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When I read Chris’ last tweet, it pretty much dropped me to my knees, because we brought Soundgarden to the Fox Theater in Detroit to play back in 1992. We were on our Slave to the Grind Tour, with Pantera opening. Then they took a break and we said, “Who’s the next heavy, killer band coming up now?” It was Soundgarden, and they came on the road with us for three weeks. During the day, it was about trading cassettes of obscure punk bands. Chris didn’t sound like anybody, and he didn’t move like anybody, either. In heavy metal, we’d try to run and jump around the stage, do these moves and shit. When I’d ask Chris to jam with us at the end of the night on “Train Kept A-Rollin’ ” by Aerosmith, he’d look at the stage like a track meet, running in a figure eight and doing somersaults. I’d turn around, and he’d be behind my back, faking so I couldn’t see where he was. And he’d be on a trampoline doing jumps behind the drum riser. I could tell he was sending up the sort of heavy-metal performance we were trying to do, always with a twinkle in his eye, laughing.
I remember a couple years after that, I went to a Soundgarden and Melvins concert in Seattle after one of my shows, and when I went to hang out after, they were all blown away that I was at the show. There were these lines drawn in the sand. Chris pulled me into a room just by ourselves, and I pointedly remember saying, “Chris, why did you guys come on tour opening for us?” And he looked and me and goes, “Why did we do that?” – he starts laughing – “I don’t know why we did that!” That’s my memory of him. We were a lot younger, without the baggage of adulthood. When we started out, it was a fun thing to do, rock n' roll. It wasn’t all doom and gloom.
As told to Rebecca Milzoff.
A version of this article appears in the June 3 issue of Billboard.
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