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Chris Cornell Dead at 52

Fuck.

I'm so bummed right now. I want to commemorate Chris Cornell, one of the most influential and inspiring musicians in my life. I'm finding that difficult though. As with his fellow grunge pioneers Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley, Chris' death is being considered, "an apparent suicide." FUCK!

Hello, don't you know me?

Chris came into the spotlight as the growling, gritty, lead vocalist in Soundgarden. Their album Superunknown was easily one of the best to come out of the 90s, with a combination of tracks that were both radio-friendly and subversive. Every single track on that album was excellent, spawning 5 singles. Even the Token-Eastern track Half was inspired. It is rare for any band to release an album that strong from beginning to end, and Chris was a big part of that accomplishment.

I'm the dirt beneath your feet.

But beyond his hits in Soundgarden, Audioslave, and a successful solo career, Chris was humble enough to dedicate a lot of his time and creativity to covering the music he loved. It is amazing how many acoustic covers he has performed. From this haunting performance of Billie Jean, to this comical acoustic mashup of U2's One with Metallica's One. And for those of you that remember Temple of the Dog's popular Hunger Strike, with Eddie Vedder, was itself a part of a tribute to his fallen roommate Andrew Wood.

The most important fool, you forgot to see.

I'm so fucking angry right now, as I type this, but I'm not angry at Chris. I'm angry at this society that continues to stigmatize mental illness. Hell even the phrase "mental illness" is stigmatic. How many people will we continue to lose, needlessly. We don't ignore cancer. We don't ignore AIDS. Yet we continue to casually ignore a disease that is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. What the fuck? Why does this keep going on? You know this won't change anything either. I'm filled with impotent rage in the face of this appalling apathy.

Reader Comments 12

Sad news, indeed. Such a voice!
May 18, 2017  | person_outline Qlas Beast
I am so bummed.

Ironically, I sadly remember a long ago Lalapalooza(one with SG and PJam).

E>Vedder had to come out and sing the SoundGarden songs since CC was so obviously out of his mind on stage.

He lived a live in his own rusty cage.

I hope he is now free.
May 18, 2017  | person TBIRD
In the USA we don't just ignore so-called mental illness. We throw chemicals at it that make people worse. Antidepressants tend to make people more impulsive and that's bad for suicidal ideation (as well as bad for finances/credit, relationships, jobs...). Then the drugs also cause physiological addictions who's withdrawal effects mimic the symptoms the drugs are supposed to "treat", making people think they are relapsing, which puts pressure on people to continue to use drugs that aren't affecting (and cannot affect) the cause of the depression.

I've never met a person with "mental illness" who's "illness" happened all on its own; there was always abuse, trauma, or situational issues (most often causing harm to their sense of agency) at the root of it. The chemical imbalance hypothesis has not proven to be correct and even the psychiatry system is slowly shifting away from repeating that pharmaceutical company-invented myth. But not fast enough to disrupt the entrenched belief in psych drugs as a fix.

Our society is toxic and puts the emotional consequences on the shoulders of the individuals sensitive enough to be affected, rather than seeking to correct the systemic problems that make it toxic. Then people are told what "the help they need" is instead of being asked. They're stigmatized for being down, stigmatized for taking psych drugs after being pressured to use them, and then criticized for stopping those same drugs (the long-term adverse effects of psych drugs are poo-pooed by pharmaceutical companies and not understood by healthcare professionals, and the statistics show that people become worse than the potentially ephemeral original issues that got them pressured into taking psych drugs).

On top of it all, suicide is criminalized and treated like a sin, when it's really a person's biological need to stop suffering that triggers the death wish. Who cares about why they want to die, let's just ignore that and make them feel bad about it. Let's take away their last hope of taking control by throwing them into a psych ward, robbing them of any remaining sense of free agency and further modify their brain chemistry with unproven drugs. Why? Because we don't want to take responsibility for creating damaged people. We don't want to admit that anyone can be hurt so badly by just living here that we have to make up reasons to call them out as "chemically imbalanced" so we can pretend "it'll never happen to me because I don't have that kind of brain".

