On May 7, 2017 my wife and I saw Soundgarden live at Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, TN.  I commented to her during the show that Chris seemed a little off his game; his singing was sloppy and behind the beat.  He seemed to gain energy as the show progressed, but I definitely felt like he was “phoning it in” at the during certain portions of the show.

Little did we know that this was one of his last shows ever.

I’ve been involved as a worship leader and attendee at my church’s Celebrate Recovery program for 7 years.  In that program you not only learn about addiction and depression, you get to do life with people who are struggling with it. I’ve got a very close friend who survived a serious suicide attempt.  In fact, it’s more accurate to say he successfully killed himself, but somehow came back to life.  You can hear his amazing story here:

Testimony Jimmy Bloss from Rick Barker on Vimeo.

Jimmy and I have talked several times about his state of mind during the hours before his suicide attempt.  So when I learned the shocking news of Chris Cornell’s death my heart was broken not just because I’m such a big fan of his, but because I felt like I knew a little bit about what he must have been going though as a man making that decision.

I started playing around with his song Black Hole Sun on my guitar—I suppose as a way of processing my feelings—and I ended up working out an instrumental version I liked.  So I decided to record a take for posterity.  Here it is. I’ve included Chris’ lyrics below the video.

Black Hole Sun
By Chris Cornell

In my eyes, indisposed
In disguises no one knows
Hides the face, lies the snake
The sun in my disgrace
Boiling heat, summer stench
‘Neath the black the sky looks dead
Call my name through the cream
And I’ll hear you scream again

Black hole sun
Won’t you come
And wash away the rain
Black hole sun
Won’t you come
Won’t you come

Stuttering, cold and damp
Steal the warm wind tired friend
Times are gone for honest men
And sometimes far too long for snakes
In my shoes, a walking sleep
And my youth I pray to keep
Heaven sent hell away
No one sings like you anymore

Black hole sun
Won’t you come
And wash away the rain
Black hole sun
Won’t you come
Won’t you come

Hang my head, drown my fear
Till you all just disappear

Black hole sun
Won’t you come
And wash away the rain
Black hole sun
Won’t you come
Won’t you come