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Total F*cking Godhead: The Biography of Chris Cornell

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"The new Chris Cornell biography is the book his legacy deserves." —Kerrang! "Reiff unearths plenty of unexpected details and novel anecdotes…but the book is perhaps most valuable for the way it rounds out and humanizes this man who managed to keep so many of his cards close to the vest despite decades in the spotlight." —Variety “Total F*cking Godhead brings Chris Cornell, "The new Chris Cornell biography is the book his legacy deserves." —Kerrang! "Reiff unearths plenty of unexpected details and novel anecdotes…but the book is perhaps most valuable for the way it rounds out and humanizes this man who managed to keep so many of his cards close to the vest despite decades in the spotlight." —Variety “Total F*cking Godhead brings Chris Cornell, the voice of a generation, alive on the page. Impressively researched and compulsively readable, Godhead pulls no punches in recounting Cornell’s remarkable life and prolific career. It’s an inspired chronicle of an impassioned soul. Read it!”—Greg Renoff, author of Van Halen Rising With input from those who knew and worked with him—together with his own words—Total F*cking Godhead recounts the rise of Chris Cornell and his immortal band Soundgarden as they emerged from the 1980s post-punk underground to dominate popular culture in the ’90s alongside Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Nirvana. “From his days as a struggling Seattle musician at the forefront of the grunge scene to becoming a global icon, Total F*cking Godhead thoroughly chronicles the life story and prolific output of one of the greatest and most influential singers of all time. You will discover the man and his music all over again.”—David de Sola, author of Alice in Chains: The Untold Story Seattle resident and rock writer Corbin Reiff also examines Cornell’s dynamic solo career as well as his time in Audioslave. He delves into his hard-fought battle with addiction, and the supercharged reunion with the band that made him famous before everything came to a shocking end. “For those of us still trying to sort out the tragedy of Chris Cornell's death comes this loving look back at the man's life and music. I wrote my own book about grunge, and I still learned a lot from this excellent biography." —Mark Yarm, author of Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge


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"The new Chris Cornell biography is the book his legacy deserves." —Kerrang! "Reiff unearths plenty of unexpected details and novel anecdotes…but the book is perhaps most valuable for the way it rounds out and humanizes this man who managed to keep so many of his cards close to the vest despite decades in the spotlight." —Variety “Total F*cking Godhead brings Chris Cornell, "The new Chris Cornell biography is the book his legacy deserves." —Kerrang! "Reiff unearths plenty of unexpected details and novel anecdotes…but the book is perhaps most valuable for the way it rounds out and humanizes this man who managed to keep so many of his cards close to the vest despite decades in the spotlight." —Variety “Total F*cking Godhead brings Chris Cornell, the voice of a generation, alive on the page. Impressively researched and compulsively readable, Godhead pulls no punches in recounting Cornell’s remarkable life and prolific career. It’s an inspired chronicle of an impassioned soul. Read it!”—Greg Renoff, author of Van Halen Rising With input from those who knew and worked with him—together with his own words—Total F*cking Godhead recounts the rise of Chris Cornell and his immortal band Soundgarden as they emerged from the 1980s post-punk underground to dominate popular culture in the ’90s alongside Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Nirvana. “From his days as a struggling Seattle musician at the forefront of the grunge scene to becoming a global icon, Total F*cking Godhead thoroughly chronicles the life story and prolific output of one of the greatest and most influential singers of all time. You will discover the man and his music all over again.”—David de Sola, author of Alice in Chains: The Untold Story Seattle resident and rock writer Corbin Reiff also examines Cornell’s dynamic solo career as well as his time in Audioslave. He delves into his hard-fought battle with addiction, and the supercharged reunion with the band that made him famous before everything came to a shocking end. “For those of us still trying to sort out the tragedy of Chris Cornell's death comes this loving look back at the man's life and music. I wrote my own book about grunge, and I still learned a lot from this excellent biography." —Mark Yarm, author of Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge

