Chris Cornell’s Surprising Story Behind Soundgarden’s “4th of July”


Happy Fourth of July from Alternative Nation! With that, we thought it would be cool to further honor Chris Cornell by celebrating Soundgarden’s song, “4th of July.” The song is certainly not about patriotism and fireworks, instead the story behind it is rather interesting.

Chris Cornell said in a 1994 interview with RIP Magazine that it is about an acid trip he experienced:

“One time I was on acid, and there were voices ten feet behind my head. The whole time I’d be walking, they’d be talking behind me. It actually made me feel good, because I felt like I was with some people. At one point I was looking back, and I saw that one person was wearing a black shirt and jeans, and the other person was wearing a red shirt. They were always there.

It was kinda like a dream, though, where I’d wake up and look and focus once in a while and realize there was no one there. I’d go, ‘Oh, f–k, I’m hearing voices.’ ‘4th of July’ is pretty much about that day. You wouldn’t get that if you read it. It doesn’t read like, ‘Woke up, dropped some acid, got into the car and went to the Indian reservation.”

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Lauryn is a contributing writer for Alternative Nation, primarily doing show/album reviews, editorials, video reporting, and interviews with bands like The Pretty Reckless, Seether, and Greta Van Fleet. First and foremost a huge Guns N’ Roses fan, she’s big on classic rock and grunge, with taste spanning from The Doors to Alice in Chains. You can either see Lauryn at a rock festival, or driving across the country to get to one. Lauryn loves getting feedback and tips. You can reach her at laurynschaffner , as long as it's related to rock.
  • Rickie Turlong


  • Gard
    • Seriously, what the ….

      One of the concerns in this petition is why was CC cremated so fast. I wouldn’t exactly call 5 days later fast. You want fast, look at Prince, 24 hrs later.

      Nothing unusual about cremating someone 5 days after their death.

      People are really reaching for something that isn’t there with this petition.

      • Gard

        Greek Orthodox don’t believe in cremation.

        • Seriously, what the ….

          They may not believe in it, but they do it and have for some time.

          Read about it.

          • Gard

            I hear ya, im not the one who wrote the petition, I just want to know what happened to Chris. Im not believing the story told. If you dont want to sign it then don’t. But i dont see the harm in it

          • Seriously, what the ….

            No harm, this is true. Some of the things mentioned are not that unusual. Like the cremation, broken ribs just to name a few.

          • Gard

            Me personally its the timeline that makes no sense. So he was given a ativan by his bodyguard at 1130 when he was fixing his computer or whatever, so your saying the bodyguard left and the wife called him at 1135 and Chris was saying he was tired and already groggy because he took a couple ativan…so it kicked in just after 5 mins and he was feeling it?….and what happened from 1135 till 1215 when she called the bodyguard begging him to check his room?…..why 40 mins after she called him? Were they talking for that long?because she didnt make it seem like it. I just would like more answers that all nothing wrong with asking for a investigation on it to answer a few questions.

          • Seriously, what the ….

            People have lots of questions about a lot of stuff. Regular people can’t just ask a bunch of questions because they feel like it. Authorities, medical personal etc are not mandated to field questions from ( Fans ) or release more detailed information.

            Besides, none of it matters, CC is dead and he’s not coming back.

            It is my opinion along with many others, people that know a lot more than I do that Chris Cornell took his own life.

            It’s not that hard to believe, maybe he got tired of being Chris Cornell.

            These things happen and many are inexplicable.

          • Gard

            Well if he didnt take his own life. Id think he would like people to know that, and your right people do have questions for things and if you want answers make a petiton.

          • Seriously, what the ….


            This document answers the question Whether the BodyGuard did CPR.

            One of the petition questions.

