Chris Cornell

Tribute: Chris Cornell

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I’m in absolute shock over the news of Chris Cornell. It’s mind boggling to think that he is gone. Chris had such a profound impact on rock music with his voice, lyrics, and songwriting. I would even put Chris on the list of greatest singers ever. I remember the first time I heard Soundgarden way back when I was a little kid around 7 or 8 and “Outshined” came on. I was mesmerized by it. My mom was really into it and she’s the one that went out and bought Bad Motor Finger. From that point, I was hooked on Soundgarden. I spent many a night when I was young listening to music and studying the lyrics of my favorites. Chris Cornell had such a poetic touch to his words. My personal favorite Soundgarden album is Down On The Upside. There is something about that album that really hits home. I can’t tell you what, but, there is something really magical about that record.

When I heard that Chris had joined forces with the remaining members of Rage Against The Machine, I was beyond excited. Then I heard “Cochise” and was instantly sold. Audioslave became such a great vehicle for Chris to expand his already poetic sensibilities, and share a different side of himself. It wasn’t until the bands last album Revelations, that Audioslave truly found their sound but, Chris really went for it lyrically and vocally on that album. Check out the songs “Wide Awake” and “Moth” and you’ll hear what I mean.

I feel lucky to have seen Chris perform 4 times over the years. Twice with Audioslave, once solo, and once with Soundgarden when they toured with Nine Inch Nails a few years ago. Chris was always great live. His presence on stage was gripping and captivating. I’ve had this thought for a while that, if Robert Plant really didn’t want to be a part of doing shows with Led Zeppelin that, they should get Chris Cornell to fill the spot. If you think about it, you know that would be something great and amazing.

Here’s to all the great music and words Chris left us. His legacy is intact with great songs and performances. I feel for his children. I hope at some point they can come to terms with this loss.

 

Here are a few of my favorite songs Chris has been a part of.

Soundgarden-

Burden In My Hand:

 

Fell On Black Days:

 

4th Of July:

 

Outshined:

 

Audioslave-

Cochise:

 

Wide Awake:

 

Moth:

 

Chris Solo-

 

Temple Of The Dog-

Say Hello To Heaven:

That Was A Bad Idea: Audioslave Playing Rage Songs

 

 

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This new feature is another fun one. I get to show you all things that just were really bad ideas. There are so many bad ideas in music, and I feel compelled to share them with you all and get your opinions.

For the first bad idea let us start with Audioslave deciding to play Rage Against The Machine songs as well as Soundgarden songs (but those aren’t as bad as the RAGE part). This was a bad idea. The idea of Audioslave is a good idea, but this was atrocious. First off different vocalist with a completely different range and personality. Chris Cornell for all the great vocal performances, really doesn’t do this song or any of the Rage songs they played justice. It seems forced and uninspired. Audioslave played “Killin In The Name Of,” “Sleep Now In The Fire,” and “Bulls on Parade.” each one was worse than the other. I sadly witnessed this live when Audioslave started touring on their second album, the very underwhelming Out Of Exile. Note that when they first came out the didn’t play any of their previous bands songs. The Soundgarden songs fall short as well. You could tell that Chris, was over those songs and wanted to move on from that part of his life. Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk are great at their instruments but the way they played the Soundgarden songs, it just didn’t feel right. Their unique styles just don’t convey the songs the way the original players did.

I really want to know who suggested the band play their old bands songs. Was this a management or record label decision? Who ever thought of this is an idiot. The only ever time an idea like this worked, and I mean the ONLY TIME, is when Joe Walsh became a member of the Eagles, and they would perform Rocky Mountain Way.

Anyways, here are Audioslave’s performances of them performing Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden songs. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

 

Killin In The Name:

 

Bulls On Parade & Sleep Now In The Fire:

 

Spoonman:

 

Outshined:

 

Album Anniversary: Temple Of The Dog

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It’s crazy to think that it’s been 25 years since Temple Of The Dog released their one and only album. For those that don’t know, this band and album was a tribute to singer Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone (The band before Pearl Jam). This is one of those albums that still stand the test of time. I remember first hearing “Say Hello To Heaven” and “Hunger Strike” and being totally in awe of how good those songs were. Not to mention the guitar solo by Mike McCready on “Reach Down.” Seriously, Mike is one of the most underrated guitar players in the last 25 years. The entire album is from start to finish tremendous. There are a few things I find very interesting about this album. One, that it was made and released before Soundgarden put out Bad Motor Finger. Two, “Say Hello 2 Heaven” and “Reach Down” were written by Cornell in direct response to Andrew Wood’s death. While the rest of the songs were written about various topics. This is one of those albums that should be in everyone’s collection. It’s just so damn good.

 

Temple Of The Dog:

Unsung Masterpieces: Audioslave- Revelations

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When Audioslave broke on to the music scene they were met with very high expectations. Their debut album was a really great album, full of great songs and a renewed sense of energy for each other the members. Their second album was hit and miss. There were some really good songs but as a whole it just didn’t come across as well. When Audioslave released their third album Revelations, they finally hit the mark and found their sound. This would be their final album sadly. Rather than working with Rick Rubin on this album the band chose Brendan O’Brien, with whom both Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden have worked with in the past. Brendan was able to really capture the essence of what this band is and was. There are more influences on this album as well delving into funk and soul. This was also the first album which Chris Cornell was sober during the making of. Audioslave did not tour on this album, instead they broke up.

