My Chris Cornell Ignorance: Hunger Strike
For many years, Chris Cornell was the creepy guy from that damn dark video Black Hole Sun (won't you coooooome) I wasn't allowed to see when I was a kid. I remember after having dreamed about people with terrifying ever-growing smiles, that my parents might have a point.
Then, I listened to and loved (and still love) Audioslave. Listened to, not watched. Because even though I could sing along to their songs, I had absolutely no idea that this was Chris Cornell singing.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I can't claim I've been a fan of Cornell since day one. Because I wasn't. I was a bigger fan than I realized, but that's about it.
Until a few years ago. When I bumped into a song from 1991 of a group I'd never heard of: Temple of the Dog. When I heard the first sentence, I was hooked. Because the sentence spoke to the poetically sensitive mini-rebel that lives in me ('I don't mind stealin' bread, from the mouths of decadence'. I mean, come on!) and also, because I thought I was listening to my number one favorite poetic rebel, Eddie Vedder. Then, when the second verse (lyrically, a repetition of the first verse, so I guess there is no real second verse) came in, I knew that now I was really listening to Eddie Vedder. So who was that guy I heard, that touched me instantly? There he was again: Chris Cornell. For years, I listened to this one song from Temple of the Dog. I know nothing of their other music (there's also only one album, so my crime is limited). And I knew little of their story. I just knew that that song touched me every. single. time. I heard it.
I was convinced that Eddie was kind enough to sing along with these unknown dudes, doing them a bit of a favor, which in the end didn't really work out for them. And, somehow a theme in this little writing, I was wrong again. This is actually the first recorded song of Eddie Vedder. It was these 'unknown dudes' that heard the first demo of Vedder, and decided to give him a shot. Interesting, no?
Back to the point of this article: I was shocked and sad when I heard Cornell committed suicide. Not because he was a lot more of an influential and well-known artist than I knew. Not because of the overwhelming amount of tributes of other artists that came out the days after. Not because I unknowingly rocked hard with him to Audioslave. Not because he gave me a creepy dream as a kid. Not even because he was the first to give genius Eddie Vedder a chance. Nope, I will miss him because of that one song: Hunger Strike. And I hope that's okay.