Friday 19 May 2017

Farewell, Cornell

When i was 12,“ fell on black days” was my least favourite soundgarden single. It was too mellow for me (for a grunge song),and was in heavy rotation on muchmusic

. I was
Burned out on it over 20 yrs ago.
Now, its playing just after midnight on the day Chris Cornell took his own life, and i am quite moved,compelled to write.

The purpose of this post is threefold:


to celebrate a band i like


to comment on recent reactions to celebrity death


to voice my concerns on the ability of contemporary society to wrap its head around the real struggles of depression and suicidal ideation.


Down on the upside came out when i was 15. It was summertime and i was doing all i could to master musical technology, lugging a bass amp to family cabins, plugging vcrs into tape decks, saving up for my first cd burner. Pretty noose rocked my world just as much as bullet with butterfly wings did the year before,i taped it off much asap, i loved every video for the singles off that album,picjed up any guitar magazine that offering transcriptions of the songs. I never saw them play live,but soundgarden still provided me with many real experiences.

When i was young, first exposed to music, videos and other forms of popular culture, i lacked or rather did not apply the critical eye, the perspective with which i now see the 90s.

Of course not. Every riff i heard,every image i saw was simply absorbed into the sponge of my mimetic mind. Impressions of youth.



The primary reason why today there is an emerging culture of celebrity mourning: We currently have more names and facts about fampus people rattling around in our heads tjan at any previous point in time.

Nevermind the saints,royals,ancestors, protective spirits and local cults of old. Ignore the so called constellations of hollywoods old star system.

It is now, wired up and inspired to pursue each and every celeb obsession we can,after decades of north american cinema and literature and discography, that all previous canons of canonification are being buried beneath a deluge of information pertinant to the latest and ever quickly replaced engenues, hype acts,rock clowns, bad girls and boys whose units they wish we would shift. More celebrities equals more public deaths and more outpourings of grief sadness and other emoticons.

But when someone takes their own life,nobody knows what to say. RIP. Thanks for the tunes, the shows, the lyrics, the “backdrop to my adolescence”. What u will...

What shocked me about both cornells and robin williams’ suicides was that it seemed as though they had overcome their mental illness and strove thru depression to great accomplishment and success, established a comfortable,profitable career and reached a healthy and empowered middle age. I can only hope to do and share and work and travel so much by that pount in life. Im a little behind on the rock and movie-star trajectories of my life.

And yet... 

Chilling reminders that depression is a lifelong affliction, one with which i and many others will only ever learn to live in balance,not without and never completely free of. 

Maybe my life of simple culinary and cultural contribution is what saves me. Imagine having the legacy of a decades-long acting career, or the extra gravity of the superunknown weighing on your head along with  inevitable feelings of worthlessness and self-annihilation?


Our countrys current overdose crisis is being compared to the aids crises, really only a crisis and not simply a public health issue because it is one experienced by marginalised groups whose experience of life lies outside of and is terrifying for the mainstream conciousness to behold. I cant count on one hand the number of people i know even close friends to whom i would really feel comfortable describing my suicidal feelings.

It is a terrible burden to place on anyone,outside of artistic grounds,a poem, video, or piece of music that does more than parents and guidance counsellors to assure the traumatised, the neurotic, the anxious, the depressed and the psychotic that their frame of mind is not unique, that others feel the same way. A great track.on Superunknown is called “like suicide” ffs.

Solutions exist for people living in a world where a successful artist is still able to feel their life is worthless. But such solutions come at the price of bravery,great discomfort, and seemingly tireless persistance. If youre not ready to face your demons just yet, have no fear. Soon enough even the president wont have any other choice.

To quote mr Cornell

Sitting here like uninvited company
Wallowing in my own obscenity
Share a cigarette with negativity
Firing the pistol that shoots my holy pride
Leaning on the pedastal that holds my self denial
Standing here like wet ashes with exes in my eyes
Drawing flies


  1. 'Close your eyes and bow your head
    I need a little sympathy
    Cause fear is strong and love's for everyone
    Who isn't me
    So kill your health and kill yourself
    And kill everything you love
    And if you live you can fall to pieces
    And suffer with my ghost'

  2. People make too many bullshit excuses for a man who wrote a multitude of songs to suicide. His poor wife. Any fool who doesn't appreciate the situation... ...
    He did a tribute to Whitney. Cuz he understood power.
    Thanks Sam, for this post and for exposing me to so many things. For being patient with me in the early years, and for encouragement throughout the ages. May you live longer than I do.