This morning the music community woke up to the horrific news that Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell has died at 52, and that police are reportedly investigating it as a suicide. The news is particularly tough to deal with considering Soundgarden had just played a show last night — footage of that performance is now available.
Today, Rolling Stone published an interview that was conducted with filmmaker Cameron Crowe weeks before Cornell died, in reference to Crowe’s film Singles which was inspired by and heavily focuses on the grunge scene in Seattle that Cornell was a part of. In fact, unreleased songs from Cornell are coming out tomorrow via the Poncier EP which is part of the soundtrack reissue. Of course, a huge part of the appeal of this film — which came out in 1992 — has always been the iconic soundtrack, which includes contributions from Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and more — mostly from before the bands were really famous. Given the soundtrack is being reissued tomorrow, 5/19, and Crowe spoke to Rolling Stone about some history on the film in advance of the new release.
In the interview, Crowe reveals that after he had envisioned the film’s lead singer, Cliff Poncier, Cornell went on to make an entire tape as Cliff Poncier to help flesh the character out for the film, and that “Spoonman” was originally from that fictitious tape. Crowe even says he wanted Cornell to play the role, but it became too much in the end. Eventually, his songs were worked into the film’s soundtrack and he helped with the score, but it’s a moving anecdote that is difficult to read today, but is important because it highlights the best parts about that community, and Cornell himself.