R.I.P.


Vinnie Paul, Pantera drummer and co-founder, dies at 54

Why Is Everything So ‘Heavy’? How Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington Gave Us Strength, Even on His Last Hit

Courtesy Photo
Chester Bennington in the video for “Heavy.”

Chester Bennington is gone, lost to suicide at the age of 41. News like this jabs you out of nowhere, first hitting you with shock and sadness, then shape-shifting to reflect whatever unique ways the artist’s work affected you. Linkin Park is one of the most popular rock bands of our generation, so that pain is festering in many ways for many, many different people.

The Linkin Park frontman lived a difficult life, battling depression, anxiety and substance abuse. As a child, he was molested by an older man over several years and spoke openly about this as an adult. Today, our social media feeds are flooded with words of encouragement for those battling mental difference, often with phone numbers for suicide prevention hotlines and the like. The exact messages always differ, but the common thread often boils down to #TalkingAboutIt — encouraging openness, offering support, de-stigmatizing issues that are, in fact, deeply stigmatized in American society. With Bennington at the mic, Linkin Park spent the better part of two decades doing exactly that, right through the band’s most recent hit song.

Chester Bennington photographed on Aug. 04, 2009 in London, England.

Yes, whether or not you were still paying attention, LP remained a massively popular band into 2017, and “Heavy,” the Kiiara-assisted electro-rock single from May’s One More Light, was a staple at top 40 radio this spring. It was not particularly well-received by critics, though, and the band’s pivot from metallic guitar to EDM-lite synthscapes turned off many an old-school fan. But below its marketable surface lies the emotional vulnerability that’s marked Linkin Park since Hybrid Theory: “I’m holding on/ Why is everything so heavy?” Skeptics and believers alike: Try re-listening to that chorus and not feeling an emotional jolt you didn’t feel the first time.

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Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington Dead at 41

Nigel Crane/Redferns
Chester Bennington photographed on Aug. 04, 2009 in London, England.

Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington has committed suicide at age 41. TMZ first reported that Bennington hanged himself at his Palos Verdes residence on Thursday, July 20, after which the L.A. County coroner confirmed to Associated Press that Bennington had died. Linkin Park bandmate Mike Shinoda tweeted “shocked and heartbroken, but it’s true. An official statement will come out as soon as we have one.”

Bennington struggled with drug and alcohol addictions at various times during his life. He spoke openly about both, as well as about being molested by an older man when he was a child. Bennington was married and is survived by six children.

The band’s most recent album, One More Light, topped the Billboard 200 earlier this year.

Linkin Park’s massively popular 2000 debut, Hybrid Theory, introduced the world to their immaculately produced hybrid of alt-rock, metal and rap. Its follow-up, 2003’s Meteora, became the first of the band’s six chart-topping albums. Over the course of seven studio albums and a collaborative EP with JAY-Z, Linkin Park established itself as one of the biggest and most influential rock bands of the 21st century. The band has sold 27.8 million albums in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music.

Their biggest Billboard Hot 100 hit, “In the End” from Hybrid Theory, peaked at No. 2 in 2002. “Numb” from Meteora hit No. 11 in 2004, “What I’ve Done” reached No. 7 in 2007, “New Divide” peaked at No. 6 in 2009 and “Shadow of the Day” earned a No. 15 spot in 2008.

In addition to Linkin Park, Bennington formed Dead by Sunrise in 2005, who released one album, Out of Ashes, in 2009. Bennington teamed up with Stone Temple Pilots after Scott Weiland’s departure for one EP, High Rise, in 2013.

Chris Cornell’s wife writes heartfelt tribute: ‘I will fight for you’

Chris Cornell, Soundgarden and Audioslave Frontman, Dies at 52

 Dontae Freeman, a spokesman for the Detroit Police Department, said in an interview that officers went to the MGM Grand hotel and casino around midnight in response to a call about an apparent suicide of a white man, whom he did not identify. Mr. Freeman said the man’s date of birth was July 20, 1964, which is Mr. Cornell’s.

Mr. Cornell appeared to be active on social media in the hours before his death. A post on his Twitter account announced that the group had arrived in Detroit, and a clip of the group’s 2012 release “By Crooked Steps” was posted to his official Facebook page.

Mr. Cornell acknowledged in interviews that he had struggled with drug use throughout his life. In a 1994 Rolling Stone article, he described himself as a “daily drug user at 13” who had quit by the time he turned 14.

After Soundgarden disbanded in 1997, a breakup that would last for more than a decade, Mr. Cornell returned to heavy drug use, telling The Guardian in 2009 that he was a “pioneer” in the abuse of the opiate OxyContin and that he had gone to rehab.

