Chris Cornell, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the group Soundgarden surprised a young fan sitting in the audience during a performance at the Roxy Theatre. Fan Arnie Sallan, 16 years old at the time was called onstage by Cornell to accompany him on the Soundgarden song “Fell on Black Days,” written by Cornell.
The impromptu “jam session” with the young fan made it to YouTube and received thousands of views. Young Sallan maintained his composure while rocking the stage with the mega star who said “He was on it,” to the cheering audience. In truth, this young man by his sheer ability to maintain his cool and play along with the song (no missteps either), gained the respect of who knows how many people in the audience as well as Cornell himself. Great song and great performance by the “trio” completed by young Sallan.
Why am I even writing about this?! Well, we talk about mega star performers and their crappy attitudes and mistreatment of fans or simply not acknowledging the worth of the fan, quite a bit. Yes there are some performers that forget the fan is what actually makes them huge in the first place. THIS particular event is a shining example on HOW mega stars become so AND how they make their fans feel special. Cornell didn’t have to speak to this young fan, didn’t have to bring him on stage and DEFINITELY didn’t have to let him jam live with him during his performance. This was some very cool stuff and I don’t understand why none of the media outlets picked up the story…it’s a great human interest piece…great fan engagement story…a great “dream come true” story…simple as that and deserves some shine.
Lastly, it doesn’t matter that this event happened in 2010, yes three years ago, it is still one of the best examples I can find of artist engagement with their fans which we as publicists preach about to our clients on a daily basis.
Besides, Arnie Sallan held his own on stage with 2x Grammy Award winner Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, one of the seminal bands in the creation of “grunge,” isn’t that a good fan story? Hell yes it is!
Here’s a quote about Arnie from his dad Bruce Sallan, creator of “A Dad’s Point of View,” “…He’s a freshman at The Berklee College of Music. When he was sixteen, he talked his way on stage with his idol – Chris Cornell – at a small benefit concert at The Roxy on Sunset. I think THAT video on YouTube is what helped him get accepted to Berklee, given he had NO grades and didn’t even take the SATs! He did audition – on drums – which has become his primary instrument though now he’s playing around being a DJ. He is multi-faceted, to say the least.” Congrats Bruce on such a great young man…he’s obviously a motivated go-getter like his dad.
Check the performance video, it’s really awesome:
- Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell Teams With Gibson for Two Limited Edition Guitars (loudwire.com)
- Musicians Say The Strangest Things: Art Essay (ominocity.com)