Speaking to Los Angeles radio station 95.5 KLOS, Momsen explained that she was one of the last people to see Cornell alive. On the night he passed away, Cornell and Soundgarden had played the final show of their tour with The Pretty Reckless.
“[Chris Cornell] tended to leave right after the show, so I was kind of waiting by the back door knowing that it was the last night of tour, and I wanted to thank him for everything and say whatever I was gonna say,” Momsen said in the interview.
“And I did, I caught him as he was walking out. We had a nice little discussion, I gave him a big hug, a ‘Let’s do it again sometime’ and then we continued on with the night, hanging in the back parking lot with [Soundgarden’s] Matt [Cameron] and Kim [Thayil] and Ben [Shepherd] and the rest of our band.
“It was just this big kind of celebration, that we couldn’t believe that we were there. In one way sad that the tour was over, but elated that we were a part of it.”
Early the next morning on May 18, 2017, Cornell was found dead in his Detroit hotel room at age 52. His death was later ruled a suicide by hanging.
“I was in disbelief, I guess is the right word. I was convinced that everyone was lying to me and that it was just some awful joke,” Momsen said of Cornell’s passing.
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The Pretty Reckless continued on with their own tour, but the effect of Cornell’s passing on Momsen later led the band to cancel the remainder of their shows. “I was not emotionally prepared to handle that kind of trauma and that kind of shock,” she said.
Momsen had met Cornell some years earlier but had been a fan of Soundgarden since her youth. “I heard Soundgarden when I was quite young and it struck a chord in me that nothing else had ever hit me like that before. It hit me in such a different way,” she explained.
Momsen remains in contact with the surviving members of Soundgarden, with Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron both featuring on The Pretty Reckless’s 2020 track ‘Death By Rock And Roll’.
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