Garrett Pierce briefly met Chris Cornell in 1999 but he truly did make an impact on him and his songwriting. Garrett shares how he met Chris in Berkeley with Payam of Sholi and how chose to cover Sweet Euphoria in honor of Chris.
“In 1999, fresh out of High School, I made my first attempt at living in Northern California. It was a transformative year for many reasons, but mainly because I met my friend Payam from the Bay Area band Sholi (Touch & Go Records) who became a long-time musical collaborator. One of the first nights we ever hung out, we attended a Chris Cornell concert at the Berkeley Community Theater, and although I was a big fan of Soundgarden, I’d never met anyone as inspired by Cornell’s songs as Payam. The show was fantastic, featuring many great cuts from his recent solo album Euphoria Mourning.
After the show, we waited in the drizzle to meet the man behind so many of the seminal songs of our youth. It was a brief exchange, but I recall him being what I can only describe as otherworldly.
Over the years, my songwriting became less about challenging chordal structure and strange time signatures, in favor of more bare-bones and lyric-focussed songs, but I continued to listen to Soundgarden, Temple Of The Dog, and Euphoria Mourning in awe over the brilliance of Chris Cornell’s songwriting, and of course, his voice.
As with you, I’ve been moved by the loss of so many heroes in recent years. I’ve attended Bowie tributes, watched the Laurie Anderson-curated Lou Reed show in NY, and danced in the kitchen to Prince songs. I even performed Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on the Wire” the day after he passed…but I admit to being sensitive about all of this…about making these deaths about Me or You. I think of their families, their friends, and of their bandmates.
My minutes with Chris on that night in Berkeley were a far cry from the years that his loved-ones spent with him. But, as a form of catharsis, and to honor the man in a sacred space, Payam and I picked one of our favorite songs from his impressive catalog to perform at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco at our recent show. We chose a song that he played that rainy night in Berkeley back in 1999 when we were still developing our own voices – one of many songs that bonded Payam and I for the remainder of our musical lives.
Please enjoy our rendition of “Sweet Euphoria”. It meant everything to us to honor Chris Cornell in one of the most beautiful spaces in the Bay Area.”
Check out the cover here:
You can pick up Garrett’s album Dusk which was released in April 2017 by heading over to https://garrettpierce.bandcamp.com/
1. The Boat Song
2. Distant Thought
3. Don’t Hold Back
4. These Wounds
6. Greyhound Song
7. Get Me Out Of This Place
8. One Last Breath
9. Not A Religious Man
10. This Town Of Mine
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