Friday, May 19, 2017

Chris Cornell, Christ, Corn, and the Jesus Christ Pose

How are William Earl Brown and Eric Roberts doing?

Chris Cornell ~ Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart (2015)

I previously spoke here of Corn, Christ and Osiris. It appears to have come home to roost in this week's celebrity self-death.

Do note that the suicide of May 17th detailed below was followed immediately by the Richard Rojas/Times Square attempted suicide-by-cop incident of May 18, 2017. See here.

Richard Rojas was "swatched" widely by the media, online and on-air, after his deadly deed ended with his own personal "Christ pose."

Across social media, there have been many reactions to the suicide of Chris Cornell. From Zach Bauer's "Corn-ell. 17 (1+7=infinity) Maize, May" to others pointing out "Chris Cornell" = "Christ" + "Corn." You do not need me to repeat all of those. But certainly, the syncs are there.

On May 17, 2017, Chris Cornell was found dead in the bathroom of his room at the MGM Grand in Detroit, Michigan, after performing at a show with Soundgarden at the Fox Theatre. The cause of death was determined to be suicide by hanging. Cornell was 52 years old.

The problem is, no one really knows what run-of-the-mill depression is. You'll think somebody has run-of-the-mill depression, and then the next thing you know, they're hanging from a rope. It's hard to tell the difference. ~ Chris Cornell

When interviewed after Cornell's death, his wife Vicky has questioned whether he would intentionally take his own life. She stated that during a phone conversation, her husband was "slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him. What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life."

Chris Cornell (born Christopher John Boyle; July 20, 1964 – May 17, 2017) was known for his role as one of the architects of the 1990s grunge movement. He was an American musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter and rhythm guitarist for Seattle rock band Soundgarden and as lead vocalist and songwriter for the group Audioslave. He was also known for his numerous solo works and soundtrack contributions since 1991, and as founder and frontman for Temple of the Dog, the one-off tribute band dedicated to his late friend Andrew Wood.

L to R: Layne Staley, Alice in Chains (deceased); Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam (living); Kurt Cobain, Nirvana (deceased); Chris Cornell, Soundgarden (deceased).

Ian Curtis

In the early hours of 18 May 1980, Joy Division's founder and leader Ian Curtis died by hanging himself in the kitchen of his house at No. 77 Barton Street, Macclesfield, at the age of 23. Curtis had just viewed Werner Herzog's 1977 film Stroszek and listened to his inspiration Iggy Pop's album The Idiot. His wife found Curtis's body the next morning; he had used the kitchen's washing line. 

Layne Staley

On April 19, 2002, Staley's accountants contacted Staley's former manager Susan Silver and informed her that no money had been withdrawn from the singer's bank account in two weeks. Silver then contacted Staley's mother Nancy McCallum, who placed a call with 911 to say she hadn't heard from him "in about two weeks." The police went with McCallum and her ex-husband to Staley's home; "When police kicked in the door to Layne Staley's University District apartment on April 19, there, laying on a couch, lit by a flickering TV, next to several spray-paint cans on the floor, not far from a small stash of cocaine, near two crack pipes on the coffee table reposed the remains of the rock musician." It was reported that the 6 foot (1.8 metres) Staley weighed only 86 pounds (39 kg) when his body was discovered. McCallum recalled the moment she encountered Staley's body, after she was advised not to do so by the police. "The police first went in and then they said − I said, well, I need to go in and be with him. And they said, “Oh I wouldn’t do that.” And I said, “I can do this.” I’ve always promised myself that if anything happened to my children I would be there for them. And I went in, and he was tiny and I thought at first that he had made like a life-sized mannequin of himself because he had lots and lots of art projects always. And I thought, you know, somebody could have thrown that little guy over their shoulder and walked down the street and nobody would have even know that it was a real, and I sat with him for a few minutes. And I told him that I was really sorry how things had turned out...."

In an interview on VH1's Celebrity Rehab with McCallum, former Alice in Chains bass player Mike Starr said that he spent time with Staley the day before he died as Starr's birthday was April 4. Starr claimed that Staley was very sick but would not call 911. The two ex-bandmates briefly argued, which ended with Starr storming out. Starr stated that Staley called after him as he left: "Not like this, don't leave like this". Since Staley is believed to have died a day later, on April 5, Starr expressed regret that he did not call 911 to save his friend's life; Starr reported that Staley had threatened to sever their friendship if he did. Starr was the last known person to see Staley alive. The interview ended with Starr apologizing to McCallum for not calling 911, but McCallum was insistent that neither she nor anyone in her family blamed Starr for Staley's death. She also told Starr: "Layne would forgive you. He'd say, 'Hey, I did this. Not you.'" With that said, Starr still blamed himself for the death of Staley. Starr kept this story a secret until his appearance on Celebrity Rehab in August 2009. Starr was found dead on March 8, 2011 as a result of prescription drug overdose. During this same interview, McCallum also claimed that Staley had attempted rehab 13 times, although it is not clear whether any of these attempts were during his reclusive years.

