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Remembering Chris Cornell: The early years

Even as Soundgarden were beginning to break out of the Seattle scene, Chris Cornell stood apart from his peers: a rock god among grunge’s iconoclasts

Metal, not grunge. This is the thought I woke up with this morning, a few days after Chris Cornell’s sad and unexpected death in Detroit.

Metal, not grunge.

When I travelled to Seattle at the start of 1989 to cover a whole slew of unkempt, unruly, long-haired bands releasing records – coloured vinyl and the odd 12-inch – on local label Sub Pop, Soundgarden were already a breed apart. The band were signed to three labels – SST, Sub Pop and major label A&M – and had been making considerable inroads into the music industry. I met them as a matter of course alongside their more brattish peers – Nirvana, Mudhoney, the man-behemoth Tad, and so forth – and already, it seemed, there was confusion over what the actual sound of Seattle was.


From the archive

From the archive

From the archive

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