30 review for Total F*cking Godhead: The Biography of Chris Cornell

  1. 5 out of 5

    MR

    I was disappointed with both the style and content of this biography of Chris Cornell. The book reads more like a simple account of his musical accomplishments, and not an exploration of his life and development as an artist. It was clear from the content that the author has cobbled together biographical material that is readily available online and in existing biographical sources (Grunge is Dead, Everybody Lovers Our Town, Spin, etc.). There is very little (if any) new information or in-depth I was disappointed with both the style and content of this biography of Chris Cornell. The book reads more like a simple account of his musical accomplishments, and not an exploration of his life and development as an artist. It was clear from the content that the author has cobbled together biographical material that is readily available online and in existing biographical sources (Grunge is Dead, Everybody Lovers Our Town, Spin, etc.). There is very little (if any) new information or in-depth interview material that sheds light on his character, personality or emotional essence. Chris Cornell was one of the most creatively charged and multi-talented musicians to come out of the late 80's and early 90's modern music scene. He almost single handedly drove the musical entity that was Soundgarden. The rest of the band are all excellent musicians in their own right, but it was Cornell who was at the creative core of the band, and whose songwriting and performing skills catapulted them above the rest of the Seattle music scene. This book does little to delve into the life events that fueled his ascendancy to musical genius, nor provides insights into how his personality was shaped by the people and circumstances he encountered in his youth. It provides almost no in-depth details on his personal relationships with the rest of Soundgarden or Audioslave, members of the musical community or his manager/first wife. There was also no exploration of the circumstances behind the controversy that erupted between his widow and the remaining members of Soundgarden after his death. Unfortunately it will probably be some time before a detailed, introspective biography of Chris Cornell appears, most likely by someone within his inner circle who decides to come forward and provide the world with a more personal and insightful look into this amazing and complex man's life, and tragic death.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Johns

    I liked Total F*cking Godhead, but I didn't quite love it - and I wanted to love it, partly because I'm a massive Chris Cornell fan, partly because Corbin Reiff seems like the legit greatest dude on earth, partly because, as he says in his introduction, the Chris Cornell story hasn't been told as well as it should've been. Total F*cking Godhead helps plug the gap. You get the sense early on that Reiff is both a fan and that he worked his butt off on the project; the research is exhaustive, and w I liked Total F*cking Godhead, but I didn't quite love it - and I wanted to love it, partly because I'm a massive Chris Cornell fan, partly because Corbin Reiff seems like the legit greatest dude on earth, partly because, as he says in his introduction, the Chris Cornell story hasn't been told as well as it should've been. Total F*cking Godhead helps plug the gap. You get the sense early on that Reiff is both a fan and that he worked his butt off on the project; the research is exhaustive, and while it's a shame Reiff wasn't able to interview any of Cornell's former bandmates he did a wonderful job of plugging the gaps. Again, I'm a huge Cornell fan - but even I'd forgotten just how much he accomplished during his life. It's such a shame he's gone. Total F*cking Godhead could've used a more thorough editing. There were a lot of little errors - an extra word here, a missing word there. There were a few factual errors, as well. At one point, for instance, Reiff writes about a one-off performance involving Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails that took place at Molson Park in Barrie, Ontario in 1994; later he refers to a Soundgarden show at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto in 2011, but then writes that it was the same venue as that 1994 show. These aren't glaring mistakes by any means, but cumulatively they chipped away from my enjoyment of Total F*cking Godhead. I also wish Reiff had spent more time on Cornell's death. It feels almost tacked-on here, but it's a huge part of the Chris Cornell story - as is the fallout from his death (and no, I'm not talking about the conspiracy theories, which don't deserve the time of day). It seems like Reiff would've been well within his rights to delve a bit deeper. I genuinely wonder if he was worried about lawsuits. In the end, Total F*cking Godhead is a fine read. I think it could've been better, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. Now that I'm finished it I'm going to re-read Everybody Loves Our Town by Mark Yarm, an oral history of the Seattle sound which seems like it'd make for a great companion piece.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bellish

    No you're crying. No you're crying.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    Total F*cking Godhead is as close to the complete life story of Chris Cornell as you'll get without hearing it from the man himself. It's a must-read for anyone who cares a single iota about Soundgarden, Audioslave, Cornell or Seattle music from the ’90s. Full, spoiler-free review: https://t.co/JeFyQvQOSU Total F*cking Godhead is as close to the complete life story of Chris Cornell as you'll get without hearing it from the man himself. It's a must-read for anyone who cares a single iota about Soundgarden, Audioslave, Cornell or Seattle music from the ’90s. Full, spoiler-free review: https://t.co/JeFyQvQOSU

