Chris Cornell Recorded With Van Halen Before Death?

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Late Soundgarden frontman, Chris Cornell’s former guitarist Pete Thorn recently recalled the collaboration between Eddie Van Halen and Cornell that never culminated. He noted how the unfinished track may still be somewhere in the Van Halen 5150 studio vaults.

Pete Thorn opens up on the unfinished album; says Chris Cornell couldn’t record the vocals

Thorn went on to recount in a recent interview with Mitch Lafon that he had produced a couple of “acoustic, stripped-down” rock songs for the album, which ended up being the title track and the lead single “Long Gone”.

As he was listening to the songs in a parking lot with the late Seattle icon, Thorn says that an amazing idea sparked up in Chris Cornell’s mind:

“So Chris listened to them. He’s like, ‘I love this man.’…We’re across the street in a parking lot, listening to them in my car, I remember. And he looked at me and he said, ‘Hey, what do you think if we got Eddie to work on this, if we would ask him to play on it?’ And he didn’t even say Eddie Van Halen, he just said, Eddie, you know, because… he had a friendship with him.

“And I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ Like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ So anyway, I was so excited.”

As Thorn recalls, a few weeks passed without further development, as Cornell apparently couldn’t get round to setting up the collab with EVH. Things went a step further when the guitarist asked the producer Dave Friedman to inform Edward about the possible collab:

“Well, one day, my good friend, Dave Friedman, who did all these pedalboard work and rackwork and stuff. I was in his shop. And he said, ‘I’m on my way up to Ed’s up to 5150 to do some work.’ And I said, ‘Can you do me the biggest favor? Can you just ask? Say Chris Cornell floated the idea of you maybe working on a song, and would you be interested in something like that?’

“And he said, ‘Yes, sure.’ And 45 minutes later, he texted me, said, ‘Ed wants you to call him, here’s his cell phone number… And I left him a message, and, you know, I’m nervous as hell.

“I left him a message, and he called me back a couple days later. And we spoke, he says, ‘Well, how soon can you come up to the studio and play me this stuff?’ And I was like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening!’ So we set up a date. I drove up to 5150 and And he was just so cool.

“I get out of the car and there he is. And he gives me a big hug. And, and he said, ‘Okay, let’s go to the studio and take a listen.’ Before that, he said,’Come in to the house, you know, hang out, I gotta eat something.’ He was eating a chicken salad, I remember that [laughs]. I was just like, ‘This is my hero,’ you know?

“And he took me in 5150. And he was so humble, in many ways, and sort of unassuming… So anyways, we put on the track. And we sat there at the console, and listened to the song.”

Thorn further added that the fans should temper their expectations for the track, as it never got finished.

He continued:

“I don’t want to get anybody excited thinking that this ever got finished, because it didn’t. But he did work on it. And I would go up there over the next couple of weeks, and he had played on it. And I would listen to it and just be like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.’ But this is, you know, myself and Eddie on a track.”

However, the guitarist notes how Chris Cornell never ended up recording vocals for the song:

“And then, it’s a long story, but it just never got a vocal on it by Chris. You know, Eddie had gotten busy doing the next Van Halen record right around then… and it just never ended up getting finished.”