Editor’s Note: I spent the morning thinking about suicide. Not doing it, of course. That was last week. Suicidal thoughts are things that one learns to deal with when they are depressed, either chronically or acutely. More specifically, I was thinking about the suicides of famous musicians, like Ian Curtis, who died hung himself 37 years ago, and whose haunting song “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is etched permanently into my flesh. I listened to some comedy while I edited today, a favourite of mine – Robin Williams, “Live on Broadway”, another influential character from my life, and someone else who took their own life.
I didn’t really have many words regarding the passing of Chris Cornell. Of course, I am familiar with Soundgarden, what depressed person hasn’t heard themselves reflected in “Fell on Black Days”?
I checked my e-mail this morning and found that the always wonderful Angel had written a statement of her own in place of her weekly Friday Five, and I will allow the words she has written to stand as not only her statement, but ours, as we say a farewell to this great musician.
Sad to see you go, sir.
Typically I would be typing away about 5 horror films that fill me with delightful glee. But not today. Today is different.
Today I will write about real horror. Chris Cornell hung himself last night.
I was a teenager in the 90’s. I wore flannel. I listened to grunge music. Soundgarden was one of my favorite bands, as was Temple of the Dog. Chris Cornell was the Jesus look alike turned rock god whose extraordinary voice transcended talent. I always begin the holiday season with him singing Ave Maria. It still gives me goose bumps.
And now he is dead. Just like Kurt. Just like Layne. Just like Shannon. Just like Scott.
I woke up this morning to the news. I sat in bed and cried. All I knew then was that he was dead. It was so sudden and unexpected. He wasn’t using, was he? He just played a show. Soundgarden was back together. He has a wife and three kids. How could he be dead? It must be something medical. It has to be.
Then suicide was speculated. No fucking way. He had so much going for him. There’s no way he’d commit suicide. No way.
Then it was confirmed. Suicide by hanging. HANGING. That’s not an accidental overdose.
He closed his final concert performing Slaves and Bulldozers, an original song mixed with Led Zeppelin’s In My Time Of Dying. Seems kind of eerie, despite it being a tradition. Was it his swan song?
When I was 17, my father’s fiancé hung himself. It was so fucking sudden. None of us knew he was battling a meth addiction. None of us knew he was depressed. None of us knew the pain he was in. One day he was there, and the next he was gone – and it shattered my entire fucking world. Nothing was the same after that. My life is marked with before Jeff’s suicide, and after Jeff’s suicide. To this day, on the anniversary of his death, I wear the ring that was on his hand the day he died. I still cry. I am still mourning that tremendous loss. I don’t think I will ever be able to heal that aching hole in my heart, or close that engulfing rift that cracked open inside of me when he died. I carry a black hole inside of me. I always will. That is what suicide does to us, the survivors. The broken ones. His family is now a part of that tribe, and I feel tremendous amounts of sorrow for them.
Last year was hard. We lost so many wonderful people. David. Prince. George. Gene. Alan. Leonard. The list goes on and on. And the grunge world? Fuck. Is Eddie and Billy all there is left of the great front men of grunge?
A lot of people like to shame people who mourn over a celebrity’s death. Fuck those people. My heart is broken. I am not ashamed to admit that. My heart is fucking broken.
Farewell, Chris. I’m sorry that proverbial asshole of a dark tunnel took you, too.
Perry Farrell has said it best: “A shining voice in music has left us in the midnight. He was a complex and gentle soul. Chris Cornell has flown into the black hole sun.”
If you or someone you know needs help, please call 1-800-SUICIDE.