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kristīne Brence

    As someone who has read multiple Seattle band/ Music scene literature, this has to be dissapointing. Even in the slightest. I believe this is a great source for someone who hasn't been introduced to Chris Cornell before. But as someone who has, most, if not all facts stated- are known to me, personally, the book doesn't state much new information. It feels like I'm reading a Wikipedia page, which somehow has a fictional tone to it. I would be personally more interested if the author himself analy As someone who has read multiple Seattle band/ Music scene literature, this has to be dissapointing. Even in the slightest. I believe this is a great source for someone who hasn't been introduced to Chris Cornell before. But as someone who has, most, if not all facts stated- are known to me, personally, the book doesn't state much new information. It feels like I'm reading a Wikipedia page, which somehow has a fictional tone to it. I would be personally more interested if the author himself analysed, or expressed his theories about facts or matters. Knowing that there is much more to Chris, the book almost has a safety net. Very neutral. And is afraid to push, be contraversial at all. It doesn't capture the mysterious, dark personality of Cornell. And the title and book cover itself.... Not for me! But hey, at least Chris now has a biography! Which is cool I suppose!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sintija Brence

    A good book for someone who doesn't know much about Soundgarden/Chris Cornell and for the future generations. However if you are a big fan of them, this book doesn't seem to tell anything new. A safe choice from the author. Doesn't really have any edge to it which Chris Cornell as a musician did have. The book romanticises long paragraphs about how Cornell sat in a cabin writing his songs (which seems like the authors own imagination). Yet states in a quick sentence that Smashing Pumpkin's singe A good book for someone who doesn't know much about Soundgarden/Chris Cornell and for the future generations. However if you are a big fan of them, this book doesn't seem to tell anything new. A safe choice from the author. Doesn't really have any edge to it which Chris Cornell as a musician did have. The book romanticises long paragraphs about how Cornell sat in a cabin writing his songs (which seems like the authors own imagination). Yet states in a quick sentence that Smashing Pumpkin's singer was an un-welcomed guest and doesn't explain why. Resulting in a read that is agitating. I was anticipating to get a deeper insight into Chris Cornell as an individuality and his struggles and upbringing. Initially, I was really excited to read it. However, now it's hard to finish.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Suraj

    I have grown up listening to Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains among many many other great bands. Their music and lyrics have helped me cope with great adversities in my life. I was devastated when I heard about Chris Cornell's death. I have always worshipped Chris, Layne and Eddie. Having lost both Layne and Chris to suicide, my heart was always raw whenever I heard their songs or read anything about them. Now having finished Total F*cking Godhead, my love for Chris and the music that I have grown up listening to Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains among many many other great bands. Their music and lyrics have helped me cope with great adversities in my life. I was devastated when I heard about Chris Cornell's death. I have always worshipped Chris, Layne and Eddie. Having lost both Layne and Chris to suicide, my heart was always raw whenever I heard their songs or read anything about them. Now having finished Total F*cking Godhead, my love for Chris and the music that he helped create has skyrocketed. Despite having followed the Seattle grunge scene and the bands it produced for over 2 decades, reading this book made me think about the times when I used to borrow my brothers tape and listen to Soundgarden on repeat. The book also made me think about the times when their music filled me with joy and wonder, gave me the drive and energy to accomplish so many things. The love I have for Chris Cornell and his music will never fade, but I believe it has grown stronger because I believe deep down that - to quote Chris Cornell himself- I believe he is "Alive in the Super-Unknown." Rest In Peace Chris. I hope you have finally found the peace and tranquility you have been searching for.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Beck Thompson Was Kingsnorth

    I never understood why people got upset when celebrities died - why would you cry over someone you've never met? But then Chris Cornell killed himself, and I did shed a tear. He was such a huge part of my youth and I still listen to Soundgarden now. I've been waiting for someone to write a book on his life, so I was itching to read this when I heard it had been published. The author has been quite up-front about legal wranglings that meant he couldn't interview Chris Cornell's former bandmates. I never understood why people got upset when celebrities died - why would you cry over someone you've never met? But then Chris Cornell killed himself, and I did shed a tear. He was such a huge part of my youth and I still listen to Soundgarden now. I've been waiting for someone to write a book on his life, so I was itching to read this when I heard it had been published. The author has been quite up-front about legal wranglings that meant he couldn't interview Chris Cornell's former bandmates. This has meant that the book feels partly as if it's been cobbled together from various sources (which are always quoted, to the author's credit). It's certainly very well-researched, but it feels a little bit like a very good project that someone has written by drawing on existing material. It's a shame the author was not allowed to interview the surviving members of Soundgarden. I think I would also have appreciated some more material about Chris Cornell as a person - his early life before music - and the book concentrates heavily on his recording career. Of course that's important, but the focus perhaps felt a little narrow at times. I did still enjoy the book - but I think that the definitive biography of Chris Cornell is yet to be written...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Great insight into Cornell's character and career. First 100 pages are excellent. Great insight into Cornell's character and career. First 100 pages are excellent.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Len or Len

