Lily Cornell Silver, elder daughter of late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, made her debut public performance during a tribute to Alice in Chains on Tuesday night.
The 20-year-old singer paid homage to the event’s honorees with a version of their 2009 song “Black Gives Way to Blue,” accompanied by fellow Seattle native Chris DeGarmo of Queensryche on guitar.
Cornell Silver, whose mother is longtime Alice in Chains and Soundgarden manager Susan Silver, performed as part of the MoPOP Founders Award ceremony honoring the group. The long-running event, which often recognizes the Seattle and Northwestern music community, is normally an exclusive benefit dinner featuring unique performances, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s two-and-a-half-hour-long ceremony was livestreamed for the world to see.
A stellar roster of artists came together in a virtual or socially distanced fashion to cover the band’s songs: Metallica, Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil, Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan, Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson, Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins, Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, Mastodon, Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Fishbone, Korn and many more. The show also features great archival footage of the band, spoken tributes from dozens of longtime notable friends (ranging from Seattle scene-mates like Pearl Jam and Sub Pop luminaries to Robert Downey Jr.) as well as them checking out some of the exhibits at the museum — and playing several acoustic songs.
“So very honored and excited to be a part of this year’s Founders Awards honoring Alice in Chains and benefitting the Museum of Pop Culture,” Cornell Silver said in a statement. “These guys are, and always have been, my family, and I feel so lucky to be honoring them alongside so many amazing artists. I’m singing a song that is super meaningful to me.”
Earlier this year, Lily launched “Mind Wide Open,” a weekly Instagram show addressing mental health — one of her first guests was none other than Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.
See her performance at the 1:43:30 mark below, with a tribute from Silver beginning at the 1:41 mark. Also recommended are Ann Wilson’s stellar version of the group’s 1992 song “Rooster”; Metallica’s acoustic take on “Would?” — with a hilarious message from singer James Hetfield at the end — the version of “Man in the Box” by a group with Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins, Slipknot’s Corey Taylor and Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney; and especially “Angry Chair,” which sees the three surviving members of Soundgarden joined by Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McReady and Tad Doyle and Meagan Grandall on vocals).
Toni Cornell, Chris’ daughter with his second wife, Vicky, is also a singer and released her debut single, “Far Away Places,” last year.
The annual ceremony for the Founders Award at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) — founded in 2000 by the late Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen and formerly called the Experience Music Project. “As our principal fundraiser, Founders Award is always a special event for MoPOP and we’re thrilled this year to honor Alice In Chains and provide free access to this magical evening fans around the world,” said MoPOP Executive Director Alexis Lee. “We’re proud to call Alice In Chains hometown heroes but we know we share them with the world. It’s a testament to their lasting impact that this talented group of musicians has come together to pay tribute to the band’s contributions to music and pop culture. While this entire night of exclusive performances is free to view for all, our hope is to raise $1 million to support the museum in this difficult and unprecedented year.”
Alice in Chains’ drummer and founding member Sean Kinney spoke with Variety last month about the honor.
“It’s really humbling that so many cool people took the time to get together during Covid to record our songs and film them,” Kinney said. “That’s a huge to-do, and I hope that by it having a potentially much wider audience than the usual private event, it can affect more change or at least be a cool, special thing and take you away for an hour and a half from this crazy time that we’re living in.”