We all have those monumental figures that we think will live forever. Sometimes those people are people you know, family members even. But sometimes, those figures are musicians.
Music has a fantastic way of helping you feel close to someone thousands of miles away. You can hear the passion in their words, and their heart in their voice. Sometimes, that voice is unique. Sometimes, that voice is distinguishable no matter who plays behind them. And sometimes, those voices go away….
There is a point in my life that I consider extremely formative when it comes to music. Before I got to middle school, I would consume whatever music was on the radio. But It was in the 6th grade that I discovered that most of the best music can be found off the radio. It was also the year I discovered Nirvana and dove headfirst into learning every guitar riff I could. Having consumed all of their material I, of course, wanted more. With the floodgates to heavier music wide open, I soon began listening to Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Rage Against the Machine. This is also around the time I heard Soundgarden for the first time. I can remember the exact moment. I was riding in my sister’s car when she put ‘Badmotorfinger’ into the CD player. The first seconds of ‘Rusty Cage’ instantly peaked my interest. It had a funky sounding intro that lead to some HEAVY guitars. And then the man sang. It was a voice unlike anything I had heard before. Much of what I heard from lead vocalists up to that point had been a mixture of screaming and somber tones. But this was different. Yes he was screaming at times, but you knew damn well the man could sing. And you knew he put every ounce of his heart into every note he sung.
You can only imagine how excited I was when I found out that ‘Like A Stone’ was sung by a band consisting of members of Rage Against the Machine and the singer of, Soundgarden. Audioslave’s first album was one that I consumed for months on end, listening to a different track (sometimes three or four times) every morning on the way to school. I’m pretty sure I even turned my mom into an Audioslave fan. She loved his voice too.
That album is incredibly important to me. It’s one that I still listen to on a regular basis. Alot of it has to do with the incredible voice that could be as harsh or as beautiful as the guitars he was singing over. I pick up the guitar every now and then and play along, joining the super group in my head while Chris sang just to my left on stage.
His voice is one that I will never forget and I will be forever grateful for his existence and his contributions to my life. He was my wife’s favorite singer and I often found myself thinking of her whenever I would hear his voice.
As shocked and sad as I am to hear of his passing, I can’t help but think of his family. I pray for them and anyone who has ever crossed paths with him. From all accounts, the world was a better place with him in it.
We love you Chris Cornell, Say Hello 2 Heaven for us.