    Excellent bio of the Soundgarden star. Covers a lot of ground and lets us into the mind of Chris Cornell, which makes his tragic passing even more devastating. I learned a lot about him, but I do wish the book had addressed what might have made him make his final sad decision.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Haggan

    I wish I could rate this higher but there were so many typos and editorial errors that surprised me. That being said however, I’m so glad Corbin Reiff clearly put his heart and soul into the research and work to chronicle Chris’s expansive career. It must’ve been quite a challenging project to take on with the huge body of work Chris put out during his short time on Earth, but Reiff definitely rose to the occasion. You can tell he is a true fan and he handled the task in a respectful, non-exploi I wish I could rate this higher but there were so many typos and editorial errors that surprised me. That being said however, I’m so glad Corbin Reiff clearly put his heart and soul into the research and work to chronicle Chris’s expansive career. It must’ve been quite a challenging project to take on with the huge body of work Chris put out during his short time on Earth, but Reiff definitely rose to the occasion. You can tell he is a true fan and he handled the task in a respectful, non-exploitative manner. I think it’s a story that all music fans are happy is finally being told!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Paul Taylor

    Overall a great insight into Cornell and the grunge scene in Seattle

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anna Honkanen

    A page turner it was not. The reader of the audiobook made it worse with his annoying nasal voice and chronic mispronunciation of names. Finished listening just because of Chris.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cody L.

    There are few celebrity deaths that have affected me as deeply as the death of Chris Cornell. It's strange how someone you've never met can play such a significant role in your life. Like a constant companion. A guiding voice in your head. He's been there through it all, so feels like a permanent character in my life. When I first learned of Corbin Reiff's biography, I was euphoric! Finally! A proper tribute for this demigod who held a tempest within a mortal frame. Then in an instant, my euphor There are few celebrity deaths that have affected me as deeply as the death of Chris Cornell. It's strange how someone you've never met can play such a significant role in your life. Like a constant companion. A guiding voice in your head. He's been there through it all, so feels like a permanent character in my life. When I first learned of Corbin Reiff's biography, I was euphoric! Finally! A proper tribute for this demigod who held a tempest within a mortal frame. Then in an instant, my euphoria turned to despondency. Because I know how the story ends. Old feelings resurfaced. In Total F*cking Godhead, Reiff has tastefully taken the focus off the tragedy and instead, has cast a glowing light on a life well lived. A life that deserves to be celebrated. And remembered. In addition to taking an in depth walk through grunge history, you come to know Chris more intimately. I found myself putting the book down repeatedly to listen to songs I've heard a thousand times, and yet, my perspective had shifted, so I was listening with fresh ears. It instilled a sense of nostalgia. It provoked the same feelings I had the first time I listened. I was revisiting songs from his earliest albums that had somehow become lost to me throughout the years. It was like becoming reacquainted with an old friend. I also realized how much of Chris' music I didn't know. Reiff served as a guide while I took a deep dive into Chris' solo career for the first time. I came to understand the full breadth of a man I thought I was familiar with. I read lyrics with sober eyes. When I came to the final chapter, I set the book down. I put it off for days, knowing the outcome. For the time I spent reading, Reiff had managed to bring Chris back to life. And I didn't have it in me to mourn Chris' death all over again. When I did bring myself to the finish the book, it was with a sense of placidity and closure. I found comfort in knowing Reiff had done Chris justice. I have a new found appreciation and respect for Chris Cornell. And I have a treasure trove of new material to explore. Thank you to Corbin Reiff for your efforts in keeping Chris' legacy alive, preserved for generations to come. If you loved Chris Cornell, you owe it to yourself to take this journey.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jesse D

    I was disappointed in this biography. The majority of the information given is readily available on the internet and little new insight is given at all. I was expecting more interviews with family and friends, but the book just seemed to be a chronology of various album releases and concert dates. Don’t waste your money on this book :(

