. The Space Needle in Seattle went dark between 9 and 10 PM after his death. Death was suicide by hanging. Apparently he had been depressed and had suffered from depression and drug abuse in the past, although he was clean at the time other than some prescription benzos, which he did not take enough of to kill him. He was 52 years old. Chris Cornell presente!

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34 thoughts on “Chris Cornell Is Dead”

  1. I came of age with Soundgarden and Grunge at the age 18 in 1992. That was the year of that Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam all took over the popular culture under the masthead of Nirvana.
    The grunge era did not last very long. It was fueled by the early 90’s Recession of the Bush presidency and a reaction to the Reagan Revolution. Musically it was a mockery of glam bands like Poison.
    By 1996 the depression and f*ck it slacker cynicism was passe in the go-go economy of the 90’s boom years. A few of the outliers hung around like Marilyn Manson or Smashing Pumpkins but the real hardcore grunge icons lost their popularity fast. Some aspects of grunge hung around for a few years like the heavy bass but the actually scene itself was like the Bee Gees in 1983 when New Wave arrived.
    The bands of the mid-late-90’s were chirpy and irreverent one-hit wonders (OMC How Bizarre) or boy band pretty boys (Backstreet Boys) or soloists (Celine Dion).
    To my mind Cornell simply embodies what grunge was. Nihilistic, cynical with no way out but suicide. He sort represented a retro act for Kurt Cobain.

    1. Unfortunately many really creative people are so creative and good and driven and need an outlet from the mental torture they endure when they are not creating or performing. Vicious cycle. He will be missed. Hopefully he is now at peace.

      1. JASON
        Stacy Katt did look like Cornell didn’t he?
        Had Clint survived drunk driving, meth and VD to see it past 40 he might have ended up like Cornell without the great fortune.
        The Freeway killer is back.
        You missed my cynicism, admit it. And I missed the world-weariness of the Mid-South’s last intelligent liberal man.

  2. Kim2
    Cornell was just out-of-synch after 1995 with the social-political-psychological mood of the Go-Go 1990’s. Grunge was too nihilistic, too dark, too depressing to be popular very long.
    And to be honest the godfathers of grunge basically represented the era by committing suicide.
    Anyhow, it was a grim time, the early 1990’s at the tail-end of the Reagan Revolution during the Bush Sn. presidency. Especially for somebody graduating high school. Rodney King and the subsequent LA riots had taken place. Crack cocaine had ravaged the cities. Gang violence was higher than it is now. The three-strikes law was coming into legislature because crime was so high. OJ had gone on trial and race-relations were a public spectacle. Clinton had not yet pulled the economy out of the early 90’s slump. The former Soviet Union was in a state of anarchy and nobody knew who would lay hands on the nuclear weapons.
    That period from 1992-1995 was quite grim and dismal.

    1. No way was it as big as Cobain’suicide? Forget it. If it was, I would have heard about it. I only found it by stumbling onto a site that is heavily about the grunge scene. I am just not into the modern music scene at all, sorry.

      1. An artist had to die young to be immortalized and the “magic 27” of the “3 J’s” (Janis, Jimmie and Jim) was probably one factor (Cobain was 27).
        If Cobain had not died, grunge would have faded fast anyhow.
        Being born in 1974 I would say Grunge was gone by the Fall of 1995 (My junior year) when FRIENDS arrived on television. Cobain’s popularity was essentially a reaction to the Reagan Revolution and the late Bush-era recession.

        1. @Jason What’s interesting to me is that Pearl Jam is still going strong. They may not make chart topping albums anymore, but they still have a dedicated and loyal following. They’d somehow still managed to carve out a niche for themselves decades after the peak of their popularity. I often wonder if the same would’ve happened to Nirvana.

      2. Well nothing tops Cobain because he died at the peak of his popularity. But Chris Cornell is still huge. Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice and Chains and Pearl Jam were the “big 4” of the grunge scene. Eddie Vedder is now the only one front man left.

