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Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament on Chris Cornell: Seattle’s ‘Greatest Songwriter’

Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament opened up for the first time about the death of his friend and one-time bandmate Chris Cornell in a new interview.

“Jimi Hendrix included, Chris was the greatest songwriter to ever come out of Seattle,” Ament told the NBA.com podcast 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.”

The bassist, Cornell’s Temple of the Dog bandmate, also spoke about the Soundgarden singer’s talent and legacy. “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.”

Ament added, “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.”

Ament was among Cornell’s grunge peers to provide a eulogy at the singer’s private memorial service in Los Angeles.

“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 told the podcast.

While Pearl Jam haven’t released an official statement regarding Cornell’s death, the individual members have paid tribute to the singer in their own ways: Eddie Vedder’s recent solo concerts illuminated the grief his friends are feeling following Cornell’s death, while Mike McCready told the Seattle Times, “Chris Cornell painted in song the darkness and beauty of life in Seattle. Chris means a lot to me today, as he trusted me to play on Temple [of the Dog]. He handed me a dream in getting to actually play on beautiful songs.”

Pearl Jam and Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron also said in a Facebook post, “My dark knight is gone.”

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