Thoughts on the death of Chris Cornell


NOTE: This post has been updated.

This morning has been strange. My dreams were really strange (including one of me, Charlie Sheen, and Anton LaVey sharing a very small wicker chair), and then I woke up and found out that Chris Cornell from Soundgarden & Audioslave passed on. Felt super-depressed.

This guy just went on tour again, finished a great show, had a wife and kids waiting at home for him, and was theoretically sober. He looked great on stage that last night; healthy, radiant.

And then he hung himself in his hotel room. Just like INXS frontman Michael Hutchence 20 years ago in 1997. A re-cycle if there ever was one.


In the 2015 video “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart,” Cornell is shown with a noose around his neck. He sustained injuries shooting this video because he insisted on shooting the mock-hanging stunts himself.

Again, like so many others, you have the “rehearsal” of the final incident; almost this premonition of what is to come. Or perhaps a blueprint.

But what’s the point of it; why does this happen? Even at 52, Cornell seemed to be in the prime of his life.


So many of these Grunge-era frontmen are gone. Three of the most iconic: Cobain, Weiland, Staley. Now Cornell. They talk about the “27 Club” and about tragic 1960s singers, but there was something particularly dark and soul-crushing about music in the Nineties. These are my contemporaries. We are all now growing middle-aged together. Or not.

I mean, why are Mick Jagger and especially Keith Richards still alive, pushing eighty, and Cornell is dead? Maybe it’s partially because Jagger/Richards didn’t have to perform “Fell On Black Days” continually.

Two uniquely human, uniquely-contemporary impulses: memorializing celebrities and finding patterns. They’re all just Rorschach ink-blots, I suppose.