Shocking news to report. SOUNDGARDEN & AUDIOSLAVE lead vocalist Chris Cornell has passed away at the age of 52. Although some reports are suggesting it was suicide, no official cause of death has been given at this time. The death was totally unexpected by family and friends. Cornell had just given what would be his final performance last night at Fox Theatre in Detroit and passed away just past midnight today on Thursday, May 18. The set was packed with favorites, including “Rusty Cage,” “Spoonman” and “Outshined”. You can watch a fan-filmed video below.
Soundgarden split in 1997 and regrouped in 2010. They released a solid new album, King Animal, in 2012. During the band’s 13-year break, Cornell was admitted to rehab for alcohol addiction. In a 2012 interview, he said he would have ended up there anyway.
“It’s something that would have happened even if Soundgarden had stayed together,” he said. “It was a long slow slide and then a long slow recovery, but there was self-discovery too. For me it was mostly alcohol—from my late teens until my late thirties.”
Formed in Seattle in 1984, Soundgarden were a US hard rock band who became one of the leading lights of the grunge movement that exploded from the north-west of America in the early 1990s. Along with Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Chris Cornell’s band pioneered a sound that mixed sludgy and de-tuned guitars – somewhere between punk, metal and shoegaze – with darkly neurotic lyrics. In occupying the middle ground between the heavy metal of Black Sabbath and the psychedelia of the Beatles, they were one of the biggest bands of the era.
TMD sends out condolences to Chris Cornell’s family, band members, friends and fans. He will be remembered as one of the all time greatest rock n roll vocalists.
Soundgarden were huge, selling well over 20 million records worldwide. As importantly, though, they took an underground sound into the mainstream. Initially signed to independent Seattle label Sub Pop, later home to Nirvana, Soundgarden were the first grunge band to sign to a major record label. Fans cried “sell out” as they toured with the likes of Guns N Roses, whose LA-influenced hair metal and noodly guitar solos were anathema to grunge. But huge MTV exposure introduced them to millions of new fans.