Longtime Alternative Nation reader Dave Travers sent the following open letter to Alternative Nation yesterday to mark the three month anniversary of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell’s death:
An Open Letter to Soundgarden
To Ben, Kim and Matt:
We are all heartbroken. We are crushed. Personally, I can only imagine what the three of you and Vicky and the kids are going through. When I try to empathize, it hurts more than it does already, and I never even got the chance to meet Chris Cornell in person. So it’s hard to say that I know what you’re going through, but I imagine it is one of the hardest things you’ve ever experienced in your lives.
I am of a younger generation of fans. I knew Audioslave when their first album was released when I was in high school, but I did now know Chris Cornell by name or fame. I first heard the name when “You Know My Name” was released as the title song for the 21st James Bond film. I had been a Bond fan far longer than a Cornell fan. My brother bought me tickets to see Chris in concert that summer. At that show, 3 songs in, he played “Show Me How To Live” and I made the connection. During his acoustic set, he played “Black Hole Sun.” Suddenly I realized the guy I thought I had just heard of I had actually been hearing on radio and in movies my entire life. It was because of that show that later in college I found a great used record store and bought my first Soungarden albums. I’ve been hooked ever since. Over the last decade I saw Chris 8 times, and fortunately 3 of those times were with Soundgarden. Each show was unique and full of energy. Chris was an amazing performer.
Why do I write all this? I think for a few reasons. One is to express the feelings I have had since this tragedy over the last three months, maybe just to write it down – to help myself move through the void, and to remind myself that the music will be with us forever. And to express my condolences, best wishes, and gratitude for all of the amazing performances your band gave me over the past decade. Another is to express my feelings about what comes next. Since 2007 I’ve spent a lot of time listening to Chris’ music, but ever since this past May I have been totally immersed in it – all the records I already owned, re-purchasing some of the deluxe or mastered versions from iTunes, and downloading every live bootleg or recording I can find.
Chris lives on through his music. I enjoy it, I study it, I relate to it. I know that there was new Soundgarden music in development. And my plea to you is: when you’re ready, when you can, if any demos were created, please share them with us. There might not be any, but if there is any scrap of material, we would love to hold on to every piece of Chris that we can.
I think of the two songs that the Beatles made with Lennon’s demo recordings after his passing, and the album released of Jeff Buckley’s unfinished work after he had gone. Given Chris’ love for the Beatles and his friend Jeff, if it is possible to polish and release something like this, I think it would be fitting to his legacy.
I also hope that the three of you will continue to create and share music with us for as long as possible. You are extremely talented musicians, and quality human beings. Thank you again for all the music and all the memories.
Sincerely and respectfully your fan,