“Everyone was shocked and stunned and didn’t see it coming”, Chad Smith mentioned to 94.3 The Drive.
Many of us remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard the tragic news about Chris Cornell. May seventeenth marks an unforgettable day for many, even those who did not have the pleasure of meeting him in person. “I didn’t know him that well, but it was shocking. Incredibly talented. One of the greatest singers of our generation,” Chad Smith told The Drive. “He is of our generation… You never expect a contemporary who’s alive and well and still playing to suddenly check out like that. So I can’t say that I took him for granted, but… it was kind of shocking,” Anthony Kiedis revealed to Canadian radio station, Sonic 102.9 early June.
There have been endless tributes for the late fifty-two year-old singer ever since including some by Megadeth, Stone Sour and heartfelt letters such as one written by Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) and many of us have been enjoying and listening to his music either from his solo projects or music from “Temple of the Dog”, “Soundgarden”, and “Audioslave”. Some people may have just discovered more about him and his music recently while others, like Josh Klinghoffer, have been familiar with Cornell’s art for many years. Cornell’s music and projects have influenced so many people around the world including Josh who mentioned Cornell was a “huge” and “enormous” influence. Unfortunately, Josh never really did meet Cornell, but does recall riding in an elevator with him. “He just got in an elevator and I didn’t say anything”, he shared as he laughed.
In 1992, Chris Cornell’s band, Soundgarden had joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers on tour for Lollapalooza. Anthony remembers those days fondly, “They were a bunch of sweethearts and we got to see them constantly”. While Josh was not in the band at that time, he was only twelve, he recently said in an interview that there was a certain song, “Seasons” from Cornell’s Singles soundtrack, that he played “over and over and over again” on his bedroom floor when he was eleven in 1991. This exact song was the song he decided to play as a lovely tribute during their show in Indianapolis after Cornell’s shocking passing. However, this was not the first time Josh covered Cornell’s music. “She motioned to me that she wanted to leave…and go somewhere warm where we’d be alone…I do not know, what’s going on but I’m guessing it’s an all night thing…”, Josh serenaded a packed arena in November in Austria which is part of Temple of the Dog’s “All Night Long”. Cornell has not only influenced Josh musically, but in other forms as well, including his style, or so it seems. For their show in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada this year, he wore a black “90 The Original” shirt identical to one Cornell has worn from a skateboarding brand founded in the 90’s. Surely, there is so much more to Cornell than his style. And it is because of so much more: his talent, his music, his kindness, his lyrics, his big heart, the list goes on that he will not be forgotten and will be remembered with a lot of love.
“He was fantastic and he meant a lot to me, that is all I can say”, Josh expressed. “…Bless his family. He left the world a better place”, Anthony Kiedis.