The 17 year old me was devastated when Kurt Cobain died in 1994. Literally devastated. I cried, I was angry and most of all I was confused. Fast forward to 2002 and it hit again, this time with Layne Staley. Admittedly, Layne Stayley was no surprise, he’d been mostly missing since 1999, and then in 2015, Scott Weiland.
This Thursday, while at work, I received a text from my wife simply saying: “Did you see that Chris Cornell is dead?”.
Boom. I just sat there for a good half-hour looking at the wall. All I felt was empty. Lethargic, but with goosebumps. I didn’t cry this time, but damn, it was pretty close.
Four of my teen heroes, four grunge pioneers are gone — all of them too soon. There are others who should be added to this list as well, Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon), and Andy Wood (Mother Love Bone) comes to mind, but in my musical universe they were more peripheral.
Of course, I didn’t know Kurt, Layne, Scott or Chris. But they were vital in my formative teen years, the residue of that is still present to this very day. In part they’ve helped define who I am.
How is it that people you don’t know personally can have such a huge impact on you? How can you actually feel such a deep personal loss for someone you have never met?
Yes, the music lives on. It’s not like I’ll stop listening to any of it, but knowing that there will be no more, knowing that I won’t see any of these live, feels unreal. At least my son got to see Audioslave live a few years ago, sadly I missed out on that one.
All the things I’ve been able to ignore, all of a sudden become so evident. So clear. So in-your-face that you simply can’t elect to ignore it anymore. I am not a religious person. I’m definitely an atheist, and I have zero faith in any powerful deity impacting our world what-so-ever (and admittedy I have real problems understanding people who do) — but have come to the realisation that our time on this planet is finite. You have to make the best of it, while you can. What you define as best, well, that’s up to you. But make sure that you fill it with something that makes you, and those around you, happy.
Perhaps all I’m showing here is that at the ripe age of 40, I’ve finally come to grips with my own mortality?
Thank you Kurt, Layne, Scott and Chris. Thank you for the music, thank you for the memories, thank you for everything. You provided the soundtrack of my life, and you will continue to do so until the day I’m no longer breathing. Without you, my life would be so much poorer, and for that I’m eternally grateful.
Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden and Audioslave has been a huge part of the soundtrack of my life. And now, those who provided those original voices are all silenced. The stage is nearly empty.
Now, as Tim said, let’s make sure Eddie Vedder stays safe and alive. I can’t bare to think of losing him as well.
As for Chris, he said it best himself
Stuttering, cold and damp
Steal the warm wind tired friend
Times are gone for honest men
And sometimes far too long for snakes
In my shoes, a walking sleep
And my youth I pray to keep
Heaven sent hell away
No one sings like you anymore