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Rice

    I've been pondering this review in my head for a few days. The book left me with some complex feelings. I have to say first that the author did a great job piecing together an honest biography with what he had to work with. Seeing where Chris came from and how genuine his music was/is profound. I think picturing the older days with him and the band driving around in the van was enjoyable. Some of the book can get a little daunting with the touring. For me this book made a lot of his songs sound I've been pondering this review in my head for a few days. The book left me with some complex feelings. I have to say first that the author did a great job piecing together an honest biography with what he had to work with. Seeing where Chris came from and how genuine his music was/is profound. I think picturing the older days with him and the band driving around in the van was enjoyable. Some of the book can get a little daunting with the touring. For me this book made a lot of his songs sound brand new. I now know where a lot of them came from. For instance I can't help but laugh when I listen to "I Am The Highway" knowing he probably got inspiration from that song by sitting in 3hr traffic to the studio. The book was lacking in the area of his personal life. It touched briefly with his relationships with Susan Silver, but him having an epiphany in rehab to get a divorce didn't cut it for me. It did convey his issues with depression and solitude. Which is a huge part that leads up to the elephant in the room, his suicide. The author did a notable job by laying out the facts of that night and what followed. Chris was really an extraordinary artist that was able to spread himself out in so many different ways, whether or not everyone embraced it, he really didn't care. I feel he did not get the recognition he deserved and I feel this book slightly feels the same way.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    If you revere the genius and unparalleled talent of Chris Cornell as I do and are jonzing for a nostalgic journey through his legacy, Total F*cking Godhead is just the elixir you seek. From the early club dates of Soundgarden to the Cuban stadiums mounted by Audioslave, Reiff tracks the genesis of an immortal voice through a whirlwind rock star life ended far too soon. Part oral history from the icons who shared the stage with Cornell, part meticulously researched biography, TFG is a time capsul If you revere the genius and unparalleled talent of Chris Cornell as I do and are jonzing for a nostalgic journey through his legacy, Total F*cking Godhead is just the elixir you seek. From the early club dates of Soundgarden to the Cuban stadiums mounted by Audioslave, Reiff tracks the genesis of an immortal voice through a whirlwind rock star life ended far too soon. Part oral history from the icons who shared the stage with Cornell, part meticulously researched biography, TFG is a time capsule that brings some of rock's most legendary songs to life. Reiff seldom gets caught up in drug binges and other tragic rock star tropes, rather he tells the honest tales of Cornell's historic moments such as the origins of Temple of the Dog as a curative response to Andrew Wood's death or the recording process of a 90's grunge behemoth Superunknown. Cornell's story is one of triumph and tragedy, a life well lived that inspired a generation of lead singers after...though in the words of Chris: "No one sings like you anymore..."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jeci Klikas

    The wounds of losing him still fresh and still deep; a voice of a generation. A hero... There are some gaps here and the writing focuses solely on his musical timeline which is fine, it's what brought us together to begin with, but what's missing is what happened in those spaces in between endeavors. Everything here is what we already knew but it's great to have all in one place and the stroll down memory lane was a good one. In the end I am reminded of his amazing talent and indelible drive; his The wounds of losing him still fresh and still deep; a voice of a generation. A hero... There are some gaps here and the writing focuses solely on his musical timeline which is fine, it's what brought us together to begin with, but what's missing is what happened in those spaces in between endeavors. Everything here is what we already knew but it's great to have all in one place and the stroll down memory lane was a good one. In the end I am reminded of his amazing talent and indelible drive; his only desire was to create music and he did it better than anyone. "No one sings like you anymore." No one.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    An excellent ta read for those wanting to learn about Chris Cornell's story and how influential and significant his presence and talent was on not only the music industry but also a wider arena. Although not offering much for those looking for previously unknown information, the book's structure and content offers a holistic and widely encompassing story of the life of a great singer and songwriter. An excellent ta read for those wanting to learn about Chris Cornell's story and how influential and significant his presence and talent was on not only the music industry but also a wider arena. Although not offering much for those looking for previously unknown information, the book's structure and content offers a holistic and widely encompassing story of the life of a great singer and songwriter.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anthony O'

    I thought this book is handy if your interested in Chris Cornell’s discography as the author references it a lot. This book feels like it was made not to piss anyone off. It’s really cut and dry stuff. Well researched but there didn’t seem to but a lot about Cornell’s turmoil, his relationship with his family. Did he even have a decent relationship with his family? Who knows because the answers aren’t in this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mandi Monster Hidalgo