Soundgarden’s musical journeys tended toward the knotty and dark, plunging into off-kilter meters and punctuated by Mr. Cornell’s voice, which could quickly shift from a soulful howl to a gritty growl. Onstage, Mr. Cornell was an imposing figure, flinging his long hair as he presided over mosh pits of fans churning to the band’s metal-tinged riffs.

Mr. Cornell was one of four prominent frontmen — along with Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Layne Staley of Alice in Chains — who brought Seattle’s sound to the national stage in the late 1980s and 1990s. He helped form Soundgarden in Seattle, where he was born, around 1984. Sub Pop, then a fledgling record label, released the group’s first single, “Hunted Down,” in 1987, as well as two subsequent EPs. The group’s debut album, “Ultramega OK,” which came a year later on the punk label SST, was its last release before it made the leap to a major label.The album “Badmotorfinger,” released in 1991, benefited from a swell of attention that was beginning to surround the Seattle scene, where Soundgarden, along with Nirvana and Pearl Jam, was playing a high-octane, high-angst brand of rock ’n’ roll.

Three of Soundgarden’s studio albums have been certified platinum, including “Superunknown,” from 1994, which featured the Grammy-winning songs “Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman” as well as “Fell on Black Days” and “My Wave.”

After disbanding, the group — which includes the guitarist Kim Thayil, the bassist Ben Shepherd and the drummer Matt Cameron — reunited in 2010 and has performed regularly since then.Reviewing a 2011 concert at the Prudential Center in Newark in The New York Times, Jon Pareles called Soundgarden “one reunited band that can pick up right where it left off.” In 2012, it released “King Animal,” its first album in 16 years, which Mr. Pareles said “sounds like four musicians live in a room, making music that clenches and unclenches like a fist.”

Music became a refuge, and Mr. Cornell started to take it very seriously. He has said he was drawn to the harmonies of the Beatles early on, and started to play drums at 16. His first group was called the Jones Street Band (named after the street he lived on), and Mr. Cornell played the role of the singing drummer. After answering an ad to be a vocalist in another band, he met Mr. Thayil and Hiro Yamamoto, Soundgarden’s original bassist, and the trio quickly wrote a batch of songs.

He married Susan Silver, who managed Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, in 1990, and had a daughter, Lily; the couple split in 2004. Mr. Cornell is survived by Lily; his wife, Vicky Cornell, with whom he started a foundation to protect “vulnerable children”; and their two children, Christopher and Toni.

Mr. Cornell released five solo albums during and after his time with Soundgarden, starting with “Euphoria Morning” in 1999. His 2007 album “Carry On” featured an acoustic cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” which was the inspiration for a well-received version of the song on “American Idol.”

He contributed the song “Seasons” to the soundtrack of “Singles” (1992), Cameron Crowe’s love letter to the Seattle music scene, and made a cameo in the film.

Chris Cornell – “Seasons” Video by Micheleland

In 2001, after Rage Against the Machine’s lead singer, Zack de la Rocha, left the group, Mr. Cornell and members of that band formed Audioslave. The group released three albums before announcing its split in 2007.

In November 2016, Mr. Cornell hit the road for the first time with another supergroup, Temple of the Dog, featuring a blend of members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. The band, known for its breakout hit “Hunger Strike,” a dramatic duet between Mr. Vedder and Mr. Cornell, had been formed about 25 years earlier as a tribute to Andrew Wood, the lead singer of the Seattle bands Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone, who died of a heroin overdose in March 1990.

Mr. Cornell told The Times that the group had finally decided to bring its songs to life to honor Mr. Wood. He said, “I thought, well, this is one thing that I can do to remind myself and maybe other people of who this guy is and was and keep his story — and, in a way, his life — with us.”

A close friend, Eric Esrailian, whose family regularly took vacations with the Cornells, said Mr. Cornell was never the bold persona he seemed onstage. “He liked to take pictures of our kids at dinner, just talking to each other,” Mr. Esrailian said, adding that “In 10 years of friendship, I’ve never seen him have more than a Diet Coke.” He said he had seen no mood changes in recent days or weeks. “We were talking about summer vacation plans in Greece,” he said.

Mr. Esrailian produced the 2017 movie “The Promise,” about the Armenian genocide, for which Mr. Cornell wrote music and donated the proceeds from all audio downloads to help refugees. “He wanted his song to be an anthem about hope and perseverance for everyone,” he said.

Mr. Esrailian told a story about Mr. Cornell’s giving him a guitar for his birthday, signed by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. “I’m a fan of Jimmy Page, and Jimmy Page is a fan of Chris Cornell,” he said. “This is the same guy we’d eat sushi with and he’d make jokes.”

When Pearl Jam was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last month, Mr. Esrailian said he told his friend that he belonged there as well: “He said, I don’t need that now, because I’ve got so much ahead of me.”

Correction: May 18, 2017
An earlier version of this obituary misidentified the source of a tweet honoring Chris Cornell. The posting came from a Rage Against the Machine fan account, not from the band.

