“She has the daylight at her command, She gives the night its dreams yeah, She can uncover your darkest fears, Make you forget you feel them” – Chris Cornell, Can’t Change Me
In 1990 I had sold out, short hair, white shirt and a tie, married, baby, and a mortgage. At that point in time I was as far away from the long-haired, pierced ear, dope smoking, flannel shirt and dirty jean wearing college kid in 1984 than I had ever been. But, if I could no longer look the part of a non-conformist on the outside I could at least listen to the music that stirred my renegade soul on the inside.
Digging through the CD bins at my favorite slash record-head shop I stumbled upon an album by a group called Temple of the Dog. Music in the early 1990’s, in a word, sucked. Artist like Wilson Phillips, Madonna, and Phil Collins dominated the charts, acts not known for ripping guitars or booming bass lines. My musical heroes were The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Phil Collins wasn’t even in the same zip code. Temple of the Dog was and I heard the music of my youth in their DNA.
Chris Cornell, the musician who spearheaded the Temple of the Dog album, died yesterday at the age of 52. He was the man that led Soundgarden and introduced me to Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots. This music filled a void in my life and allowed me to forget, if only for a moment, about all the people and things I was responsible for.
Soundgarden played in Charlotte two weeks ago. I told my wife last month that we should ride up to see them but I never followed through on the idea. I figured I had time, a next time. There no longer is a next time.
Chris’s album Euphoria Morning is the only CD I have in my car. I listen to Soundgarden’s Superunknown from beginning to end as I sweat off the indulgences of life and the years on the Elliptical at the gym. This is a big one for me. This one hurts. A voice and words silenced to early, with too much time left at least I thought there was time left.
“In my shoes, a walking sleep, And my youth I pray to keep, Heaven sent hell away, No one sings like you anymore” – Chris Cornell, Black Hole Sun