The year was 1996. I was in a transitional phase with regard to music and trying to figure out what Alternative music meant. I was moving away from rap music because of the trending swap of artistic creativity for commercial stereotypes.
“But what else is there to listen to? Rock music is for long haired, head banging, devil worshippers.”
That’s when I turned on the tv and caught sight of a psychedelic video with a mesmerizing electric riff that kept me from changing channels like I would normally do. I later found out it was Soundgarden’s Pretty Noose video that I was watching. This was the song that started me listening to rock music. The lead singer Chris Cornell did not look like how I imagined rock stars to be. He had short hair, a goatee, and a near four-octave vocal range. One of the things about the video that captivated me was the ending. Chris Cornell’s voice singing, “and I don’t like what she’s got me hanging frooooooom,” while staring into the camera, slowly rocking on the edge of the bed with his mouth closed.
Chris Cornell, a crucial architect of the grunge movement in the ’90s, with his band Soundgarden – formed alongside guitarist Kim Thyail and bassist Hiro Yamamoto in 1984 – proving a major influence on the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains will be sorely missed.
The year was 2000. I’d already been listening to alternative music for years since my baptism into the Superunknown. I started paying attention to Staind’s lyrics which awakened a lot of dark feelings I was struggling with. I felt as if Aaron Lewis we’re talking directly to me in his songs. Sadness never felt so good.
“Finally someone gets it,” I thought.
It was around this time that I first heard Linkin Park. My brother recommended them to me.
“Lincoln Park?” I thought at the time. “That seems like a strange name for a rock band.”
Little did I know I was about to hear one of the greatest alternative rock bands in my young adult life. Just as anger goes with sadness, Linkin Park goes with Staind. Chester Bennington’s vocals cut through the angst I was feeling and gave me relief. He sang so loud and with so much passion he would drown out my own vocals and allow me to feel a release without embarrassing myself. It sucks that Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell are no longer with us. For years it seems, they were able to find an outlet for their tortured souls by means of music. However there comes a time when you hit rock bottom and you just can’t see any way out. You look out at the horizon and you don’t see anything worth living for. I know because I’ve been there.