JS – Chris Cornell

When I built the Soundgarden timeline for the band’s website in 2012. It was never intended to be part of the website. I had set out to build it for myself as a hobby. I had simply reached out to management to get their blessing and avoid lawsuits. I cannot put into words the emotions I felt when they replied, “we would like to call you next week” and during that call said they would like the timeline to be part of the Official site.

My “Beatles” were back together, new record about to come out after all these years, and I have been put in charge of preserving their history. I was 38. The only way I can explain what I felt at the moment…a guy who had given up on his career in baseball and got a call to pitch game 7 of the World Series.

Why it meant so much…

I have been a fan since 89/90. I was a fan long enough to never see the band as “rockstars”…I always saw them as those guys that graduated from your high school years before you…. You heard about them, heard they had a band, heard they made it big, heard the music, but never met them. You could easily have a beer with them. Maybe it was Kim and Hiro’s connection to here in Illinois. Maybe it was because I watched the band evolve from the early years.

I would eventually meet Kim and Matt outside The Riv on the Danzig co-headlining tour in 1990. Chris and Jason were nowhere to be found. I was all of 16. They were not huge at that time. Approachable. Some fan was handing Kim record after record to sign. It was kind of awkward. I reach out my trembling hand to have Matt sign my Ticketmaster ticket envelope and some guy accidentally burns me with his cigarette. Matt blurts out…”oh meet Ben our new bass player!”. Ben apologizes for burning me. Me…still shaking say…”its ok, its ok” and handed him my envelope to sign. And yes… I still have it.

I always figured someday I would get to meet the band again and Chris could complete the signatures. I saw it clear as day. I mean I built part of their website, I was on the guest list. This would happen eventually. It was inevitable.

In May this year that all changed…forever.

I had jumped up from a deep sleep in the middle of the night in a panic. I got up, flipped channels for a few hours, watched some terrible sitcoms, and then the news came across my feed. No! I literally looked at the date of my phone thinking it was a terrible April Fools joke. A hoax. It wasn’t until days later I released when I woke up in a panic it was actually 1:30 in the morning in Detriot. We are all connected. I believe that more than ever now. The universe was jarred that night.

And here we are trying to process it still months later.

I pride myself in making sense of the most off the wall things. After months this still makes no sense. I travel from Chicago to Detriot 5 nights a week. I have to see those “xx miles to Detriot” signs all night long. It’s a constant reminder. The music I have used for comfort, to escape, etc…for 28 years. It’s hard to hear now. Photos hard to stomach.

A friend said it best…”musically… There’s nothing to look forward to now” followed by “Our generation’s John Lennon is gone”. Yes, he left a huge catalog. An amazing catalog! But it was always fascinating to see what he was going to do next…solo or with the band. That voice…that god damn voice!



Chris Cornell