          • Seriously, what the ….
          • Lorenzo Takeout

            Believe me, I’m just as curious about the “no more bullshit” tweet as anyone else, but in regard to the time lapse:
            Maybe think of it like this, you talk to the person, you’re annpyed with each other & you never actually think they are going to KILL themselves…
            So you may even go get a glass of water, call a friend & bitch about it for 15 minutes & then start worrying.
            Lot’s of people relapse on drugs but when you hear that it was merely two Ativan, you probably don’t think there is THAT much to worry about…
            I get it, the wife never looks warm & all the protesting & personal information on twitter from both the wife with her letters expressing HIS love for her & the mother in law with her unspeakably horrendously dumb tweets: is suspicious, but I do understand a few minutes going by because it’s not like he was going to OD on two ativan or even 5 for that matter!
            She might have just been annoyed & he was obviously trying to get her love and attention (again)
            The time lapse doesn’t seem so strange when you think of it in terms that she didn’t think he was actually going to KILL HIMSELF.
            Just speaking the truth.
            Picture it. right?

          • Vicky

            I can totally picture it. I think the wife might of been ticked off about the condition he seemed to be in (high on something). When her statement was released detailing their phone conversation that night, she said he told her that he had taken extra Ativan. She then told him, “you have to tell me what you took and that she forgave him”. I think this made him feel that she didn’t believe him and that he had disappointed her. He already was bothered by his performance that night and complained to her about it. I think he felt as if he had let his wife and fans down. She hung up on him, probably waited a little while to cool down and when she did call back, it was too late. Ever since this happened I have felt that her biggest mistake was hanging up on him. If only she had stayed on the phone with him and tried to calm him down instead of hanging up on him. I’m sure he would still be here.

          • Cathy

            I think you’re over thinking what happened. It’s more probable they fought, she said something to set him off and he threatened to kill himself which caused her to call the BG in a panic to knock down the doors. She knew what he was doing or going to do!

        • Olga Stewart

          Nor do Catholics (which Chris was before he converted).

          • Seriously, what the ….

            Not anymore. Catholics cremate the dead. The Bible says ashes to ashes dust to dust.

          • Olga Stewart

            I do wonder though if Chris would have wanted to be cremated.

            Or buried.

            We will never know now.

        • Cathy

          Maybe he specifically requested to be cremated before his death. Kurt and Layne were cremated. What’s the big deal? Knowing Chris through his lyrics, I doubt he wanted to be buried in a box. I’m a little confused why he was ‘buried’ in LA and ashes not scattered.

      • Lorenzo Takeout

        Understood that a lot of people are curious about the cremation thing, but he only converted ( not known from people who knew him to have became “devout” in any way)
        And after some research found that when one hangs themselves this way that
        (Oh how I hate saying this) but that the face gets filled with blood, swollen beyond
        recognition & not what anyone would want their children to see.
        This was an angry move, that it pretty clear.
        Not going into the craziness of conspiracy theories or dislike of the wife & mother in law because we really JUST DON”T KNOW THEM.
        And he DID make the adult decision to inexplicably move to Beverly Hills of all horridly dull & materialistic domaines.
        Obviously the wife & mil though that “was best” but making up nasty theories without knowing is well, just cuckoo.
        The mil’s twitter BS thankfully was curtailed as the lady & her mother doth protest too much…
        “No more bullshit” is quite chilling though, no mistaking that.
        He was mad enough to risk the devastation of his children, selfish absolutely, but making a serious fucking point.

      • Sophie

        Chris was cremated in under 4 days ,read an interview with how s brother Peter and it struck me as odd.In the UK ( we have been in lockdown for 2 months so to drape are different) but generally from the time of death to cremation is around 14 days .Obviously different for the many Muslims a have a part of our community and of course our very old Jewish community they are buried generally within 24 hrs..As far as I know with Chris it was just 3 or 4 days ,if he supposedly went over to the Greek Orthodox religion to marry that witch then cremation would be crowned upon..very odd

  • Raj

    Another great underrated SG classic.

    • A J

      I concur.One of my favs!

  • azur Rienne

    If you read the autopsy and are knowledgeable about death, its clear that he did it immediately after the phone call, very determinedly, and was dead a while. To me that only points to her saying something terrible on the phone, like something that would make him think she wanted to leave him. She’s already admitted she accused him of doing hard drugs, so what else did she say. Afaik, he always hated LA, and being born Jewish, and having many songs referencing burial, I find it hard to believe he wanted to be cremated. I hate Vicki and blame her 100%.

    • Eleanor

      I appreciate your honesty…This could very well have some truth to it..