The past few years have been pretty sad when it comes to losing artists. Lemmy, Bowie, and Prince were seemingly immortal. They were living and breathing icons as told in Greek Mythology. They were larger than life and losing each one crushed me in different ways. Lemmy was too rough to die. I never dreamed Prince would leave us so soon. How could music even exist without Bowie? However, one recent death really had an effect on me. The loss of Chris Cornell. As with life’s perfect sense of timing, comes two Soundgarden covers from Transylvania Stud. My Wave and “Searching With My Good Eye Closed.
Cornell may have been a legend in rock music, but his death felt like it hit home.
I didn’t know Cornell personally, I didn’t even get a chance to see him or Soundgarden in concert! But there was something about his death that made me question my own mortality. He was an artist I grew up listening to while he was still relevant and I had the opportunity to witness his artistic growth on each release as it happened. That’s probably one of the main reasons Transylvania Stud’s covers have such an impact on me.
Make no mistake, these recordings are not post-mortem cash-grabs in hopes to capitalize on a fallen legend’s passing. Searching With My Good Eye Closed (which also features help in the rhythm department by Nashville’s THE BY GODS) was recorded and finished weeks before Cornell’s passing. That in itself adds some emotional weight to the timing of the release.
Covering such a distinctive style as Soundgarden is no easy task but Transylvania Stud makes it look easy.
Andrew Godfrey has been touring and recording for a while with his band NAVAEH, and Transylvania Stud began as a side-project to showcase more experimental sounds in both sound and theme. Throughout both projects, Soundgarden’s influence has always been felt. Hearing Godfrey take on such iconic vocals as Cornell’s isn’t much of a stretch as it’s a no-brainer. The distinctive notes are met effortlessly while maintaining Godfrey’s signature vocal style. Both tracks may be spot on, but still far and above any tribute act.
Hearing a modern artist cover these songs in 2017 and making them sound fresh as the day they were released is a testament to just how good Cornell was. He had a personal style that could never be duplicated, but it doesn’t keep artists from trying. While many mainstream artists shoehorn covers of “Black Hole Sun” into their setlists to pay makeshift tributes to Cornell’s passing, Godfrey honors Cornell’s legacy by delivering two covers than stand shoulder to shoulder with the originals.
For more information on Transylvania Stud, check out my 50thirdand3rd interview with Andrew Godfrey HERE
To purchase My Wave and Searching With My Good Eye Closed, as well as Red Queen and various merch, please visit Bandcamp