Chris Cornell, Lead Singer Of Soundgarden And AudioSlave, Dies At 52

In 2012, King Animal was Soundgarden’s first studio album in 15 years. Lead singer Chris Cornell died Wednesday night in Detroit. A representative said his death was “sudden and unexpected.” He was 52.

Courtesy of the artist

Chris Cornell gained fame as the lead singer to the grunge band Soundgarden and later with Audioslave.

Brian Bumbery, Cornell’s representative, released a statement to NPR on the singer’s death:

“Chris Cornell passed away late last night in Detroit, MI. His wife Vicky and family were shocked to learn of his sudden and unexpected passing, and they will be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause. They would like to thank his fans for their continuous love and loyalty and ask that their privacy be respected at this time.”

Soundgarden was formed in 1984 by Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil and Bassist Hiro Yamamoto — it went on to become one of the biggest bands of the 1990s grunge movement.

Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains were other bands to come out of the Northwestern grunge-rock scene at about the same time.

Soundgarden found a place on mainstream radio with the album Superunknown, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Record in 1995.

Cornell pursued a solo career after Soundgarden broke up in 1997.

In 2001, Cornell joined Audioslave and the band released three albums — disbanding in 2007.

Later, Cornell and Soundgarden reunited and in 2012 released the band’s sixth studio album, King Animal.

NPR’s Rachel Martin talked to Cornell in 2015. At the time he had just released a solo album called Higher Truth.

In the interview that aired on Weekend Sunday, Martin noted Cornell was still recording with Soundgarden, and asked if he needed the band and the solo projects to make the whole?

I would live without both parts, Cornell answered. “But it’s a lot more satisfying to have them. It’s great to still be having new experiences with the same group of guys — because we invented a band together, and kind of co-invented a genre of music. Being able to come back and experience being a band together at a different time in our lives has been really rewarding, but it’s also just really nice to still share some part of my life with these people that have been so important to it.”

Cornell, who was on tour in Detroit at the time of his death, was 52.

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Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia in ‘Star Wars,’ Dead at 60

Carrie Fisher, the iconic actress who portrayed Princess Leia in the Star Wars series, died Tuesday following a massive heart attack last week. She was 60.

“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” Simon Halls, a spokesperson for Fisher’s family, said in a statement to People.

The daughter of screen legend Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, the actress made her Broadway debut as a teenager in Irene, which starred her mother. After making her big screen debut in 1975’s Shampoo and briefly enrolling in London’s Central School of Speech and Drama and then St. Lawrence College, Fisher dropped out, at the age of 19, after landing the role of Princess Leia in George Lucas’ 1977 space epic Star Wars.

“She has no friends, no family; her planet was blown up in seconds – along with her hairdresser – so all she has is a cause,” Fisher told Rolling Stone in 1983 of the role. “From the first film [A New Hope], she was just a soldier, front line and center. The only way they knew to make the character strong was to make her angry. In Return of the Jedi, she gets to be more feminine, more supportive, more affectionate. But let’s not forget that these movies are basically boys’ fantasies. So the other way they made her more female in this one was to have her take off her clothes.”

“Lucas always had to remind me to ‘Stand up! Be a princess!’ And I would act like a Jewish princess and lean forward, slouching, chewing gum,” Fisher once joked.

Fisher also saw parallels between Princess Leia, the lost daughter of the series’ villain Darth Vader, and her own unique childhood as the daughter of two Fifties superstars; Fisher endured both her mother’s highly publicized divorces as well as her father’s own issues with substance abuse (“He’s a little shellshocked from 13 years of doing speed, but he’s real friendly,” she said in 1980 of Eddie Fisher, who died in 2010.)

“Leia’s real father left her mother when she was pregnant, so her mother married this King Organa. I was adopted and grew up set apart from other people because I was a princess,” Fisher said. “A lot of parallels, me and Leia. Dad goes off to the dark side, and Mom marries a millionaire. My brother and I went in different directions on the Debbie and Eddie issue. He’s gotten involved with Jesus, and I do active work on myself, trying to make myself better and better. It’s funny.”

Throughout her career, Fisher was open about her struggles with mental illness – the actress was diagnosed with bipolar disorder – and drug use, admitting that she had abused cocaine throughout the filming of The Empire Strikes Back, as well as prescription drugs. “Drugs made me feel normal,” Fisher said in 2001. Her one-woman play and memoir Wishful Drinking also tackled her battle with addiction.

In addition to playing Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy and 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Fisher also appeared in films like The Blues Brothers, When Harry Met Sally, The ‘Burbs and Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters. Fisher was also slated to reprise the role in Star Wars‘ upcoming Episode VIII and Episode IX.

