Chris Cornell was born Christopher John Boyle in Seattle, Washington on July 20th 1964. Chris is the second youngest of Karen and Ed Boyle's 6 children. His father was a pharmacist and his mother worked as an accountant. His parents divorced when Chris was in his early teens. After his parents marriage ended, Chris and his siblings changed their surnames from Boyle to his mother's maiden name, Cornell. Chris rebelled against his Irish Catholic upbringing and was on the verge of being expelled from the parochial school he attended when his mother pulled him out. As an adolescent, he experimented with drugs and stealing. Among the things he stole were a collection of Beatles records from his neighbour's basement which sparked an interest in songwriting. Though his parents had given him piano lessons from early on, Chris said his mother saved his life when she bought him a snare drum. A week later he bought himself an entire drum kit and thus began his forage into rock n roll.
Cornell dropped out of school at the age of 15 for two reasons: one was because he had problems with authority, the other was that he wanted to work to help his mother support the family. He waited tables and later on became a cook. He honed his skills as a songwriter and musician by playing in bands on the side. He experienced his first bouts of depression during his teens. His condition became so severe he didn't leave his home for almost a year. Fortunately, he was able to check his use of recreational drugs. He later earned his GED.
He formed Soundgaren with Hiro Yamamoto, Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron in the mid-eighties. Yamamoto left the band was replaced by Ben Shepherd. Soundgarden were the first of the Seattle grunge bands to get signed by a major label during the late 80s and would eventually go on to become on of the most successful bands of the 1990s. He also enjoyed success with several side projects, among them Temple Of The Dog with Eddie Vedder. He married his long-time girlfriend, Alice In Chains manager Susan Silver. Silver, at the request of Cornell's band, had also taken on the management duties of Soundgarden. After achieving multi-platinum status and earning 2 Grammy awards, Soundgarden amicably disbanded in 1997.
Cornell decided to go it alone and released 'Euphoria Morning', a solo album that showed his amazing versatility as a vocalist and songwriter. His songs shocked his grunge fanbase by boldly exploring folk, R&B and melding a variety of genres. 'Euphoria Morning' earned Cornell a Grammy nomination in the catagory of Best Male Rock Performance. However Cornell was dissatisfied with the commercial performance of his solo album and severely disillusioned by the deaths of several close friends. Plagued for many years by social phobias and alcohol abuse, it all came to head and he plunged into a deep depression. Once again he began to use drugs.
In June of 2000. Chris and Susan welcomed their first child, a daughter, Lillian Jean. In a turn of fortune, this was also the year producer Rick Rubin suggested Cornell jam with the remaining members of Zach de la Rocha's abandoned band, Rage Against The Machine. The collaboration was so successful, Cornell along with guitar virtuoso Tom Morello, innovative bassist Tim Commerford and powerhouse drummer Brad Wilk formed Audioslave.
Cornell also checked himself into rehab and rebuilt his life. Now drug and alcohol free, he is fronting the first supergroup of the new millenium. Audioslave dominate the rock charts and have rapidly achieved platinum status despite the soft market for rock music. They've built a reputation as a live act that is second to none. Already halfway through recording their second album, the band are set to head back in to the studio after they wrap up the summer 2003 Lollapalooza tour.
Chris Cornell is a rock icon who thrives on contradictions. An innovator who resists genre labels, he was nonetheless the chief architect of the 90s grunge movement. Frequently ranked as one of the best voices in music history, he has successfully maintained his own unique identity over more than two decades as a multi-Grammy award winning musician and universally acclaimed singer, songwriter and lyricist.
Seattle trailblazers Soundgarden were a law to themselves, edgy, dark and deeply individual. Their savage soundscapes, coupled with Cornell's incisive lyrics and predatory roar, seduced audiences hungry for musical depth and complexity while leading trends in street fashion and iconic design. In 1989, they became the first Seattle band to sign to a major label. Their sound continued to change and evolve over the course of five pioneering albums.
