Friend Remembers Chris Cornell Discussing Suicidal Thoughts Years Ago


Chris Cornell’s friend Andrew Berenyi posted a touching tribute several weeks ago. Read the tribute in its entirety below:


chris cornell. in memorium.

this is hard to write and get …right.

so please bear with me, and try to excuse me if i come across in any way inappropriate. this stuff is hard…so here goes….

i don’t want this to be some name dropping excercise or something that seems to be some kinda self aggrandizing bullshit coming from a messed up and perverse place in my head. i just want to make some remarks about chris, and perhaps clear up some things for some mutual friends and aquaintences, but most of all, pay my respects, and honour MY friend, and someone i consider to be one of the greatest rock n roll performers, certainly of his generation, and for generations before and certainly to come.

i met chris at a place i can’t disclose because i want to honour the man, not start up some kind of arena for gossip and bullshit and guessing.

he and i struggled with some of the same things.

and it was within and around that struggle that we fought side by side for a time, until life took its turns and we headed off in our own directions.

i’ll say that i knew chris cornell pretty well, though it was very surprising that we got on so well, so quickly and had so much in common. after all, his success FAR FAR out did mine, and yet, he didn’t see that, and neither did i. i think there was a moment where none of that mattered. he knew what i did and i knew what he had done, and we admired each other equally in our fields of professional endeavor.

i have been in some amount of shock since i heard the news of his passing, in fact the first time i heard of it, i don’t think my brain could quite take it in. someone told me, and it just went right past as if i hadnt heard it at all. so i didn’t react. i didn’t cry. i didn’t say anything. i didn’t say goodbye, no prayers, or mourning or anything like that. that’s just starting now.

i guess one thing i would like to make clear, is that people in general, tend to forget that people who stand out in their field, like rock stars, are somehow …”other”. like, not one of the “real people”. in fact, the opposite is the case, i believe. that is to say, that somebody like chris, is at the end of the day, and in the face of mortality, simply..a guy. a mortal.
chris cornell was tall, muscular, very handsome, yes, a rock star, an amazing and creative singer and performer, and a husband and father, and a …guy. just a guy. a really cool guy,
i was aquainted with several members of several of the musical projects he had been involved with, and was in the position of reuniting him with some long missed friends at one point. and i was proud. i was happy to see him meet an old friend again after a long time. and i had the pleasure of hearing them tell their stories of what had been going on over the years since they’d last worked together and that kinda stuff is priceless.

as a singer, and performer, i felt i had the chance to perhaps learn a lot from him when we first met. we went to dinner, or had long telephone conversations, where alll we talked about was …singing. just singing, and how hard it often is to get it right. we both felt that the voice is one of the most difficult “instruments” to play. that humidity, altitude, mood, confidence, all these things affect a singer so much more than ….any other instrument, really.

truth is, i was taken aback very much, when he told me i was intimidating to HIM! that is, before we ever spoke but were seeing each other around because of some other things we had in common, which don’t bear discussion. so we were intimidating to each other, before we actually engaged. which was interesting. he told me a lot about himself, and vice versa. he was a very articuluate, friendly and almost child-like dude in some ways, and perhaps one of the most humble men of that kind of public stature i have ever met.

and he had demons. just like me.bad ones. his daughter had been born not too long before we met, and he was very proud of her. and very attentive. he was having some marital problems as was i, at the time. i quickly forgot that i was hanging around the the rock star chris cornell, and he was just…my friend. i invited him to a halloween party at my friend kenji’s house in long beach CA. i was in drag, and i think he dug that, and he didn’t bother with a costume that night. but as we just shot the shit with each other that partticular night, i began to notice that people were gathered in close to us, and seemed to be in a little bit of disbelief that this “god” and i were sitting there, just ….shooting the shit. and they stared. but no one bothered us. after all, he was just a guy. right? and i was just a guy, though i was considerably more feminine in my little black party dress. hahaha!!!
once, he did the most astonishing thing. he introduced me to the crowd, at lollapalooza in san diego CA, and a huge blinding followspot, fell upon me in the middle of 30 thousand very enthusiastic audioslave fans. which made me proud again. who wouldn’t be? i was his friend. and he was mine. to be honest, i don’t know how many of those he truly had. maybe like the rest of us, not so many. i was in some quandry about whether i should even tell anyone this stuff, because i respected him, and i think that if things were opposite way round, he’d have felt the same way. i feel like i’m doing the biggest name drop in the world. but then again, if ANY of my good friends had passed away last week, i’d try and relate to my other friends, how much i missed him/her, and some of the moments we shared that were brillant memories. so that’s what this is.

chris, a LOT of us will miss you very much, and the thought that we’ll never hear THAT VOICE coming out of that big chest in real life again, that i’ll never be able to shake your hand and have a hug, and maybe you grab my ass or some play like that shit you used to do, is hard to deal with. you were just a guy. a very special guy with some oddities that made you ….YOU–well, i’m gonna miss you a ton my friend. and i wish you were still around to encourage me, and to agg me on to do some crazy stuff, with you, or just knowing your’e out there watching, trust me man, i’d put a follow spot on you too. anytime. you saw me. i saw you. and we shared some really cool little moments, that most people don’t ever get to have.not with me, or you anyway.

one thing though, chris. you scared me man. the night you told me that you had a beautiful new daughter, a fast black car in the parking lot outside the hotel, that you had a pretty new girlfriend, millions of dollars and all the fame a guy could ever desire,and you still thought “how can i get on the roof of this place, and take my last jump” and that you didn’t know where those thoughts came from, especially considering that you had more cool stuff than you had dreamed you’d have, you scared me. so when i got the news last week, somehow i wasnt surprised. the only thing we did NOT have in common i have sometimes thought, was the ability to actually carry out that thought. that you actually listened to “that ugly voice” inside you…especially considering that you had THAT VOICE that would lead almost anyone to doubt that you’d EVER lose that fight. i didn’t think you would. not REALLY. but i’ve seen it take others, and it’ll always be there for most of us. i guess.i just know that i couldn’t have done it. and i’m not mad at you…yet. perhaps that’ll be coming along presently.

i will miss you man. i mean it. and yeah, i’ll probably get mad at you for leaving us all here without you,. but you left some stuff behind, that’ll help ease the fact that YOU are not here anymore.

i wish you hadn’t. but i don’t blame you.

i think i get it.

i pray that you’re at peace with that final decision.

love you man.

catch ya on the flip.