    An extremely well-written unofficial biography of my all-time favorite musician. I cried numerous times while reading it and was inspired to draw one the best drawings I've done of Chris. I loved every bit of it and it also helped in my grieving process, because let's face it...I don't know that I'll ever fully recover from losing that artistic talent and inspiration. An extremely well-written unofficial biography of my all-time favorite musician. I cried numerous times while reading it and was inspired to draw one the best drawings I've done of Chris. I loved every bit of it and it also helped in my grieving process, because let's face it...I don't know that I'll ever fully recover from losing that artistic talent and inspiration.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joel G

    A worthy tribute to one of the greatest singers in rock history. Reiff is obviously a fan, but it never feels like hagiography. Highly recommended.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jim Gahring

    Very good I loved it, all the details behind the music as well as the personal stuff. Ultimately the book is heartbreaking. Really good

  24. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    A page turner of biography. Interesting and engaging, but legal lack of access to many renders this a tad superficial.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nick Cavuoto

    Meh. Overly fawning. Not a lot of new info.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amine

    No one sings like Chris anymore :) this book was a journey for me as a fan of Grunge music and a fan of Chris Cornell, one thing, just read it and say hello to heaven !

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ken Hunt

    Anyone who knows me or reads my reviews knows I am a total Seattle homer who loves history, music, sports, and my city. I have only been in Seattle since 2002 and only casually enjoyed what was going on in Seattle in the early '90s at the peaks of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains from afar as I was in a 4 year graduate school program and simply heard their songs on the radio in passing and thought, "cool song.....back to work." Since moving to Seattle I have dug deep into their m Anyone who knows me or reads my reviews knows I am a total Seattle homer who loves history, music, sports, and my city. I have only been in Seattle since 2002 and only casually enjoyed what was going on in Seattle in the early '90s at the peaks of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains from afar as I was in a 4 year graduate school program and simply heard their songs on the radio in passing and thought, "cool song.....back to work." Since moving to Seattle I have dug deep into their music, the community and the history and certainly wish I could have been here then. While Seattle lost its beloved NBA Supersonics, my connection to the city is enhanced by the basketball community here that thrives in spite of that. Having kids who grew up on the basketball community, I see amazingly skilled, locally raised basketball players, high school, college, NBA......all amazing....and not only do they all know each other, they all care about each other, mentor each other and help each other. It's a Seattle thing. Same with the local community of writers, the local community of famous climbers and so it is with our Seattle community of bands. As I read the music histories of Seattle, (Kicking and Screaming-Heart), (Everybody Loves Our Town-An oral History of Grunge), (Heavier the Heaven -Biography of Kurt Cobain), and now Total Fucking Godhead, I love how intertwined all of our musicians are, how they played with and for each other and were friends, rivals, fans, mourners of each other. I have a family tree of Seattle music to track the overlaps of who played with who and knew who, from Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone, The Melvins, Foo Fighters, Screaming Trees, Green River, Mudhoney, Temple of the Dog, Mookie Blaylock, Audioslave, The Gits.......I have been to remaining places that made up that history, The Crocodile, The Comet Tavern (where Pia Zapata was last seen alive), the house where Cobain died, the Soundgarden in Magnussen Park.......So I was excited when I saw this book and glad that I read it. I liked Total F*cking Godhead, but I didn't love it, I watched author Corbin Reiff discuss it on a Powells Books webinar and he is great. He indicated that the Chris Cornell story hasn't been told as well as it should've been, but also that given the lawsuits surrounding his death many of the interviews dried up. I've never been a fan of the deep textures descriptions of oaky toned, full throated, earthy wines, foods, etc, ..... and music. Either you like it or you do not, everyone has different experiences, not all things mean the same to all people. This book is a fabulous music geek exploration of the songs, descriptions of the songs and how they came about. What I missed was much deeper explorations of the human beings involved, their emotions, motivations, what made them tick and the relationships with each other. While Reiff is a good writer, I fear that perspective was light and suffered from lack of access to all the players in a deep and compelling way. It would have been nice to have waited for the suit to end and people to open up more deeply and thoroughly about Cornell and his life before finishing the book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    This is a great accounting of Chris Cornell's life, career, and accomplishments, from childhood to his death in 2017. Any fan of the legendary Seattle music scene will find a wealth of nostalgia-wrapped information here. Cornell was one of the central figures of that scene, and so his story is in part the story of that whole rain-soaked chapter in music history. The book is lovingly written, if sloppily edited. It's clearly the work of a massive fan, which is sometimes exactly what another fan wa This is a great accounting of Chris Cornell's life, career, and accomplishments, from childhood to his death in 2017. Any fan of the legendary Seattle music scene will find a wealth of nostalgia-wrapped information here. Cornell was one of the central figures of that scene, and so his story is in part the story of that whole rain-soaked chapter in music history. The book is lovingly written, if sloppily edited. It's clearly the work of a massive fan, which is sometimes exactly what another fan wants to read. It is not very critical of Cornell, sometimes verging on hagiography. I can't off the top of my head think of any glaring omissions, any sordid chapters in Cornell's life, but the way it breezes past some of the darker moments almost feels distracting at times. Things like his divorce from Susan Silver and the end of Audioslave are just sort of dispensed with in a matter of sentences. This may be owing to the general lack of primary sources. As the author explains, he was unable to get interviews from anyone really close to Cornell, whether family members or bandmates, ostensibly for reasons related to the inevitable legal entanglements that follow the death of a twice-married, multimillionaire rock star with multiple former bands and record labels. Reiff does an outstanding job of weaving together this compelling narrative, but the lack of insider perspectives is certainly felt: at times the biography feels more journalistic than anything else. Mercifully, the book does not attempt to psychoanalyze Cornell at the end of his life – almost aggressively so. Cornell's suicide is covered in just a few pages. I appreciate Reiff's decision to keep the narrative at a bit of a remove, resisting the temptation to "solve the mystery" of Cornell's death. It does make the ending feel rather abrupt, though. But perhaps that's the point. Cornell died between Soundgarden gigs, 52 years old and working on his next album. It was abrupt. If you come to this book looking for any sense of closure, you won't likely find it. But what you will find is an excellent reminder of what a great musician Cornell was and how much he accomplished – and therefore of how much we've lost.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mike Prewitt

