Chris Cornell, frontman for the seminal Seattle alternative band Soundgarden, died in the early morning hours of May 18, 2017, following the band’s performance at the Fox Theatre in Detroit the previous evening. The cause has yet to be determined.
Soundgarden has many stellar hi-res offerings on HDtracks at 192/24 and 96/24, and they’ve also been at the forefront of pushing the surround sound envelope in recent years as well. In 2014, Adam Kasper did the DTS virtual 11.1 headphones mix for the deluxe box-set version of Soundgarden’s Superunknown, and another 96/24 5.1 Kasper mix was included on Blu-ray in the 2016-released box set for Badmotorfinger. And Temple of the Dog, the one-off tribute project to Cornell’s fallen Seattle compatriot Andrew Wood, also saw a stellar 96/24 5.1 Kasper mix as part of a 25th anniversary box set released in September 2016.
One of the most powerful voices in rock, Cornell also helmed five diverse solo albums and three studio albums with Audioslave, the alt-supergroup he fronted along with members of Rage Against the Machine.
Cornell has always been one of my personal favorite singers of the modern rock era. I always marveled at the scope of his range (“Rusty Cage,” “Blow Up the Outside World”) and the emotionality he could induce, especially when he stripped songs down to their core acoustically (“Thank You,” “Imagine”). I had the privilege of seeing him perform numerous times during the initial alt-rock boom of the early ’90s, including at one event in a dark and literally grungy downtown NYC warehouse when the band launched Badmotorfinger. I also saw Audioslave blaze away in NYC in 2003. “I always loved how different they were. I was really proud of that,” Audioslave/Rage bassist Tim Commerford told me about the band in December 2016.
My final Soundgarden show was out at Jones Beach, Long Island, on July 9, 2011. I had a photo pass for the first three songs of the set (“Searching With My Good Eye Closed,” “Spoonman,” “Gun”), and was able to shoot Cornell and the band up close and personal doing what they loved to do, having just gotten back together after a long hiatus.
The man will be sorely missed. Say hello to heaven, dear sweet Chris.