In July of 2016, The Gauntlet ran this story. I cannot tell you how excited I was to see this news. I was a big fan of Chris' vocal style. And heres Temple of the Dog announcing they are going on tour for their first time...ever!!! I loved the song "Hunger Strike," Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog and all the other bands he participated in, Temple of the dog was just a side project but it was certified platinum. "Hunger Strike" was a masterpiece. Many think the song is about about the inequality of food, but its much bigger than that.
Honestly at first I always kind of thought the song was about Heroin…I mean they formed the band and wrote the song for his buddy who overdosed.
I have bolded the lyrics below as to why I always thought the song was about smack… they kept him alive for 3 days! They would go and visit him… no wonder some of these guys are soooo tormented! I mean they were in their 20s…
I don't mind stealing bread
From the mouth of decadence But I can't feed on the powerless When my cup's already over-filled
But it's on the table. The fire's cooking.
And they're farming babies
While the slaves are all working. Blood is on the table. The mouths are choking
After some research today, and listening to all kinds of Chris’s music…I discovered that it was just about not taking more then you need, even if you think you deserve it…no one needs more then they can use, don’t be a greedy bastard…because really, why would you take more than you can use?
Nevertheless, Temple of the dog was just a side project, but it was certified platinum. "Hunger Strike" was a masterpiece. That tells its story in a poetic and very musically moving song. Hunger Strike is arguably one of the greatest commercial successes.
Serendipity and Synchronicity are always hovering around the rock scene. Cornell seemed to draw it more than most. Here is one such example:
Soundgarden had some dark music. As I mentioned above “Hunger Strike” was a huge commercial success - not even a Soundgarden song but rather a band formed out of a tribute to a buddy(Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone) that overdosed. This was a one album experiment. The band was named Temple of the Dog.
Now get this. When Cornell was laying the vocal tracks for hunger strike in the studio he was struggling with some of the low vocals in the song (He had a 4 octave but just couldn’t get down to the bottom.)
Suddenly from the back of the room at the recording session a young unknown dude jumped in front of the mic to help him sing the low parts. As many who were there stated, "It took massive balls for this guy to jump in front of Chris Cornells' vocals. The unknown singer was invited to audition for the illusive lower notes, which is why he was in the Studio.
Fortunately for the unknown singer Cornell loved it and put it in the album. This unknown nobody was none other than Eddie Vedder!!!
Vedder and 2 members from Temple of the Dog went on form little band you may have heard of!
Below is the video for Hunger Strike, but first an explanation:
The reason this song is sooooooooo poignant to his death and to others, like Curt Cobain, Layne Stanley, Scott Weiland and many more (all suicides) …is that this grunge movement was rooted in anti-establishment, anti-excess, anti-consumption…as I stated, no one should take more then they need…but once commercial success happens, what these tormented souls had to come to grips with is that in order to be a “commercial” success it meant you were taking from both the decadent and the powerless…but mainly the people that did not have it to give to begin with.
I don’t mind stealing bread from the mouth of decadence!
If an artist obtains commercial success…it means that revenue comes in from a wide variety of clients, audiences…fans…some of these fans are wealthy and can afford to buy concert tickets, group paraphernalia and albums…
But I can’t feed on the powerless when my cups already overfilled!
On the flip side! If an artist obtains commercial success…it means, that same revenue stream, also comes from those who are poor, humble, underprivileged and powerless, and don’t have it to give, but choose to anyway, sometimes through manipulation. What you end up with, is a McDonalds worker making $8/hr buying the same $100 concert ticket that the wealthy person is buying, except this inequity for the McDonalds worker is much higher… it is this dichotomy that creates the inner-turmoil and conflict of values, a deep set of morals that drives them to such deep grief, they get lost in swirling eddy of their own self-doubt and guilt about the decisions they are making which they feel powerless against and hence they take action!
To be a commercial success means you are taking from both groups and THIS is the torment that faces these musicians who are so purely committed to just the music! True artists!