Collective Soul’s Will Turpin on Chris Cornell: His Voice Was a Gift

2017-05-18

Story by Anne Erickson

Collective Soul bassist Will Turpin reflects on the Chris Cornell legacy

It still hasn’t sunk in. Chris Cornell, the voice of a rock angel, has passed away. The Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog vocalist was found dead in a Detroit hotel room last night (May 17) at 52 years old.

The reactions are coming in about the sudden death of Cornell. Collective Soul bassist Will Turpin was stunned when I spoke with him today. The interview was scheduled to talk about Collective Soul’s upcoming tour with Our Lady Peace and Tonic (that feature to come), but the conversation took an obvious turn to Cornell’s sad death.

“I definitely put him very high on the pedestal¬†of vocals and songwriters,” Turpin said. “I don’t know anything he created that I didn’t like. And, I’m just shocked. Soundgarden are our peers. I’ve seen Soundgarden live. I’ve seen Audioslave live. I’ve seen Chris Cornell sing acoustic, just him and a vocal mic.”

“It’s shocking. I don’t know what to say,” he added. “I have so much respect for him. Soundgarden’s songs were played so much on our tour bus in the ’90s.”

Turpin added that Cornell’s passing seemed different from the other grunge deaths– Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley and Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland.

“This is different because Chris seemed like he was in a good spot in his life,” Turpin said. “It’s heartbreaking.”

“His voice was an absolute gift,” he added, “and it will be missed.”

Follow reporter Anne Erickson on Twitter @AnneErickson.

Photo credit: Joseph Guay

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