The amazing, powerful and heartbreaking voice of Chris Cornell has been silenced. The singer took his own life after after a Soundgarden show last night in Detroit.
The news was shocking not only to fans but to his friends and family. His struggles with drugs and depression are well documented, but since becoming sober about a decade ago, Chris seemed to be in control of his career and life.
I had the opportunity to chat with him in interviews and performance sessions a number of times over the last 10 years and he was always friendly, approachable, thoughtful and very down to earth.
The last time we talked was last June before his solo show at Ravinia. Now in hindsight, part of the interview is a little eerie. We talked about Prince’s untimely death in the context of Cornell’s powerful cover of “Nothing Compares To You”.
Chris first performed the song in a radio session and because his version was so powerful, video of the performance went viral it became part of his set. After Prince died, Cornell said it went from cool cover to emotional tribute with lyrics about the effect of someone leaving that hit home.
Cornell talked about how finding out about Prince’s issues with opiates was hard for him to come to grips with because Prince seemed so in control of every aspect of his persona and career. He didn’t seem to be someone who would have such an end.
Cornell told me he felt blindsided by the tragedy Much the same way we might be feeling today about Chris Cornell.