Tales of Rock: Chris Cornell, Soundgarden and Audioslave Frontman, Dies at 52

So sad…

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I was going to publish a piece today about Sly Stone ending up living in a van.

But not now.

Wednesday I was home, writing the epilogue of another lost girlfriend, and listening to Soundgarden and the solo work of Chris Cornell. I never do that. I was actually listening to Badmotorfinger, the full album on You Tube, while I wrote my blog. The irony has struck me hard, and I am still trying to understand what is happening. I love the song “You Know My Name” from the James Bond film, Casino Royale. I always think of it as my theme song.

I woke up Thursday to a text from my buddy, Church that Chris had passed. I was shocked and saddened. It comes with a heavy heart that I publish today’s blog.

Chris Cornell, the powerful, dynamic singer whose band Soundgarden was one of the architects of grunge music, has died at 52.

The death of Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell has been ruled a suicide by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“The Medical Examiner has completed the autopsy on 52-year-old Chris Cornell, the Soundgarden musician who died last night in Detroit. The cause of death has been determined as hanging by suicide. A full autopsy report has not yet been completed. There is no additional information at this time.”

Spokesman Brian Bumbery told the Associated Press that Cornell was found in his hotel room at the MGM Grand Detroit following a tour date at Detroit’s Fox Theatre with the reunited Soundgarden, the band he’d fronted for over 30 years

Dontae Freeman, media relations manager for the Detroit Police Department, later told the newspaper, “He was found in his room with a band around his neck, but (the report) doesn’t say if it was attempted suicide or not.”

Cornell had appeared to be in good spirits Wednesday when he tweeted, “Finally back to Rock City” before the show. However, Freeman noted that the singer’s wife, Vicky Karayiannis, asked a family friend and asked him to check on Cornell after the show later that evening. The friend forced open his hotel room door and found Cornell unresponsive on the bathroom floor.

Bumbery called Cornell’s death “sudden and unexpected” and said his wife and family are in shock. The statement said the family would be working closely with the Wayne County medical examiner to determine the cause and have asked for privacy.

Chris was born in 1964 in Seattle and helped form Soundgarden 20 years later. Sub Pop, then a fledgling record label, released the group’s first single, “Hunted Down,” in 1987, as well as two subsequent EPs. The group’s debut album, “Ultramega OK,” came a year later.

“Badmotorfinger,” released in 1991, benefited from the swell of attention that was beginning to surround the Seattle scene, where Soundgarden, along with Nirvana and Pearl Jam, were playing a high-octane, high-angst brand of rock ’n’ roll. Soundgarden’s musical journeys tended toward the knotty and dark, plunging into off-kilter meters and punctuated by Mr. Cornell’s voice, which could quickly shift from a soulful howl to a gritty growl.

Three of Soundgarden’s studio albums have been certified platinum, including “Superunknown,” from 1994, which featured “Black Hole Sun,” “Fell on Black Days,” “Spoonman” and “My Wave.”

The group — which includes the guitarist Kim Thayil, the bassist Ben Shepherd and the drummer Matt Cameron — disbanded in 1997, but it reunited in 2010 and performed regularly since then. In a review of a 2011 concert at the Prudential Center in Newark, The New York Times chief pop critic Jon Pareles called Soundgarden “one reunited band that can pick up right where it left off.” In 2012, it released “King Animal,” its first album in 16 years, which Mr. Pareles said “sounds like four musicians live in a room, making music that clenches and unclenches like a fist.”

The group played at the Fox Theater in Detroit on Wednesday night, and it had been scheduled to perform in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday at the Rock on the Range festival.

Chris appeared to be active on social media in the hours before his death. A post on his Twitter account on Wednesday announced that the group had arrived in Detroit, and a clip of the group’s 2012 release “By Crooked Steps” was posted to his official Facebook page hours before his death.

Chris had admitted in interviews to struggling with drug use throughout his life. In a 1994 Rolling Stone article, he described himself as a “daily drug user at 13,” who had quit by the time he turned 14.

After Soundgarden disbanded in 1997, Mr. Cornell returned to heavy drug use, he told The Guardian in a 2009 interview, describing himself as a “pioneer” in the abuse of the opiate OxyContin, and saying that he had gone to rehab.

Chris released five solo albums during and after his time with Soundgarden, starting with the 1999 LP “Euphoria Morning.” His 2007 album “Carry On” featured an acoustic cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” that served as the inspiration for a well-received version of the song on “American Idol.” He contributed the song “Seasons” to the soundtrack of “Singles,” Cameron Crowe’s love letter to the Seattle music scene, and performed alongside other members of Soundgarden in the film.

In 2001, after Rage Against the Machine’s lead singer, Zack de la Rocha, left the group, Mr. Cornell and members of the band formed Audioslave. The group released three albums before announcing its split in 2007.

