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Chris Cornell @ Mesa Arts Center

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Chris Cornell has led the rock star life, though his Seattle childhood indicated that he'd wind up a programmer at Microsoft, not one of the biggest names in alternative music. The socially awkward pre-teen actually spent a solid two years listening only to The Beatles, being a loner, and avoiding social contact. Rock music offered an out; soon, he was joining bands in the Seattle area, overcoming his fear of people by commanding their adoration. Five records deep, Soundgarden called it quits, and Cornell fronted the Rage Against the Machine spin-off Audioslave (essentially, RATM but with a sound leaning toward Soundgarden's). Audioslave called it quits in 2007, citing, of course, "musical differences." Despite a 2010 Soundgarden reunion and subsequent 2011 summer tour, Cornell always has taken time to focus on his solo work. From 1999's revered Euphoria Morning to 2009's pop-rock influenced Scream (critically panned as lukewarm, at best), Cornell's sound has changed considerably over the years. The major change in his life has been sobriety, and he has said that it has certainly impacted his musical perspective. Whether that change is for the good of Soundgarden is yet to be seen. Their comeback record is set to surface next year.

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.