Chris Cornell of SoundgardenFuck.

Chris Cornell? Really?

Waking up to the news that one of your icons is gone sucks big hairy ones. And having the news be that it was at his own hand sucks even more… I mean with songs like “Pretty Noose,” “Fell On Black Days”,”Like Suicide” and “Rusty Cage”… maybe it shouldn’t be a huge surprise, and yet it is so fucking sad.

Because it’s one thing to be taken by physical illness and another by mental illness…

What’s eerie is that just a couple of days ago, I grabbed Louder Than Love and popped it into the car stereo because I hadn’t listened to it or any other Soundgarden album in ages.  I was feeling nostalgic, thinking about finally seeing them in concert** when I moved to Vancouver and they’d got back together to tour (I also saw Chris Cornell on a solo tour once and playing a few songs with Pearl Jam at one of their concerts) . It made me think, too, about all those nights of being a teenager, listening to Superunknown and Badmotorfinger and feeling transported into a world that I felt like I knew intimately and yet was simultaneously so alien to me. Feeling my world shrink and grow at the same time.

(I had a massive poster in my bedroom of Pearl Jam performing at Magnuson Park in Seattle and it felt like it was on another planet and yet I could imagine myself as being in the crowd… now I live a few hours away from there)

Listening to words that put my own jumbled, adolescent, laughably “deep” thoughts into more eloquent packages…. That was what these songs were for me.  A way to make sense of things. A way to not feel so alone. ( I mean let’s face it – most teenagers feel like no one understands them, so this was like finding a friend who just “got it”). Listening to angsty, loud, but non-threatening stuff like grunge was a way to cry or rage or hate everything with impunity… Of course I also developed my taste in men based on the likes of Cornell and Vedder…  and ja, maybe listening to bands like Soundgarden or Temple of the Dog or Pearl Jam was also a way to even to feel a little bit cool, because grunge wasn’t something most people in South Africa were in to at the time…

So ja. What can I say, except this fucking sucks.

And it reminds me of what I’ve said in a previous post after Robin Williams died: if someone with all the resources, support, money, admiration (as evidenced by the outpouring of love and grief upon his death) feels he has no other option than to self destruct, it becomes even more evident how much more we need to talk about depression and share our experiences.

Because nothing should be louder than love.


** Bizarrely, too, the “On this Day” feature on Facebook showed me that on this exact day in 2011, I was lamenting that my S.O. had ruined his own birthday surprise by wanting to buy tickets to Soundgarden when I’d already got them