In the two weeks since Chris Cornell’s death, musicians ranging from Megadeth to Heart’s Ann Wilson to Guns N’ Roses to Ryan Adams have covered Soundgarden and Audioslave songs in honor the late singer. Now, in a new interview with Rolling Stone, Audioslave’s Tom Morello, Nine Inch Nail’s Trent Reznor, System of a Down’s Serj Tankian and others have described some their final interactions with Cornell.
Morello, who was Cornell’s bandmate in Audioslave from 2001 to 2007, told Rolling Stone about his interactions with the singer at the band’s one-off reunion at the Anti-Inaugural Ball in January. “We hung out after the show – just laughed, took pictures,” he said. “The last thing he said to me was, ‘I had such a great time. I would love to do this again. You just let me know.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s figure it out!’”
“It’s unbelievable,” he added. “I don’t know what the phases of mourning are, but I’m in the first one. I still expect this to be some kind of mistake” – that Cornell will soon be in touch with a text or phone call “where it’s ‘I’m cool. I’m so sorry. That was a scare. Everything is going to be all right.’?“
Tankian spent time with Cornell at Elton John’s 70th-birthday party on March 25. “We had this long chat, sitting next to each other,” he told Rolling Stone, adding that Cornell said he was “really excited” about his forthcoming tour with Soundgarden. “He had plans, man,” he said.
A few weeks later the two saw each other at the premiere of The Promise, a film about the Armenian genocide for which both musicians had recorded songs. “He was doing great, doing press – fighting the good fight,” he said.
“There’s going to be people that are going to mythologize this – ‘the grunge curse,’?” Tankian added. “I wouldn’t do that… [Cornell] was 52 years old. He made it through the woods of whatever he was suffering with his life – his youth and later.”
Trent Reznor addressed his now-infamous critique of Cornell’s 2009 album with Timbaland. After slamming the album on Twitter, Reznor told Rolling Stone he “immediately regretted” doing so. “Seeing Chris do that record felt like a blow to me,” he explained. “I thought, ‘He’s above that, man. He’s one of the 10 best vocalists of our time.’?”
Ahead of NIN’s 2014 tour with Soundgarden, Reznor said he emailed Cornell to apologize. “He was very cool and generous about it – ‘It’s the past, fuck it. Let’s go on,’” he said. “The Chris I met on that tour was a gentleman that completely had his shit together.”