On Wednesday, May 17th, Chris Cornell and his band Soundgarden played a show at the vaunted Fox Theater in Detroit. It wasn’t the singer’s best gig. According to reports by those in attendance, he seemed to be low-energy and missed a few of the lyrics to songs he’d been singing for decades. Nevertheless, the fans left the venue feeling relatively happy, with little inkling about what was to come.
Then, tragedy struck. According to published reports, Cornell’s wife tried to get a hold of him at some point that night, but couldn’t. She reached out to a friend, who forced their way into his hotel room at the MGM Grand Hotel where they found him on the floor of the bathroom with a band tied around his neck. Chris Cornell was gone. He was only 52 years old.
In the immediate aftermath of Cornell’s death, between the glowing tributes to his abilities as a songwriter, his deep humanity, his natural charisma, his otherworldly voice, and the enomrous void he leaves behind in the realm of rock and roll, another sentiment broke out across social media; protect Eddie Vedder at all costs. Gallows humor perhaps, but one that cuts to a deep and unsettling question: What does the future hold for the grunge generation?