  3. TULIO
    People under 30 do not know who Kurt Cobain was. Grunge, it has to be said, was very much a white middle-class phenomenon (I’m assuming you were a teenager in the 1990’s).
    Mexicans at the time had Cypress Hill etc. Blacks were in the middle of the gangsta rap era of NWA.
    No black, I am sure, remembers when Curt Cobain died.
    An interesting thing…R&B took over the airwaves. White music genres that once dominated the entire white population could not get airplay now. Ultimately everybody wants to be black.
    Remember for example Offspring’s “Pretty Fly for a White Guy”. As late as 1997 a wigger or wexican (These were whites who tried to hang around low-riders and behaved like Cholos) was totally mocked and derided.
    Politically, white cynicism went out of style when 9-11 hit. The era of self-reflection and self-centered nihilistic indulgence was over that day. Slackers were regarded as disgusting relics of Generation X.
    So Chris Cornell was kind of an irrelevant bookend.

      1. ALPHA UNIT
        I confess to speaking in generalizations. In cross-cultural comparison Tupac reached more whites than Cobain reached African-Americans.
        Cobain was AWFULLY UNAPPEALING. Let’s face the facts, he did not have the charisma that Tupac or Biggie had and he died by his own hand as he had sworn he would do for some time.
        Cobain was ANTI-charismatic. Just his appearance depressed you. He was whiny, hostile, depressed (And depressing), so high he could not ride a bicycle most of the time, inarticulate.
        It was hard for the public to feel the same pangs of regret when he chose to end his life than when Tupac was gunned down.

        1. I was in 12th grade with Cobain died. I was on my way to school when I found out and was gutted by the news. They were my favorite band at that time. But more of a personal loss for me was Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon, also died at 27. Blind Melon was and still is one of my fav bands of all time. I was truly hurt by his death and continued listening to his music almost daily for years after.

    1. Politically, white cynicism went out of style when 9-11 hit. The era of self-reflection and self-centered nihilistic indulgence was over that day. Slackers were regarded as disgusting relics of Generation X.

      In other words, America lost its invisible persona. How can you party knowing America is never going to be nuked – when it can? However, ironically, that whole terror scare is totally gone now. Nobody really believes Al Queda or whoever has power now – or that America just hasn’t totally whipped their ass. Maybe even a lot of people believe the whole things was fake or a scheme by Bush.
      However, at the time, it seemed like we could die at any moment. It was sort of like the nuclear war scare of the 1950s.

  4. TULIO
    Grunge and post-alternative was a white phenomenon at a time when wiggers and wexicans were still mocked and derided as in the “Offspring” video.
    R&B has so completely taken over the airwaves that no Kurt Cobain could possibly exist now.
    My feeling is that 9-11 was responsible for the death of the slacker-now replaced by the hipster-more than anything else. The slacker was whiny, cynical, unmotivated, depressed, spoiled and above all a Leftist. See REALITY BITES.
    No black on the face of the earth remembers a single NIRVANA song.

      1. ALPHA UNIT
        Kurt Cobain was not really the tragedy of Tupac-a talented spokesperson of a generation who had begun an acting career and was assassinated.
        Kurt Cobain was simply a heroin addict who killed himself after writing that he would do so for years.

        1. LOL Alpha likes White music and White bands and well, White men. She is part of a movement called the Black Women’s Empowerment movement that among other things, wants to open up the option of dating White men for Black women. The BWE movement also has a pretty low opinion of a lot of Black men. Not the Tulio type, more the Obsidian type.
          She definitely listens to White music. I do not think she listens to Black music all that much. Alpha’s pretty much an honorary White person or a White person in blackface at this point, which is fine with me. More Black people should be like that. Hell with Black “culture.” You call that a culture? Please.
          Black people! Come join us, the White people! And together we will build a better America! (Paraphrasing Henry Ford in “The International Jew” – a much unfairly maligned book).

          1. OK, I know you’re sorta kidding, Robert, but let’s clarify a few things! I definitely listen to Black music, a lot of which I love. I grew up in Black American culture, which is not synonymous with “ghetto culture.” I’m Black and always will be and I like being exactly who I am. The focus of BWE was always Black women, not Black men – and opinions among those women always varied. Happy to clear that up.

          2. I did not know you listened to Black music. I think you are also at home in White culture though, or at least you would like to feel at home in it if Whites liked you. I think you like White people and White culture. And it appears that you like Black people and Black culture too.