Celebrated side project Temple of the Dog had already shown Cornell's more soulful side and introduced future Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder to the world. Later, Cornell shocked the business once again with richly melodic, critically acclaimed solo album "Euphoria Morning", swiftly recognized for its alienation and despair. And as the millennium turned, he joined with three other musical pioneers from rap-rock's Rage Against The Machine to create Audioslave - a multi-platinum supergroup which lived to deny its detractors, producing three top-selling albums, touring the world and becoming the first American band to bring rock to Castro's Cuba.
Since then, Cornell has redefined his sound and vision to encompass new music, new collaborations and new activities. Having contributed solo songs to movie soundtracks from "Great Expectations" to "Mission Impossible II", he became the first American male singer to write the theme song for the James Bond franchise in its most successful film to date, "Casino Royale." His bold and bluesy reinvention of Michael Jackson dance classic "Billie Jean" courted controversy and attracted imitators. And his triumphant 2007 world tour brought together songs from every stage of his career, reinterpreting them for new audiences and blending their original fire with the shock of the new.
Outside music, Cornell fronted fashion designer John Varvatos's Spring 2006 collection and settled in Paris with his family, where he has helped revive a historic restaurant, the stylish Black Calavados.
Only the most confident would claim to predict exactly what comes next for Chris Cornell. Always eclectic, always experimental, his new collaboration with super-producer Timbaland - who calls their album "the best work I've done in my career" - will take him into fresh territory, establishing a new sound and marking the creation of a masterpiece that breaks all musical boundaries. Only one thing's for sure - Chris Cornell will continue to break rules, make history and challenge everyone's expectations.
|Vicky Karayiannis||(March 2004 - present) 2 children|
|Susan Silver||(20 September 1990 - March 2004) (divorced) 1 child|
Raw edged vocals
Daughter Lilian Jean (b. 28 June 2000) (7 lbs 12 oz).
Lead vocalist, songwriter, guitarist and co-founder of the alt rock band Soundgarden (was originally the drummer before Matt Cameron joined and Cornell switched to vocals).
Wrote "Jesus Christ Pose" as a parody of Jane's Addiction singer / Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell.
Used to be a cook.
November 19th 2002: release of Audioslave's debut album.
Enjoys snowboarding and mountain biking in his leisure.
Wrote the track 'Wave Goodbye' about the death of his friend, musician Jeff Buckley.
Is an avid reader who enjoys books on philosophy and eastern culture. Counts Sylvia Plath among his favourite authors.
Sold over 5 million records with his band Soundgarden. Sold over 300,000 copies of his solo debut, Euphoria Morning, as well as earned a grammy nomination. In 2002 his new band Audioslave sold 2 million copies of their self titled debut.
Vicky gave birth to his second daughter named Toni on the 18th of September, 2004
Owns a rock-themed restaurant in Paris called "Black Calavados".
Lives in Los Angeles.
His Father is Irish Catholic and his Mother is Jewish.
Dropped out of school at age fifteen.
First American male to perform the opening credits song for a James Bond film (You Know My Name, from Casino Royale (2006)).
Left Audioslave in 2007 due to growing differences between himself and the other band members. The other members of the band went on to reestablish Rage Against the Machine with their former vocalist Zack De La Rocha, while Cornell went back to his solo career.
I'm not a lyric writer to make statements. What I enjoy doing is making paintings with lyrics, creating colorful images. I think that's more what entertainment and music should be.
(July 2003) Will be one of the artists with Audioslave in this year's revival of Lollapalooza, started by Perry Ferrell of Jane's Addiction, a touring festival of music and other exhibits.
(September 2004) New wife Vicky gave birth to his second daughter named Toni on the 18th of September.
(December 2005) Wife Vicky gave birth to their second and his third child, Christopher Nicholas. It's the first son.
(February 2007) Left Audioslave, citing "irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences" as the reason.
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