Pearl Jam Bassist Calls Chris Cornell the Greatest Seattle Songwriter

"He was a beautiful wordsmith.”

By Jon Wiederhorn

Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament has called the late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell “the greatest songwriter to ever come out of Seattle.”

“Jimi Hendrix, included,” he added in a short interview with NBA Soundsystem. ““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.”

Related: Watch Eddie Vedder’s Subtle Chris Cornell Tribute

Ament, who played with Cornell in the supergroup Temple of the Dog, which played a reunion tour last year for their 1991 self-titled album last year, said Cornell’s addressed his inner torment in his lyrics, which is largely what made his songs so powerful.

“If you look at his lyrics, he was obviously processing his pain and his depression and all those things,” he said. “I think that’s part of what people, myself included, responded to when he was singing. 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.”

Cornell was cremated and his ashes were buried in on Friday in a private ceremony at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California. He was 52.

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