Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament Says Chris Cornell Was Seattle’s Greatest Songwriter

By Rami Abou-Sabe

Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament has opened up about his close friend and bandmate Chris Cornell, following Cornell’s shocking suicide last month. Ament, who was recruited by Chris to join Temple of the Dog in 1990, spoke to hosts Brent Barry and Laurence Scott of the NBA Soundsystem podcast about the legacy of the lost musician. Read on for some of the highlights from Ament’s wide-ranging interview.

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Jimi Hendrix included, Chris was the greatest songwriter to ever come out of Seattle,” Jeff said.

“Hendrix could play the guitar like crazy, but Chris had the songwriting chops that we all sort of hope to get to… He had a way that he could wrap a melody around odd time signatures and weird parts and make them catchy. And he was a beautiful wordsmith.”

Cornell racked up two number one hits as the frontman of Audioslave, and a slew of Top 10’s across his storied career as a member of Soundgarden and Temple.

“If you look at his lyrics, he was obviously processing his pain and his depression and all those things. I think that’s part of what people, myself included, responded to when he was singing,” Jeff continued. “And then with the songwriting, he had that voice. There’s not too many people who had that many options with their voice. He could inhabit a lot of different characters with that voice.”

“I feel so lucky I got to be in a project with him and got to hang out with him and just witness his greatness,” Ament added at the end.

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