Sorry for the rant but this topic is definitely a trigger for me. The way human emotions are treated in the USA is appalling. It's appalling elsewhere too, but the arrogant claims of superior healthcare and freedom and justice in the face of an epidemic of depression and PTSD is just too much to let slide. The use of psych drugs is higher in the USA than anywhere else and the statistics for recovery from so-called mental health problems in the USA are abysmal. Not addressing the causes and then pretending to do so while making people worse off is a crime against civilization.
I feel you Tim, this news is very sad. My biggest musical influence (and hero), Keith Emerson, perished under apparently similar circumstances just 14 months ago and I still feel the loss every day. Not a super fan, but I really liked Audioslave and Soundgarden a lot. I know Chris was a hell of a talent and will be sorely missed by many.

You and @dysamoria make honest and sobering points about mental health (or lack thereof) in the USA. What we do about it, I don't know, but at least we're discussing it and hopefully can spread some awareness as a start.
This article is very well-written. Thank you for speaking from the heart.
May 18, 2017  | person Keeeth
Tim,
These are my exact sentiments. Today was a day of reflection on this topic. Unfortunately, too many politicians don't have the will to address mental health. It saddens me to realize we are no closer to tackling this disease that has plagued human kind.
May 19, 2017  | person_outline NotRightRabbit
Thank you, Tim. Your sincerity is always appreciated.
Mental health is a complex issue to deal with and above all each person is an individual and how their issues are addressed is more effective when they understand and choose options rather than having them imposed upon them or they are not engaged in the process.

As with any health issue, stress can exacerbate existing conditions. Hopefully a commitment of more resources and understanding will enable people to cope better with mental health challenges so they can lead more fulfilling lives and receive timely support when they're vulnerable.
My wife and I have both been diagnosed with Bi-polar illness mine is from a documented long history of mental health issues in my family. My wife suffers not only Bi Polar, Obssessive Compulsive Disorder, Fibromyalgia and Borderline personality disorder. So I believe I am somewhat qualified to have a say in this.

Firstly part of what dysamoria said rings true some of it doesn't at least to me. My wife and I both take anti-depressants and we both take anti-psychotics plus we eat strong marijuana edibles every single night, I also smoke as much marijuana as possible during the day as long as I am not working. My depression manifests itself as rage. The weed calms me so I can chill out more.

Now for the part some won't like or agree with. If any of these elements are missing either the legal or illegal we can't function. It is this combination that allows us to be functional.

So saying the Big Pharma part of it doesn't help in any case is simple minded nonsense.

I live in Australia not the U.S. so I have a modicum better life. We call it living the dream.
Yeah some dream, both of us are under-employed, my wife does massage on the side to earn enough to pay our bills. We do own property but at our age we need to. I am 54 she is 50.

Enough of my rant,

Back to your regularly scheduled program
May 19, 2017  | person That guy
Well ranted, dysamoria and others.
May 19, 2017  | person Roikat
I'm also a medical doctor in my other life and all I can say is that is hard to treat something that cannot be measured, for something that has no lab values. Mental disease is entirely subjective and not quantifiable. It is a pity in those sorts that then we rely on psychiatry, psychology, and in extreme cases para psychology. It's terrible about Chris, but as the Germans and Austrian artists of old, he might have had too much Angst in his breast. The passion that drives an artist and the highs and lows, similar to Bipolar disease take their toll over the years till the eventual suicide. Failure eats you like cancer eventually, whether imagined or real. Rest in peace dear Artist. Society is usually too bourgeois to understand the Artist. Adieu.
May 19, 2017  | person psysword
Having not really listened to Soundgarden or Audioslave, I'll always remember Chris for the BEST BOND THEME.
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