I would have been about 13 years old when I picked up Road Rash for the Sony PlayStation.
I loved the series, having played all the previous entries on the SEGA Mega Drive, but it’s the PlayStation version that still lingers fondly in my mind even to this day. And I can tell you why – it’s because it had an epic soundtrack.
Featuring 14 music tracks from a selection of A&M Records artists that played whenever you were tinkering in the game’s menus, there were four that really stood out to me, and they were all by a band that I’d never heard of before called Soundgarden. From the album Motorfinger there was Rusty Cage and Outshined, and from Superunknown there was Kickstand and, well, Superunknown. All four were brilliant tracks that I’d look forward to hearing between races, and thinking back, I guess they laid the foundations for my love of alternative rock.
While I became a fan of Soundgarden’s music, however, one thing about it particularly resonated with me: Chris Cornell’s vocals. They were always so soulful and powerful. When you listened, you felt like you could believe every word that came out of his mouth, he sang with such conviction. And he often made it all seem so effortless – if you ever watched him perform live, you’d sometimes wonder just how he could create so much wonderful noise by just wryly moving his lips. Chris Cornell was born to sing, and he graciously shared his gift with us.
Since Road Rash, I’ve enjoyed Chris Cornell’s vocal talents outside of games and also in titles such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band. I’ve avidly listened to Audioslave and his solo albums. No matter what though, my fondest memory of his work will always be rocking my head to Rusty Cage before heading out to engage in some fisticuffs sat astride a bike.
Thanks for the music and the memories, Chris. You will never be forgotten.