By Gabriel J. Hernandez
Chris Cornell’s apparent suicide yesterday has left me both shocked and confused in more ways than I ever thought possible.
He was – literally – one of the main voices of an entire generation, as well as one of my personal all-time favorites. Additionally, he and his band, Soundgarden, had just begun what likely would have ended up a completely sold-out tour. They had just played a sold-out, two hour-plus show in Detroit, where many attendees described Chris as being exceptionally jovial and interactive with both the band and crowd … something he wasn’t generally known for.
This – to me, anyway – makes it even more heartbreaking, especially when you think about how anyone can go from being in such a seemingly wonderful place – onstage, in front of thousands of adoring fans, jamming his ass off with long-time friends that helped each other become one of the world’s most respected and admired bands and singer/songwriters of our time – to ending up in an empty hotel room, in such apparent and intolerable despair to the point where he ultimately convinced himself the only way out was to take his own life.
Add the fact that he left behind a wife (his second), two daughters (one from his first marriage) and a son, and it truly is a tragedy of epic proportions, and one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. If ever.
A writer from People magazine, who also attended the show and came away with many of the same observations mentioned above, summed it all up like this:
“To go from the stage and that crowd to the despair that one would feel to take their [own] life in such a way… It’s [truly] a profound way to hurt yourself. It had to be a very deep pain to get someone to step out of life, with their kids in their life, a pretty profound hurt. That is one of the tragedies of suicide and mental illness and depression.”
To all my friends, colleagues, acquaintances, or anyone else who may read this … if you’re feeling this level of despair, or having thoughts that come anywhere close to those that Chris may have been feeling two nights ago, for God’s sake REACH OUT AND TALK TO SOMEONE!!! Additionally, if you happen to know someone who may be having or experiencing thoughts of suicide or hurting themselves, for God’s sake REACH OUT TO THEM AND TALK TO THEM!!! Please … before it’s too late. Because this suicide shit is getting old.
Gabriel J. Hernandez is the owner of Blues Vintage Guitars, Inc., a guitar shop in Nashville, Tennessee, specializing in the buying and selling of vintage and newer high-end guitars and gear. He is also an accomplished writer, having earned a B.S. in Journalism from The University of Florida in 1988. Over a 25-year career he has worked as an investigative journalist for several news organizations and publishing companies, as a staff sports writer for The Palm Beach Post, and most recently as the Web Editor for Gibson Guitars at the company’s worldwide headquarters in Nashville. Hernandez has played guitar since the age of six, and has been fascinated (some say obsessed) by the instrument – and music in general – ever since. You can reach him any time at 1-615-613-1389, or visit his company’s web site at http://www.bluesvintageguitars.com.