MASTODON guitarist Bill Kelliher says that he was “totally shocked and overwhelmed with grief” over Chris Cornell‘s death.
The SOUNDGARDEN frontman was pronounced dead last Thursday morning after being found unresponsive in his Detroit hotel room on Wednesday night. The band had played a concert at the Fox Theatre earlier that evening.
A full autopsy and results of toxicology tests are pending, although Cornell‘s wife has said he may have taken more of an anti-anxiety drug than he was prescribed. His family issued a statement Friday questioning whether his death by hanging was intentional and if “substances contributed to his demise.”
Asked by Metal Rules how he felt when he heard the news of Cornell‘s passing, Kelliher said: “Totally shocked and overwhelmed with grief. It was very, very terrible. We just played two shows with SOUNDGARDEN not even a week ago. I know [SOUNDGARDEN guitarist] Kim Thayil really well and he is a super nice guy. He just came to a show of ours two or three weeks ago in Seattle where he lives. We hung out all night. I saw SOUNDGARDEN in 1989 in Rochester, New York they were fucking incredible and even up to this day. They were like BLACK SABBATH meets metal meets grunge. They were the epitome of the new grunge era of music. I loved them and was a huge fan. Chris‘s voice was one of kind. He can sing like such a badass; he was so fucking good and talented. I feel bad for his family, band, and all the fans. We will never be able to hear his voice again.”
Kelliher added that he didn’t know Chris personally.”I think I met him once, at a festival in Europe; maybe in Portugal,” he revealed. “He had a bodyguard and I don’t think he hung out like the other guys did. I never got a chance to sit down and get to know him. I know people who knew him and they are crushed.”
A private funeral for Cornell will be held on Friday, May 26 at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
Ahead of Friday’s service, Cornell‘s remains were cremated yesterday (Tuesday, May 23), as a small group of family and friends stood by, including his wife Vicky, his brother Peter, and his friends Linda Ramone and singer J.D. King, according to TMZ.
Chris is survived by Vicky and three children, a daughter named Toni, a son named Christopher and a daughter named Lillian from his previous marriage to former SOUNDGARDEN manager Susan Silver.