When in doubt for a title, pick a random Chris Cornell's song's title. Especially when the post's about Chris Cornell.
Chris Cornell left this level of consciousness last night.
I'm not sure I can put into words how I'm feeling at the moment. How I felt when my friend messaged me the news. It's no secret how much I love, adore, worship, respect Chris Cornell's body of work, be it with his bands (Soundgarden, Audioslave, the brief Temple Of The Dog collaboration) or solo ("Euphoria Morning" is one of my all time favourite pieces of art). His lyrics always manage to hit me like no others'. Whenever I'm down, anxious, mad, I put on something by him (mostly Soundgarden) and I immediately feel like home. Safe. It calms me down. It's like an old, good friend, you don't hear from them all the time but you know they're there all the time.
I started listening to Chris Cornell in the most random way: Nick Carter from the BSB said in an interview that he thought "Euphoria Morning" was one of the best albums of the year (1999 or 2000) and I thought "I have to listen to it". At the time there was no Google, no Spotify, no iTunes, you had to write down the name and go to the record store and pray the album had been released on the European market. I still remember the puzzled face of the record store guy as I kept saying "Cornell, Chris Cornell, solo album", running around looking for the damn thing. I don't even remember how I found out about Soundgarden, but I remember when I finally bought "Down On The Upside", I even remember the way I was dressed. And the joy of that evening when, watching MTV, I saw by chance "Cochise" and learnt that Cornell was the singer of this Audioslave band. It meant I could finally see him live. It was November 2002, my first Audioslave gig was January 18th 2003. Or 21st, I confuse the dates. I wanted to throw my bra on stage, but I ended up tying it around my pants. I went back home like that, can you imagine.
My first festival, Flippaut Festival 2003 in Bologna. I took the train from Milan, by myself since I didn't know anyone who listened to that kind of music. I waited for hours and meanwhile fell in love with other bands like Hell Is For Heroes, The Kills, Turbonegro. Bands I still listen to and love to pieces. The rain after the gig, The moment I almost fell down in the moshpit and grabbed the person in front of me by the tshirt, literally ripping it off his body. Some random naked guy crowdsurfing. The night spent at the train station in Bologna waiting for my train back to Milan because in the morning I had to go to school for some test. I was 18 and reckless, I had this fire inside. I wish I still had it, I lost it along the way to adulthood.
Chris Cornell's lyrics made me understand I was not alone. I didn't have older siblings who introduced me to music, my parents didn't do it either. Not in a really active way at least. They were mostly listening to Italian singers. In the late '90s it was either alternative rock bands like Skunk Anansie and Garbage or plastic pop like boybands and the princesses of pop. Or Spice Girls. Chris Cornell was my actual introduction to rock music, if we don't count Marilyn Manson, who didn't have such a huge impact on me though. To lyrics I could relate to. That made me feel like I was not a weirdo for feeling the way I did. I still remember one summer spent texting with this guy I've never even met in real life (long before MySpace and FB and IG and all this selfie culture), we were just texting and since he didn't really speak English I was trying to explain why Chris Cornell's lyrics were so special translating some of his works, i.e. "What You Are" from the Audioslave days.
"And when you wanted blood I cut my veins
And when you wanted love I bled myself again"
He was so impressed byt this line, which was indeed one of my favourite because it involved blood and you should all know I've always had a soft spot for blood.
Last time I saw Chris Cornell live was last year, 27th of March 2016. The show was sold out but I miraculously managed to find myself a ticket one hour before the start. More than two hours acoustic show, him and his guitar and occasionally some guest musician, his super dry sense of humor. He looked indeed quite old. Like time had finally manged to catch up on him altogether eventually. The best show of my life, which I'll be forever grateful for.
I've read lots of things about the cause of his death. I can only say, if you've ever thought about a Chris Cornell's song, about his lyrics, well, we all know deep down the most probable answer to the HOW. And I respect that. It's just painful. It's half of my life that left this reality. It's the person who virtually managed to shape part of the adult I am now through his work. It's the soundtrack of every important moment, lines that pop up in my head depending on the situation I'm facing. It's true what I said once, when I don't know how to name it, I just pick a Chris Cornell's song's title or verse and it's always appropriate.
I always said the moment I could see Soundgarden and X Japan live would be the moment I could die happy. Well.