He also did that (awful) cover of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2U" to honor the Purple One and, it seemed, to mourn the unnecessary loss of a talented and gifted artist to self-destricrive impulses.
Cornell has been around a lot of this. Andrew Wood, Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, and I suppose Scott Weiland counts somehow too, despite not being part of the "scene," as they were peers in some respects.
I also never thought of Cornell as a particularly tormented person. I'm not aware of any struggles wth drugs. I'm just kind of baffled.
His music has been consistently terrible since Soundgarden broke up the first time, but the band was a sturdy one. They managed to strike the balance that Alice In Chains couldn't (because they were too schlock-metaly), of stoner rock, basement punk, classic rock and pseudo-experimental studio tinkering. With pretty goddamn sweet results actually. Their early albums were solid butt-punk-rock, and their major label releases were all pretty good. I actually like Down on the Upside quite a bit. "Blow up the Outside World" and "Pretty Noose" were good. Superunknown was excellent, especially "Blow up the Outside World."
Sad and weird. Has there ever been a regional scene more plagued by self-destruction than Seattle's? From Hendrix to Cornell. It's pretty astounding/shocking/terrible.
RIP Chris Cornell.