Hearing that Chris Cornell died the other day was sad, I’m a huge fan of Soundgarden and especially their 1994 hit “Black Hole Sun”, it defined my time at DePaul University and remains one of my top ten favorite songs.
That psychedelic video, Cornell’s searing vocals and wailing guitar are infectious and have got me through many bad days.
But then I heard Chris had taken his own life and I was even sadder about his passing.
Three years ago, a week or so after my dad passed one of our dear friends and neighbors (we miss you Dave), took his own life and I was devastated on top of the grief for my dad no longer being here.
I’ve had my struggles with self-esteem and personal relationships just as the Chris & Dave had.
It’s no joke and for many of us who have been down that road you know where it can lead if things get bad or you are untreated.
I have no shame in telling you I’ve been going to counseling the last few months, I resisted for years (should have listened to you back in the day Kace), but now I’m glad I’m going because I need it.
As my cousin Bryan says “most of us are just a bad day away” from thinking this is it and there’s nothing more for us here.
And I’m not here to look down on those who have taken their own life or sit here and proclaim how great I am.
I’m telling you many of us have been dangerously close to creating our own end and when you hear about someone who did, it’s haunting, sorrowful and reminds you of your own issues.
Ashley Zlatoposky who writes for the Detroit Free Press wrote a poignant and in depth article about what was Chris’ last show, “how he mentally didn’t seem there”, “his voice was lagging” and “maybe he was exhausted”.
Man those are all signs of an individual struggling with demons and there are days the demons are driving you and other days you have them locked in the trunk.
Sometimes it can change by the hour.
I wouldn’t wish these personal struggles on anyone, many of us who create (writing, music, visual arts), have issues like this.
It was noted that Chris had addiction issues and seemed like your run of the mill melancholy musician but he was so much more. A family man, rock legend (a member of not one to two great bands Soundgarden & Audioslave), and one of the founders of grunge music.
And his music was so good, so deep, listen to “Black Hole Sun” or “Fell on Black Days”, its not happy music but its lead me out of the darkness more times than I can count.
My mother and her teaching associates used to call bad days “Bad Day at Black Rock” after the iconic 1955 movie.
When I have days like that one of my go to songs was something by Chris, usually the two aforementioned songs.
His work inspired my writing back in my poetry days (at DePaul), when I struggled with relationships and academics back then I could go to his music for inspiration and feel like I wasn’t alone.
I’m just beside myself that none of us could do that for him.
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