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The Head and the Heart Cover ‘Hunger Strike,’ Recall Childhood Meeting with Chris Cornell

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The Head and the Heart paid tribute to Chris Cornell during their recent Austin City Limits set, not only performing Temple of the Dog‘s “Hunger Strike,” but also by sharing the story of a chance childhood meeting with Cornell and Soundgarden bandmate Matt Cameron in Seattle.

“When I was a kid growing up there, everybody was trying to play music or skateboard,” singer Matt Gervais said, according to Rolling Stone. “We were trying to do both. It was a day we were jamming out in the basement at my parents’ house, playing music. We were taking a break and trying to do the skateboarding part. So we were out on the sidewalk, and we looked out in the neighbor’s yard, and we saw a couple guys checking out a motorcycle. We looked a little closer and we realized it was Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron from Soundgarden sitting right there.”

They hightailed it back into the basement, turned up their amps and started playing Soundgarden’s “Fell on Black Days” as loud as they could, Gervais said.

“About a minute later we see Chris Cornell come lumbering into the room,” he said. “And with a sly little smile, he says, ‘You guys are playing it a little fast.’ It was an amazing moment for a kid, if you can imagine. We got to chat with them for a little while, and get a sense of who they were as people, which is an amazing thing. And he was nothing but the sweetest person in the world. I always thought we’d get the chance to meet him again, but as we know now, we’re not gonna get that chance.”

Gervais and frontman Jonathan Russell traded verses on their version of “Hunger Strike,” as did Cornell and Pearl Jam‘s Eddie Vedder on the 1991 recording.

The Head and the Heart will be among the performers for the three-day 2017 Mountain Jam festival at New York’s Hunter Mountain.

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