Ed. note: Chris Cornell, who died early this morning in Detroit at the age of 52, was a master of self-reinvention. Though he previously struggled with addiction, the singer reportedly spent the last four years of his life sober -- a time period that coincided with a burst of renewed productivity, as he toured the world solo, with a reunited Temple of the Dog, and finally with Soundgarden.
Oakland's own Fantastic Negrito, helmed by Xavier Dphrepaulezz, joined Cornell on a handful of these tours beginning in 2016. We asked Dphrelpaulezz to share a few words about Cornell.
When I heard Chris Cornell wanted me to open for him in Europe in 2016 [on the musician's acoustic Higher Truth tour], I was terrified. The idea of standing up there with a guitar facing 3,000 seated, hardcore Chris Cornell fans filled me with anxiety. I really didn't think his audience would be into what I was doing.
I flew from Australia to Norway to do the first show. When I arrived Chris greeted me with enthusiasm -- he believed in me more than I believed in myself. After playing the first show in Oslo I decided to sit and watch Chris. I started learning how to stand and deliver the songs to a seated audience by observing a master.