    This was a fantastic portrait of a legend of music. Chris Cornell's life is tragic with ups and downs. This book chronicles his rise to fame starting in the 80s when he was just turning 20. His magnum opus was joining the legendary band Soundgarden. The band played for 12 years and in those 12 years hits such as "Rusty Cage", "Spoonman", "Fell on Black Days", and their crowning achievement "Black Hole Sun" were ferocious metal prowess that ushered in the grunge movement. There's a lot to this bo This was a fantastic portrait of a legend of music. Chris Cornell's life is tragic with ups and downs. This book chronicles his rise to fame starting in the 80s when he was just turning 20. His magnum opus was joining the legendary band Soundgarden. The band played for 12 years and in those 12 years hits such as "Rusty Cage", "Spoonman", "Fell on Black Days", and their crowning achievement "Black Hole Sun" were ferocious metal prowess that ushered in the grunge movement. There's a lot to this book it coalesces drug abuse, substance abuse (alcohol consumption) and what it was like to live as an angst filled rebellious bad boy in Seattle's music scene. Then it talks about the formation of Audioslave born from the ashes of Rage Against the Machine members: Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk. Overall I really enjoyed this book I now have a better understanding of the grunge movement and what it was like. If you're a fan of Chris or this particular music, I implore you to read this. No One Sings Like You Anymore RIP Chris Cornell 1964-2017.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Msb

    I had such high expectations for this book and it fell short of the mark. I don’t hold that against the author. The emergence of the lawsuit very clearly curtailed interviews which would have filled in many holes in Chris’s life story. There’s hardly a mention of his personal life, but especially of his daughter Lily. Throughout the book, the timeline is jumbled. Each chapter often begins with a story, then gives the background and lead-up. While it’s a semi-unique approach, it made it difficult I had such high expectations for this book and it fell short of the mark. I don’t hold that against the author. The emergence of the lawsuit very clearly curtailed interviews which would have filled in many holes in Chris’s life story. There’s hardly a mention of his personal life, but especially of his daughter Lily. Throughout the book, the timeline is jumbled. Each chapter often begins with a story, then gives the background and lead-up. While it’s a semi-unique approach, it made it difficult to follow at times. There were several editing mishaps too, especially noticeable when “Chris’s” was used instead of “Chris” in a few places. A great book if you want a lot review of everything else that’s ever been published in text or video. Overall enjoyable, but doesn’t bring anything new to the table.

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