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Posted: May 18, 2017

Chris Cornell and Soundgarden: 7 things to know


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By Casey McNerthney, KIRO7.com

Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell was found dead in his Detroit hotel room Wednesday, and the city’s medical examiner said Thursday Cornell committed suicide by hanging. His death at age 52 brought tributes across the country.

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Below are seven facts about Chris Cornell and Soundgarden.

1. Soundgarden formed in 1984 in Seattle with Chris Cornell on drums. The band signed with Sub Pop before moving to A&M Records in 1988. Its first EP, “Screaming Life,” was on orange vinyl. It also released a single in 1987.  

2. Cornell, who was born in 1964, was born in Seattle and went to Christ the King Catholic School in Seattle and Shorewood High School in Shoreline, Washington. He and guitarist Kim Thayil, a University of Washington graduate, and Western Washington University alum turned bassist Hiro Yamamoto were roommates when they formed Soundgarden.  

3. Soundgarden made its first record in a small triangular building in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood. It became Reciprocal Recording in 1986, and it's also where Nirvana recorded its first album, “Bleach.” 

4. The band was named after the wind-channeling art sculpture called “A Sound Garden” next to Magnuson Park in Seattle. Thayil described it as “bleak” and “sublime.” 

5. The band first got major coverage in The Rocket, a local music newspaper that put it on the cover by name in December 1987 and by photo in October 1988. The first time The Seattle Times covered the band was Feb. 13, 1987, when it and six other bands played a benefit show. Tickets were $4.  

6. Many of their early shows were at Gorilla Gardens/Rock Theater in Seattle’s International District. The building is still there but is now home to a carpet business. The club moved to a building in the city’s Fremont neighborhood in 1985. That building remains, but the club is long gone. 

7. Another early venue for Soundgarden was The Vogue. That's also where Nirvana was said to have played its first show, though that's debated, and Pearl Jam played there under its first name, Mookie Blaylock. Today the space is a hair salon and boutique.

At PJ20, a festival in September 2011 for Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary, Eddie Vedder said Cornell was one of the first people he met outside the band.

“I had no idea how it would affect my life and my views on music and my views on friendship and what a big impact he would have,” Vedder told the crowd. He then introduced “my old neighbor, Chris Cornell.”


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