Chris Cornell, Musicians + the Gift


I am just devastated over the loss of Chris Cornell and I’m not exactly sure how to process it. I certainly didn’t know him but we did travel in the same orbit. I used to date a friend of his back in the early 90’s, who was staying at Chris’ house (or his rental house) in the hills, so I would catch glimpses of him as he would briefly float into the kitchen then float right back out as if he were a muse- taking on sweet, mysterious ethereal Prince-like qualities. Now you see him, now you don’t. My friends Jason Sutter, Yogi Lonich & Peter Thorn all backed him up in his first solo outing promoting “Euphoria Morning” so I got backstage but never got to actually meet him- to tell him that I’d been in his house- 15 years earlier. And of course, I just grew up with him and his music. Soundgarden was IT for me. Nirvana didn’t count and Stone Temple Pilots didn’t matter. I saw them every time they played in town and then cried the day they broke up. “Ultramega OK”, “Louder Than Love” and “Badmotorfinger” take me right back to those angsty, youthful, early days. Days when Enya & Wilson Phillips were at the top of the charts. These dudes had something else to say: and they kicked that door down with fury. I am just gutted for this band right now. Obviously, this is devastating for his parents, kids, wife, siblings, but there are three other dudes and a large crew in an MGM hotel in Detroit right now, away from their own families and loved ones, who found a friend they’ve known since they were what, 19, 20 years old(?), hanging to death, just after completing a successful, rocking, headbanging, crowd-singing-along ROCK show. Their band is OVER. The tour is done. Their friend is dead and all they have are the many hours and miles to process this as they head home.

Which brings me to my band:

Losing Chris Cornell has had a profound impact and is a deep loss to me. It has tuned me in the absolute finite gift of time we have to share for a spell with such precious, gifted, talented creatures. I think about my own band, and we’re not even a band- I don’t play out enough for these guys to be a band, they are technically hired guns, I would play every night if I could afford them- but they know I would lay down on the the tracks for each and every one of them. I think of my boys and worry about them: John + Ted out on the road with Shooter Jennings for the next few weeks, Storm out with Austin Hanks on the ZZ Top tour, Jim, Carl, Jamie Dan + Jeffrey sometimes play 2-3-4 shows a night if they’re not touring. Are they happy? Does music still lift them up? Life on the road is hard. Musicians are sensitive creatures. Each one of them has a TREMENDOUS talent that they give out to you in energy & sweat every night. I am SO blessed that life has put me on the path with these angels. There are a myriad of reasons as to why someone picks up a guitar or a drumstick for the first time or why someone wants to share their poetry through a microphone and it is most certainly for their health (mental, heart or otherwise), and not the paycheck. Hug an artist. Tell them how much they mean to you. Share their music with others. Support live music. Tip the band. <3