Revelations though as their swan song is brilliant. The first song “Revelations” really sets the tone for the album. It’s such a great song. The songs “Wide Awake” and “Shape of Things to Come” were prominently featured in Michael Mann’s horrible film adaption of Miami Vice. Both of these songs are tremendous. “Wide Awake,” evokes some political angst as well. The song is about Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. “Until We Fall,” is another song that really shows the progression of Audioslave. The closing song “Moth” is a bit of foreshadowing for what was about to happen to the band. The song is powerful and one of the most inspiring songs on the album. Chris Cornell’s voice really shines on this song (along with “Wide Awake”).

The entire band was clicking on all cylinders one this album. It’s shame they couldn’t last longer. Thankfully there have been news reports as of late that both Tom Morello and Chris Cornell said they would be open to working together again. Let’s hope so. I would love to see Audioslave return.

Audioslave- Revelations:

Cover Comparison: Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington vs Corey Taylor and Lzzy Hale

When I first heard “Hunger Strike” when I was a kid, I was absolutely blown away. The sheer magnitude of vocals from Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder… WOW! That Temple Of The Dog album is still one of the best albums of the 90’s in my opinion. Sadly though so many people have tried to cover “Hunger Strike” and fail miserably. A few years back Chris Cornell joined Chester Bennington on stage to do a version of it. And recently Corey Taylor joined Halestorm at an awards show to do a cover of it as well. Both versions are pretty bad in their own right. I’m curious as to which one you all prefer.

Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington:

Halestorm and Corey Taylor:

The Original:

Live Review: Nine Inch Nails at the Hollywood Bowl

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Plain and simple, Nine Inch Nails live, is a beast. Whether it is on their albums or live show, they are very hard to top. Last night I had the pleasure of attending what is now my thirteenth Nine Inch Nails show. And they did not disappoint me. Watching Trent Reznor and his band on stage is hypnotizing. More on Nine Inch Nails in a moment.

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Starting off the show was Cold Cave. Fronted by Wesley Eisold, former vocalist of the hardcore group Give Up The Ghost (originally named American Nightmare). Their music is as though Joy Division and Disintegration era The Cure had a child. Its mix of new wave and synth pop is infectious, and the perfect type of group to open the show. Though their set was only 25 minutes, they brought a ton of energy and personality. They are one band I’d really enjoy seeing at a small club.

Next up was Soundgarden. I’ve been waiting years to see them live. Maybe my expectations were too high, but Soundgarden was boring and had no energy. Their set list was a short hodgepodge of songs from Louder Than Love, Bad Motor Finger, Superunknown and their latest (and hugely disappointing) King Animal. The only person on stage that had any energy or passion in their playing was Matt Chamberlain (Matt Cameron is too busy with Pearl Jam). The highlight of their set was when they played “Fell On Black Days,” but even that lacked anything. Chris Cornell seems like he can’t sing anymore. Musically the band still rocks, but they are boring as hell. Kim Thayill looked like a statue all night. Ben Sheppard had some moves but you could tell he was winded by the 5th song. It’s a real shame, because they were once so good. Now they are barely a shell of what they once were.

The main event of the night of course was Nine Inch Nails. Their stage set up and visuals were stunning. Though only having about an hour and a half, the set list blazed through much of their classics as well as some new gems. When Trent came out on stage alone kicking things off with “Copy of A” from Hesitation Marks, the roar of the crowd was astonishing. Joining him on stage were Robin Finck (guitar), Ilan Rubin (drums) and Alessandro Cortini (synths). The light walls that backed the band for the first few songs really draw in the attention of the crowd. By the fifth song “March Of The Pigs” everyone in attendance was on their feet and singing along in unison. The sea of hands and fists in the air was awesome. There are certain Nine Inch Nails songs that really get me beyond excited, so when they played “Gave Up,” “Eraser,” “Terrible Lie,” “Wish” and “The Great Destroyer,” I could feel my vocal cords hating me from singing so loud. Though their set was only an hour and a half, they were unrelenting and made sure that everyone in the crowd got their moneys worth.

Even with Soundgarden being a bummer, it was a great night. the combination of Nine Inch Nails, my fiance and a couple great friends made this a memorable show. Trent and company never let you down. If you have never seen Nine Inch Nails live, I suggest you pony up some bucks and see them. You won’t regret the money you spent.

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Nine Inch Nails Setlist:

1. Copy Of A
2. Sanctified
3. Came Back Haunted
4. 1,000,000
5. March Of The Pigs
6. Piggy
7. Terrible Lie
8. Closer
9. Gave Up
10. Disappointed
11. Find My Way
12. The Great Destoyer
13. Eraser
14. Wish
15. The Hand That Feeds
16. Head Like A Hole

Encore:
17. Hurt

Soundgarden Setlist:

1. Searching With My Good Eye Closed
2. Spoonman
3. Gun
4. Outshined
5. Jesus Christ Pose
6. The Day I Tried To Live
7. My Wave
8. Fell On Black Days
9. A Thousand Days Before
10. Rusty Cage
11. Black Hole Sun
12. Beyond The Wheel

 

Photos by: Alisa Diaz and her phone

 

By: Brian Lacy