Chris Cornell’s guitarist Pete Thorn wrote the following on Premier Guitar:
We had a lengthy discussion about Soundgarden once, and he expressed how he really loved and appreciated the individual personalities, quirks, and strengths of each member.
I’ve personally been guilty of being somewhat of a control freak in the past, so I learned a great deal from observing his relatively hands-off approach. It encourages people to be the best versions of themselves they can be and, consequently, tends to make for more interesting, dynamic music. And it’s certainly much less stressful than micromanaging every detail.
While writing this, a quick but powerful piece of Chris’s advice came to mind. I remember him once reminiscing about having a phone conversation with Kurt Cobain. Kurt had been upset about something the record label wanted Nirvana to do, and Chris told him, “You know, you can say no, all day long.” Sometimes, we all need to be reminded that it’s okay to say no.
Chris was someone who always appreciated the important things in life. He never took people for granted and he never phoned it in. And he always appreciated that he could make a living playing music. Case in point: It was summer 2015 and I’d just arrived in Japan for the third time in six months. I sent Chris an email after arriving and said, “I just arrived in Kagoshima and went straight to an 8-hour rehearsal! I’m toasty!” His reply? “Hope you sleep well and wake up and enjoy your unusual life! We are lucky people.” It was exactly what I needed to hear.