In November 2016, Chris hit the road for the first time with another supergroup of sorts, Temple of the Dog, which features a blend of members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. The group was formed a quarter-century ago as a tribute to Andrew Wood, the lead singer of the Seattle bands Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone, who died in March 1990 of a heroin overdose.

Speaking to The New York Times, Chris said the group had decided to finally bring its songs to life to honor Mr. Wood. “I thought, well, this is one thing that I can do to remind myself and maybe other people of who this guy is and was and keep his story and in a way his life with us,” he said.

Incidentally, in a final footnote, I just learned that Chris was taking Antivan for depression. Two of the side effects of that drug can be “More Depression” and “Suicidal Thoughts.”

And in a final grim note, the final song of the show he played in Detroit that night. The final song Chris would ever play, was Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying.”

Thanks to everyone for following phicklephilly right up to my 100th blog post. It just sucks that it had to be about this. The Cornell family are in our thoughts and prayers.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 9am EST.

Tales of Rock – Scott Weiland Buys Heroin While Dressed as a Pimp

While on probation, he moved into a hotel room next to Courtney Love, and claims the two began doing drugs together.

Stone Temple Pilots might have been initially seen as a contrived grunge act by critics, but their frontman, Scott Weiland, sure matched Seattle’s finest in drug consumption. (To me they always seemed like Alice in Chains-Lite)

Scott began using heroin with singer Gibby Haynes while STP was on tour with the Butthole Surfers in 1994. The following year he was arrested while buying crack cocaine.

While on probation, he moved into a hotel room next to Courtney Love, and claims the two began doing drugs together. In 1998, he was arrested buying heroin, reportedly while dressed as a pimp. In 2003, he got in a car crash while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, but charges were dismissed after he successfully completed rehab. Thereafter, Weiland transitioned to DUIs with arrests in ’07 and ’08, the latter incident involving jail time.

During all this, he was in and out of STP, launched a solo career and, in 2003, joined Velvet Revolver, a supergroup comprised of himself and three former members of Guns N’ Roses, definitely great guys to hang around while trying to kick a drug habit. In 2011, he cut a Christmas album—go figure.

Though derided by critics early in his career, Weiland’s onstage persona was known as being flamboyant and chaotic; he was also known for constantly changing his appearance and vocal style, his use of a megaphone in concert for vocal effect, as well as his battles with substance abuse. Now widely viewed as a talented and versatile vocalist, Weiland has been ranked in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader.

In 2012, shortly before his departure from Stone Temple Pilots, Weiland formed Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, receiving mixed reviews: some critics and fans noted Weiland’s apparently failing health and dwindling energy. While touring for his 2015 album, Blaster, Weiland died of a drug overdose on his tour bus in Minnesota at the age of 48. Upon his death, many critics and peers offered re-evaluation of Weiland’s life and career, including David Fricke of Rolling Stone and Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, the latter calling Weiland one of three “voices of the generation” alongside Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley.

 

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Tales of Rock – Courtney Love is Crazy

Did she kill her husband?

I have a difficult time including Courtney Love in the presence of these rock stars, but I don’t have a problem calling her crazy. Courtney Love is a musician that gained notoriety in the late 1980s with her band Hole. She was married to Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain until he passed away in 1994. Love is known for extreme and erratic behavior. She has been implemented by a private investigator named Tom Grant in the possible murder of Cobain.

In the weeks prior to Kurt Cobain’s suicide Love hired Tom Grant to find her husband. After Kurt was discovered dead, Green said that he found strange activity on Cobain’s credit card. He believed that Kurt’s suicide note was actually a note written that was announcing his desire to end his marriage to Courtney Love. Green also cited Cobain’s unusual bloodstream heroin levels and the fact that no fingerprints were found on the trigger of the shotgun he used to kill himself as clues of foul play.

In 2009, the daughter of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, Frances Bean Cobain was granted a restraining order against her mother who was harassing her. Frances claimed that Courtney was a violent drug addict and compulsive hoarder. She was freighted for her safety and hoped to have her mother removed from her life.

In April of 2012, Courtney Love took to Twitter and provided a rant of crazy remarks. She attacked her daughter and Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana bandmate. Love implied that Grohl had intended to have a sexual relationship with Frances and called him “sexually obsessed” with Kurt Cobain. She even voiced her opinion about the upcoming U.S. presidential election and attacked Mitt Romney with some unprovoked and strange accusations.

Courtney threatened to shoot and kill Grohl on two separate occasions. The rant was unprovoked and completely false. Frances is currently engaged to a man named Isaiah Silva. After the comments, Frances responded and said that the social networking website should ban her mother. Grohl said: “Unfortunately Courtney is on another hateful Twitter rant. These new accusations are upsetting, offensive, and absolutely untrue.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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