“I was very nervous, had a lot of memory problems initially – just horrific – and then it got better,” Fisher told Rolling Stone in 2015 about returning to the legendary role. “I settled in. You know, think about it, what it would be to make three of these movies a million years ago, and now, ‘Let’s do it again, only you’re 40 years older and there’s a lot to live up to or down – take your pick.’ People want it to be the same but better … I don’t know. So there’s pressure on it, more than most films. But then you get over yourself and say, ‘By the way, it’s the younger people doing it.’ You have to sort of like get over yourself fast.”

In 1990, Fisher turned her semi-autobiographical memoir Postcards From the Edge, which detailed her drug addiction and rehab experiences as well as her relationship with Reynolds, into a feature film starring Meryl Streep. Fisher was nominated for a Best Screenplay BAFTA for the film, while Streep earned a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for playing Fisher’s alter ego “Suzanne” in the film.

Fisher was also the writer of four novels and the ex-wife of singer-songwriter Paul Simon, who she was married to for a year in 1983. Fisher was also in a longterm relationship with talent agent Bryan Lourd, with whom she had her only child, Billie Lourd.

Money can’t buy life. RIP Bob Marley

Bob Marley
“Money can’t buy life.”
The reggae star uttered these last words to son Ziggy before he died aged 36 on May 11, 1981.
It has been 35 years since Bob Marley’s passing.
And his legacy and legend continues.

Flashback: Prince Plays a Jaw-Dropping Cover of ‘Creep’ at Coachella

After stunning, eight-minute cover of Radiohead’s hit was taken off YouTube, Thom Yorke asked that it be put back up

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Just two weeks before the 2008 Coachella festival, the organizers announced that a very big name had joined the lineup: Prince. The previous summer they’d reunited Rage Against the Machine, but this time around their biggest stars were Jack Johnson, Roger Waters and Portishead. With a ton of new festivals popping up all over the country, Coachella organizers knew they had to find something extra special to stand out. “In this year of a lot of festivals, we think we’ve dug pretty deep,” Coachella booker Paul Tollett told Billboard. “We’re in our ninth year, and this is a really great addition to the whole story. It’s exciting to add another artist into the mix that hasn’t played festivals.”

Facing a large, young audience not intimately familiar with his catalog, Prince packed his stunning set with huge hits like “Little Red Corvette,” “Cream,” “1999” and “Purple Rain.” He also played a lot of covers, such as the Beatles’ “Come Together,” Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice” and the B-52’s “Rock Lobster.” The most jaw-dropping moment of the night came near the end of the main set when he broke out Radiohead’s “Creep.” He had never played the song in concert before (or any other Radiohead songs for that matter), but across eight glorious minutes, he completely made it his own.

It popped up on YouTube the next morning – with shots from many different angles – but the Prince camp is extremely vigilant with the Internet and had them all taken down. Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke found this hysterical. “Really? He’s blocked it?” York asked an interviewer. “Surely we should block it. Hang on a moment. Well, tell him to unblock it. It’s our song.” It was hard to argue with that, and it remains on YouTube even though most Prince material has been yanked for quite some time.

Prince’s 2007 performance at the Super Bowl included “Purple Rain” and is one of the greatest live moments of his career. Watch here.

Watch Corey Taylor Cover Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ Onstage in Minneapolis

By Chad Childers April 22, 2016 12:48 AM

As the news began to spread Thursday that Prince had died at the age of 57, one of the first members of the rock and metal community to comment on the shocking passing was Slipknot and Stone Sour vocalist Corey Taylor. On top of being a Prince fan, the rocker happened to be in Minneapolis where Prince first came to fame. So as Taylor took the stage for a solo show at First Avenue, the rocker decided to pay homage to Prince with a cover of “Purple Rain.”

As you can see in the fan-shot video above, it’s just Taylor with his acoustic guitar as he prepares to open his show. Bathed in purple stage lighting for a good portion of the performance, Taylor hit the right mix of restraint and emotion in just the right places as the crowd cheered him on.

Taylor wasn’t done covering Prince, as he first addressed the audience. “In a world where so many people treat music as a commodity, it was always refreshing to know that it was always Prince,” said Taylor. “He may be gone, but we have a lifetime of music.” After that, Taylor also performed Prince’s “Little Red Corvette,” which can be viewed at his Facebook page.

Throughout the day, Taylor posted photos to his Twitter account, with one focused on the photo of Prince playing live at the venue and the other with the tributes being laid by fans outside of the venue in honor of Prince. See the posts below:

Police were called to Prince’s Paisley Park Estate Thursday morning (April 21) and it was later revealed that he was discovered in an elevator. The first responders on the scene attempted to provide CPR but were unsuccessful. The music legend died at the age of 57. See more tributes to Prince by clicking the red button at the bottom of this post.

Read More: Corey Taylor Covers Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ in Minneapolis |