          3. I come from a family of musicians, so music is practically life itself to me. Of course Black music was the first music I ever heard, in all its various forms. But music transcends all kinds of barriers and if the music is good, I can enjoy it no matter who performs it. That’s the way I grew up, and having friends of different races and from different countries made it easy.

        2. I like white music too, but also am heavily into black music of all types. And by white music I don’t simply mean white artists who are enjoyed by a lot of different people, such as Paul McCartney. I like white music that ONLY whites seem to be into. Stuff like shoegaze, 80s New Wave and other stuff of the British post-punk era.
          At the same time, I’m heavily into all kinds of black music. Right now my love at the moment is obscure 70s soul and disco funk.
          I have to say it, white people and black people are the powerhouse of music. We should be patting each other on the back for this. Asians haven’t created shit. Indians haven’t. Arabs haven’t. Some Latin stuff is pretty good, but it seems to only be popular among them. But it’s really only been black people and white people that have made stuff that everybody likes on every corner of the planet.

        3. I think you can draw some interesting parallels between Tupac and Cobain. Both died at the peak of their lives and were voices for their respective generations. Tupac however seemed to be having a blast while Cobain was despondent. I’m really looking forward to the Tupac movie coming out this week.

  5. Cross-Cultural 90’s Iconography
    There was a poetry to Tupac and Diana Ross and Tina Turner. A nobility perhaps. And a charisma.
    Cobain was anti-charismatic. He looked like he had not bathed for a week. That was the idea-grungy. He was the middle-class son of an automotive engineer who enjoyed private schools, therapy, vacations but aspired to be white trash.
    He was whiny. He was depressing. He was nihilistic.
    If he had not committed suicide, his popularity would have dwindled anyhow.
    Grunge ended in about the Fall of 1995 when friends arrived, the early 90’s recession ended, the internet arrived and Clinton was at the height of his presidency. There just wasn’t enough to stay depressed about.

  6. Nowadays, rock is gone. I haven’t seen anything interesting since the 90s. However, some have said the Arctic Monkeys and a few other bands are good, but I’m too closed minded, set in my ways to listen to them. I suppose it’s like my family members who grew up in the 70s and always want to listen to classic rock. I couldn’t get them to listen to new stuff in the 90s, unless it was some retro Black Crowes or maybe Cracker.
    For instance, once my brother-in-law tried to get my hippie cousin to listen to Smashing Pumpkins and he just could bear to listen to it.

    1. Rock isn’t gone at all. The sound evolves every decade or so, but it’s not gone by any means. What I would say is that a lot of the music now is getting more difficult to categorize by the ways we traditionally have because a lot of music now is post-genre. For example, Radiohead is generally considered a rock band, but does this song sound like rock in the traditional sense?
      Not really. And I think a lot of music these days is like that. It’s kinda rock, but much more than that lable. Contemporary music doesn’t like to be constrained by labels.

  7. I liked 70s Punk much better than 90s grunge. It was more balls to the wall kick ass music. My high school years were 1992-1996, the height of the grunge era. I hated music from those years.
    The popular music in my high school years were grunge(depressing rock n roll), gangsta rap(shitty Black music), and eurodance, which was fast dance music without a melody. A thumping beat without musical notes.
    I’d come home from school and couldn’t wait to play my older brother’s New wave/Punk records, or go to my aunt’s/uncle’s house, who lived in my building and play their disco/funk records, or happily dance to Pointer Sisters music, or joyfully listen to Cyndi Lauper tunes.
    I wanted to listen to music that lifted me, instead of that 90s sludge.

    1. Green Day was the nearest any band came to recreating the seventies punk during those years.
      I give the icons of Grunge credit for remaining true to their convictions and dying of suicide or heroin overdoses.
      Grunge was not going to last because the mood of the 1990’s had changed by 1996 and the roaring economic prosperity of the Clinton era when any 15 year old could get a job in Burger King.
      It was really a reaction to the Reagan Revolution and the recession of the last days of the Bush presidency-an 80’s hangover.
      By the middle of the 1990’s grunge was unpopular.

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