Kurt Cobain

On April 8, 1994, Kurt Cobain's body was discovered at his Lake Washington Boulevard home by electrician Gary Smith who had arrived to install a security system. Apart from a minor amount of blood coming out of Cobain's ear, the electrician reported seeing no visible signs of trauma, and initially believed that Cobain was asleep until he saw the shotgun pointing at his chin. A note was found, addressed to Cobain's childhood imaginary friend Boddah, that stated that Cobain had not "felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music, along with really writing [...] for too many years now". A high concentration of heroin and traces of diazepam were also found in his body. Cobain's body had been lying there for days; the coroner's report estimated Cobain to have died on April 5, 1994.

Andrew Wood

On March 16, 1990, Wood was found in a comatose state by his girlfriend, having overdosed on heroin. Wood was taken to Harborview Hospital and placed on life support. Despite being responsive, Wood had suffered a hemorrhage aneurysm, losing all brain function. On March 19 physicians suggested that Wood be removed from life support. His burial site is located at Miller-Woodlawn Memorial Park in Bremerton, Washington.

Shortly following Wood's death, former roommate Chris Cornell of Soundgarden wrote two songs, "Reach Down" and "Say Hello 2 Heaven", in tribute to his late friend. Cornell then approached Gossard and Ament about releasing the songs as singles before collaborating on an album. Adding drummer Matt Cameron, future Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready, and future Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder, they formed Temple of the Dog in 1990 to pay tribute to Wood, releasing one self-titled album in 1991.

Jesus Christ Pose

Soundgarden explained that the lyrics for "Jesus Christ Pose" concern the exploitation of religion for personal benefit. The song is a criticism of how public figures use religion (particularly the image of Jesus Christ) to portray themselves as being "better" than others, or as "martyrs". Chris Cornell specifically mentioned Jane's Addiction's frontman Perry Farrell as an influence on the song, explaining, "It became fashionable to be the sort of persecuted-deity guy." In an interview, Cornell explained the term "Jesus Christ Pose":
"You just see it a lot with really beautiful people, or famous people, exploiting that symbol as to imply that they're either a deity or persecuted somehow by their public. So it's pretty much a song that is nonreligious but expressing being irritated by seeing that. It's not that I would ever be offended by what someone would do with that symbol."

Cornell was first married to Susan Silver, the manager of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. They had a daughter, Lillian Jean, born in June 2000. He and Silver divorced in 2004. In December 2008, Cornell reported via his official website that he had finally won back his collection of 15 guitars after a four-year court battle with Silver.

His second marriage was to Vicky Karayiannis, a Paris-based American publicist of Greek heritage. The couple had a daughter together, Toni, born in September 2004, and a son, Christopher Nicholas, born in December 2005. Cornell converted to the Greek Orthodox Church through her influence.


Cornell received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his song "The Keeper" which appeared in the film Machine Gun Preacher and co-wrote and performed the theme song to the James Bond film Casino Royale (2006), "You Know My Name". The last solo release prior to his death was the charity single "The Promise," written for the ending credits for the film of the same name.

In 2012, Soundgarden's "Live to Rise" from Marvel's The Avengers (Official Video) clearly gives voice to the "Jesus Christ" theme, with some of the following lyrics. "Sun" can be interchanged with "Son."

Like the sun we will live to rise,
Like the sun we will live and die,
And then ignite again,
Like the sun we will live to rise, (Oh yeah)
What if the one thing that I missed,
Was everything I need to pass the test,
And if I fail what happens then,
Can I still count on you as a friend
Were in sync but not alone,
You hold on,
And their gone

Some say that Soundgarden's most famous song is "Black Hole Sun" -- named after Black Sun sculpture in Seattle. The occult symbolism behind Black Sun can be found here.

Casino Royale (2006), "You Know My Name":

Footage of his final concert was posted to YouTube.

If you wish to talk to someone about suicide, call the 


PDXWiz said...

Remembering your book, Copycat Effect, and looking for Kurt Cobain copycats.... Wonder if there will be copycats for Chris Cornell?

There is an epidemic going on in Hamilton County, Ohio, near Cincinnati. This year's wave began when 8-year old Gabriel Taye, who had been bullied and beaten up, hung himself. So far, there have been 7, after 13 last year. Another victim killed himself in a speeding car on the Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway in Montgomery on Monday.

Chris Cornell definitely looks like he's on a cross in the above photo.

And it's personal for me again. My oldest has been having such thoughts, told his girlfriend last week and she told his mom, and she told me. He went to see someone and we have him on medication. But it can't be easy for him. He's 18....

Jame Rae said...

"The meek (bullied) shall inherit the Earth."

-J. Christ