Edit
Chris Cornell Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (19) | Personal Quotes (11)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 20 July 1964Seattle, Washington, USA
Date of Death 17 May 2017Detroit, Michigan, USA  (suicide by hanging)
Birth NameChristopher John Boyle
Nickname Frisbee
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Chris Cornell was a rock icon who thrived on contradictions. An innovator who resisted genre labels, he was nonetheless a chief architect of the 90s grunge movement. Frequently ranked as one of the best voices in music history, he successfully maintained his own unique identity over decades as a multi-Grammy award-winning musician and universally acclaimed singer, songwriter and lyricist.

Chris Cornell was born Christopher John Boyle on July 20 1964 in Seattle, Washington. He was the second youngest of six children, and was the son of Karen Cornell, an accountant, and Edward Boyle, a pharmacist. He was of mostly Irish, English, Scottish, and Norwegian ancestry, with many of his mother's ancestors coming from Canada. His parents divorced when Chris was in his early teens, and Chris and his siblings changed their surnames from Boyle to his mother's maiden name. Chris rebelled against his 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. 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. Their sound continued to change and evolve over the course of five pioneering albums.

Chris also enjoyed success with several side projects, among them Temple Of The Dog with Eddie Vedder. Temple had already shown Cornell's more soulful side, and introduced future Pearl Jam frontman Vedder to the world.

Around this time, 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, with its richly melodic and critically acclaimed sound, recognized for its alienation and despair. 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 category 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. The couple later divorced. In a turn of fortune, 2000 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, 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. They built a reputation as a live act second to none.

Cornell subsequently 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. He also married publicist Vicky Karayiannis, and the couple had two children.

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.

Chris Conell died on May 17, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Always eclectic, always experimental, he broke rules, made history and challenged expectations.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous and Clare O'Brien

Spouse (2)

Vicky Karayiannis (8 May 2004 - 17 May 2017) (his death) (2 children)
Susan Silver (20 September 1990 - 2004) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (2)

Goatee
Raw edged vocals

Trivia (19)

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 ancestry included Norwegian, Irish, English, Scottish, Northern Irish, Welsh, German, French, and remote Manx, Swiss-German, and Wampanoag Native American. Chris's maternal grandfather, Ralph Trivett Cornell, was born in Rothesay, Nova Scotia, Canada, to Julian Trivett Cornell and Emily Keillor Emmerson. Chris's maternal grandmother, Marion M. MacNutt, who was born in Washington state, was the daughter of a Canadian-born father, James Frederick MacNutt, and a Wisconsin-born mother, Clarabell Josephine Hubbell.
Dropped out of school at age fifteen.
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.
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. [July 2003]
New wife Vicky gave birth to his second daughter named Toni on the 18th of September. [September 2004]
Left Audioslave, citing "irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences" as the reason. [February 2007]
Wife Vicky gave birth to their second and his third child, Christopher Nicholas. It's the first son. [December 2005]

Personal Quotes (11)

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.
[on The Promise (2016)] The film and plot are your band mates and the song has to be true to the story and the characters in it. "The Promise", to me, is mainly about paying homage to those we lost in the Armenian Genocide, but it's also about shining a light on more recent atrocities. The same methods used in the Armenian Genocide were used to carry out crimes against humanity in Bosnia, Darfur, Rwanda and right now in Syria on multiple fronts, contributing to a massive global refugee crisis. Unfortunately, the words 'never again' seem like just words when we recall these mass executions of the twentieth century, as well as renewed racism and prejudice around the world. Even in the U.S., the warning signs - isolating groups based on race and religion - are evident. We really need to tell these stories and keep telling them in as many different ways as we can. As humans, we have a tremendous capacity to trudge ahead in our lives and not look at the difficult and challenging moments... but I think it's important. Educating ourselves on the past is the best way to understand the present and avoid future atrocities by understanding and intervening. We must educate and stand as one to combat this fear and violence, and as citizens of the world, work to protect each other's human rights. [2017]
[on The Promise (2016)] When people get done watching the film, rather than think, 'Wow, what a horrendous thing that happened a century ago,' realize that it is happening now, realize the film [is] telling a true story and you're seeing how it was created. And the fact that those warning signs are pretty much always the same leading up to a genocide. We have the ability as a global community to pre-empt that, if we're paying attention and we're not allowing our leaders to politicize it and get away with it. It's the goal of everyone in the film that it's representative of the past, but it's also exposing the present. [2017]
[on The Promise (2016)] I went to school in the U.S. and I wasn't taught about the Armenian or Greek genocide in history class. I don't know if that's due in part to the denial of it or what it is. It's one of those things where it's a story that needs to be told. And I think it needs to be told and retold. ... We need to at some point as human beings preempt this from happening. Genocide is occurring right now on this planet. It's not something of the past, it's something unfortunately of now, and unfortunately probably will be of the future. [2017]
I came from a childhood where I spent a lot of time alone and a lot of time just living with my imagination, and a certain amount of the adult world was kind of alienating. And I find now after spending a lot of time with my babies, they're my best friends. And I still find a certain part of the adult world alienating, so I'd rather just hang out with my kids. [2006]
[on his wife's Greek family that was also impacted by the genocidal policies of the Ottoman Empire during WWI] Literally, it's the DNA that goes from my children back to my wife's grandparents, who were both refugees of that policy. It felt like that connection was there. [2017]
[if he got nightmares from his research into the Armenian Genocide] It was more like daymares. Especially seeing some of the images and some of the documentary footage. You can't unsee it. (Chokes up) [2017]
[on The Promise (2016) and the Armenian Genocide] The first time I really started to learn about what the Armenian Genocide was was when Serj [musician Serj Tankian] was interviewing his grandfather for a documentary [Screamers (2006)]. I felt like there's such a thing as being too close to it and such a thing as being too far away from it. When Eric [producer Eric Esrailian] asked me to do it, I figured there's a reason and he's a smart guy and hopefully I can live up to the task. [2017]
I remember years ago, we were doing "Badmotorfinger", and I saw some drama on the Holocaust with Willem Dafoe as a boxer [Triumph of the Spirit (1989)]. I watched it late at night, and I woke up the next morning and we were flying from Sausalito back to Seattle. I got a migraine so bad that I had to be hospitalized. The blood vessels had expanded so much in my brain that I couldn't really talk. I could see that this was blue [points to a bottle], but I couldn't remember the word that was the symbol for the color blue. It was a scary thing and I've never had that since, but it's stuck with me that there's some part of me that has a hard time with that [images of genocides and atrocities] on some level that's way more intense than I would have expected. [April 17th, 2017]
[on The Promise (2016) and doing research on the Armenian Genocide] I read [director] Terry George's script and I was watching rough edits and I thought that was going to be it. Then one day, I was listening to the negative voices in my head too much, saying, "This isn't your story, so why the f--- are you writing it? Maybe I need to expose myself to a little more." [April 17th, 2017]
[on Soundgarden] We had our moment, and we had it on a level that has only happened in a few places. So, it's incredible that if there were one kind of defining moment in rock music that will always be in the history books, that one of them came from Seattle. That's something that none of us would have ever guessed.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page