SOUNDGARDEN guitarist Kim Thayil has told Billboard in a new interview that nothing was visibly amiss with Chris Cornell during the band’s May 17, 2017 concert at the Fillmore in Detroit prior to the singer’s suicide.
“I thought the show was good,” Thayil said. “I remember Chris had just gotten in [to town] and was a little tired and his voice was a little rough, but by about the fourth or fifth song, it kicked in and then it was just, like, super amazing — beautiful, clear and strong and, I thought, particularly emotive.” Thayil also recalled a moment of the show when Cornell was absent from the stage for a protracted period when the guitar he’d be playing was out of tune and a backup wasn’t immediately ready. “He had to leave the stage, I remember, and he just kind of poked his head around and said, ‘Go ahead, start without me,’ at which point Ben [Shepherd, bass] started jamming on something and we all fell in until Chris was ready,” Thayil said.
“People speculate, and they get causality in reverse,” he added. “I guess it’s natural to try to fill in the blanks to explain a particular mystery. I think it’s natural to say that, ‘We know something terrible happened, so we know there must have been some sort of problem. Let’s see what that problem might be. Well, come to think of it, the show was kind of messy….'”
Chris was found hanged in his room at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel after the Fillmore concert. His body was found soon after he had spoken with a “slurred” voice to his wife, Vicky, by phone. The death was ruled a suicide.
From the very beginning, his family has questioned the medical examiner’s ruling, saying that he had a prescription for Ativan and that a higher than recommended dosage may have caused him to experience suicidal thoughts.
Vicky believes that her husband was not depressed and his death was not a suicide, but was instead brought on by the effect of the Ativan.
Chris was laid to rest at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.