Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson have been called “godmothers of the Seattle music scene.” But that wasn’t really the case, Ann Wilson tells Rolling Stone. Her house was simply the easiest to get to. And thus, it became the de facto safe haven for musicians in bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and more to hang out.
Last week, Ann paid tribute to one of her frequent houseguests, Chris Cornell, who died unexpectedly at age 52. She performed Soundgarden‘s breakthrough 1994 hit “Black Hole Sun” on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live,’ because, to her, the psychedelic rock classic is “essential Chris,” she said.
“I am really serious that people should keep their feelings around Chris positive right now,” the “Alone” singer said, softly. “Chris is still hovering. We should be grateful for the music he gave us, and accept that a time came where he couldn’t give us any more.” Before going onstage, Wilson remembered her old friend, who showed up on her doorstep as a shy, curious musician adjusting to newfound fame.
Here, Wilson shares her memories of Cornell with Rolling Stone.
The first time I met Chris was at a party at my house in Seattle. People who were part of the music scene in the Nineties were living around the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and my house was centrally located. So I cleared out a room where everyone could come and sit in front of the fireplace and talk. We’d hang out together, bitch, drink, get high, play guitars.
It was a time in Seattle when businessmen from New York would be walking around in plaid shirts, looking for guys to sign. And the musicians were just these anonymous people, now being asked to be the voice of a revolution and change everything. So we’d get together and just blow off steam. Nobody had to be anything.
I used to have a themed Halloween party every year and I remembered one time, the theme was to come dressed as your favorite song. Chris came as ‘Black Hole Sun.’ He arrived…