Vicky Cornell, the wife of late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, and an attorney representing the Cornell family have questioned the results of a medical examiner's report that said the 52-year-old musician committed suicide by hanging himself. The lawyer, Kirk Pasich, released a statement on Friday (May 19th) in which he expressed doubt that Chris intentionally killed himself, saying, "Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris -- or if any substances contributed to his demise. Chris, a recovering addict, had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages. The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing, and that drugs or other substances may have affected his actions."
- Pasich noted that some medical literature indicates that Ativan can cause paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment.
- The drug is taken mainly for anxiety, but can also be used to treat insomnia, panic attacks, and alcohol withdrawal. Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, tiredness, amnesia, difficulty concentrating and more.
In a separate statement, Vicky Cornell said the medication may have played a role in her husband's death. She said:
"Chris's death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled. As everyone who knew him commented, Chris was a devoted father and husband. He was my best friend. His world revolved around his family first and, of course, his music, second. He flew home for Mother's Day to spend time with our family. He flew out mid-day Wednesday, the day of the show, after spending time with the children.
"When we spoke before the show, we discussed plans for a vacation over Memorial Day and other things we wanted to do. When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him.
"What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.
"The outpouring of love and support from his fans, friends and family means so much more to us than anyone can know. Thank you for that, and for understanding how difficult this is for us."
- Cornell was found dead in his hotel room after performing a show in Detroit with Soundgarden last Wednesday evening (May 17th). Police and the medical examiner later concluded that he had hanged himself, although toxicology results are pending.
- According to a report by the Detroit News, Chris kept repeating to his wife, "I am just tired," before hanging up the phone during their second conversation, after the show.
- Vicky contacted Chris' security guard, Martin Kirsten, just after midnight and asked him to check on her husband.
- Kirsten had been in Cornell's room an hour earlier to help him fix his computer. At that time he gave the singer two Ativan pills.
- When the bodyguard returned after getting the call from Vicky, he had to kick in two locked doors before he found Chris slumped on the bathroom floor, "with blood running from his mouth and a red exercise band around (his) neck," according to an official police report.
- Medics arrived on the scene and performed emergency procedures on the singer, but he was pronounced dead at 1:30 a.m.
Former Blink-182 singer/guitarist Tom DeLonge took to Twitter last week to air his views on Donald Trump and the many controversies surrounding his administration. DeLonge, who is known for conspiracy theories about the government and alien technology, has now started posting his "prophecies" and theories about the alleged Russian ties to the White House and Trump's potential impeachment.
- DeLonge's first tweet on May 13th predicted an "indictment coming to impeach Trump." He later added, "Trump worked with Russian spies and Mob to commit treason. Entire Administration is about to crumble."
- DeLonge got at least one thing wrong: he predicted that Friday (May 19th) would be a "bigly" day for Trump, who he claimed had "something to say." He then posted that the "prophecy was coming...#TrumpGoingToPrison2017."
- Blink-182 parted ways with DeLonge over two years ago after he refused to commit to touring and recording with the group so he could pursue his investigations of UFOs.
- DeLonge told us that he has to focus all his concentration on his study of the UFO phenomenon: "The stuff that I'm involved in right now is extremely important and extraordinary for someone like me to be doing. And incredibly fun but also incredibly -- an incredible amount of nervousness to make sure I handle it right. This is what I think I was meant to do at this part of my life and I seem to be doing it right."
- DeLonge claims to have been in consultation with individuals within the defense and scientific community about what he claims is the existence of UFOs and the use of recovered alien technology by the U.S. government.
- He has published several books on the matter and has been working on videos and multi-media projects related to his interests.
AUDIO: TOM DELONGE AND HIS INVOLVEMENT WITH UFOS
Artists ranging from Stone Sour to Bush to Red Hot Chili Peppers continued to pay tribute to fallen Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, who died last Wednesday night (May 17th) by apparently hanging himself after a concert in Detroit. The homages to the late musician began moving from social media to the concert stage, where a number of acts covered Soundgarden songs during their sets.
Cornell himself told us a while back why his band was key in making alternative music commercially successful: "We were, I think the first band that was on 120 Minutes and Headbangers Ball at the same time, and that was this moment where you could look at that and think, 'Well, what does this mean? It means something, but we don't know what that is yet.' What it meant was commercial rock was gonna change a lot, and it was gonna include what was already included in college, alternative, indie music. Indie music was suddenly going to become the mainstream." . A further tribute to Cornell was hastily arranged for Friday night at Rock On The Range, starting with Live performing the Audioslave song "I Am The Highway," followed by Stone Sour's Corey Taylor and Christian Martucci performing Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" and Temple Of The Dog's "Hunger Strike" while video of Cornell played on screens around them. The festival itself was halted and concertgoers evacuated from Columbus, Ohio's MAPFRE Stadium for a lengthy period of time earlier in the day due to extreme weather. The show resumed in the early evening. Other artists that paid tribute to Cornell included Bush, Ann Wilson and Scott Stapp, while Linkin Park dedicated their appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to him.
While the surviving members of Soundgarden have not yet issued a public statement about Cornell, drummer Matt Cameron posted a brief message on Facebook, saying, "My dark knight is gone . . . Thank you for the incredible outpouring of kindness and love."
Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, who played with Cornell on the Temple Of The Dog album, told the Seattle Times, "Chris means a lot to me today, as he trusted me to play on Temple. He handed me a dream in getting to actually play on beautiful songs. Informed how I would play on Pearl Jam records in the future, I believe. Gave me the break into the music business I’d wanted since I was 11. He was a friend I will miss. I miss you, brother."
Prophets Of Rage and Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk, who played with Cornell in Audioslave, wrote on Instagram:
"The sadness of you leaving I can not begin to describe here. So close to home. I was in awe of your talent. The time I was able to spend with you, which was not enough, I will forever cherish. At your core, you were a smart, sweet and gentle soul. This is how I will always remember you. Love you Chris. Hard to believe this picture marks the last time I will ever see you here on earth."
AUDIO: CHRIS CORNELL ON HOW SOUNDGARDEN CHANGED ROCK MUSIC
Jack White is preparing to publish his first children's book, based on one of his own songs. According to Exclaim, White will release We're Going To Be Friends through his own Third Man Books imprint. The story is inspired by the White Stripes song of the same name, and will follow little Suzy Lee "as she goes to school with her books and pens, looks for bugs, shows and tells, and finds a friend."
- The book is written by White and illustrated by Elinor Blake, who has previously worked as an animator for The Ren And Stimpy Show and Pee Wee's Playhouse.
- The book will also include downloads of the original White Stripes version of the song, along with versions from Blake as her musical alter ago April March and the Woodstation Elementary School Singers.
- The original song appeared on the 2001 White Stripes album White Blood Cells.
- We're Going To Be Friends arrives on November 7th and can be ordered through the Third Man website.
Black Keys singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach has revealed a nostalgic new video for "Waiting On A Song," the title track from his upcoming solo effort. In the clip, a group of teenage boys in what seems to be the 1970s embark on a post-high school summer of drinking, smoking weed and chasing girls before making their way to college.
- Among the kids' activities are drinking at an empty race track, shooting beer cans and hitting up the local diner.
- Two of Auerbach's collaborators on the album -- renowned musicians John Prine and Pat McLaughlin -- appear in the video in cameos.
- Auerbach said in a statement, "Not only does the video evoke the feeling of the song, but it also pays tribute to the great tradition of Nashville songwriters."
- This is Auerbach’s third video release from the album, following "Shine On Me" and "King Of A One Horse Town." Waiting On A Song will be released on June 2nd and follows Auerbach's debut solo disc, Keep It Hid, which arrived in 2009.
- Auerbach has the following live dates coming up (subject to change):
May 25 - Cumberland, MD - Delfest
September 15 - North Charleston SC - North Charleston Coliseum
September 16 - Charlotte NC - Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
October 10 - Washington DC - DAR Constitution Hall
October 11 - Richmond VA - Altria Theater
Bono says that the President of The United States is not welcome at U2 shows. Bono, who along with U2, are in the midst of their 30th anniversary trek in commemoration of their watershed 1987 album, The Joshua Tree, and spoke very frankly about how Donald Trump and his supporters fit into the U2 audience, explaining, "People who voted for Trump are welcome here but he’s not. We won’t be toning down the show when we play places that support Trump. It’s our job to use our songs to carry messages. And that’s as far as it goes with our shows. If I tell people how to vote they would tell us to f*** off. You’ve just got to use your voice. In the end, the people speak and that is democracy and you have to deal with that whatever your own beliefs. . . I have a lot of respect for people wherever they come from but it is the personal stuff that makes those other stories more interesting. It is the emotional stuff. It’s about dignity."
He went on to talk about the noticeable differences in the political and social climate over the past few years: "People are angry. In the last year the world has changed. Trump getting elected shows the world is not the same. Grieving and totally depressed. People feel like their innocence has died a little bit. It’s like Brexit, it’s showing that people are not happy with their lives and they are asking questions."
- Bono said that revisiting the themes and songs of The Joshua Tree made sense for the band today -- and not just because a 30th anniversary is a good, even number: "It was something that rang home and was relevant to today’s world. The songs are 30 years old but events of the last year have changed people. . . Politics starts at home with your kids, family, community and friends. Getting inside these songs again has been special."
- Bono talked about living with the political concerns that have dominated the news these days: "You can’t really go anywhere without talking about how things have changed in the world in the last year. And we need to get over that. I’m like everyone else. I wake up every day and want to find out what Trump has said or tweeted. But we have to stand back and look at the overall effects. Rolling back all the safeguards of the environment is hugely damaging and will take a long time to put right. And firing (former-FBI Director) James Comey looks dodgy. We don’t know what the repercussions of that are yet."
- Bono has been one of the leaders in the rock community to raise awareness of the devasating role poverty plays on shaping global matters: "It's hard to make this a popular cause. It's hard to make it 'pop,' y'know, and I guess that's what my job is, 'cause pop is often -- sadly often -- the oxygen of politics. Didn't John and Robert Kennedy come to Harvard? Isn't equality a son-of-a-bitch to follow through on? Isn't 'love thy neighbor' in the global village so inconvenient? God writes us these lines, but we have to sing them, and take them to the top of the charts. But it's not what the radio is playing, is it? I know."
AUDIO: U2'S BONO ON POPULARIZING POLITICAL CAUSES