System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian talked about his relationship with Chris Cornell, explaining to Rolling Stone how they bonded while working on the soundtrack for last year’s “The Promise” movie:
“Chris and I became closer as friends because of ‘The Promise.’ At one point, I think they wanted us to do the main theme music together, and then they realized they were going to need two end tracks.
“So he did the title track, and I did this beautiful, classical-jazz rendition of an old Armenian folk song called ‘Sari Siroun Yar.’ But he sent me an email and he goes, “What do you think?” And I loved it.
“I told him, ‘It’s really emotional and you’re bringing everything out.’ He made a great connection in the song. The most important thing to realize about the Armenian Genocide is not just what happened 100 years ago, but how it’s relevant today, because that shit’s happening now. That’s what he did with the song; he made that connection. I was really grateful for that.
“And I’m a huge fan of Soundgarden and Chris Cornell, growing up. And he knows that. [Laughs] We became friends, but I’ve still always been his fan, you know? So his support on the film was incredibly important.”
“He was very gracious with his emotions, his time. He was careful and conscientious. He did a great job in not just the music but supporting it, whether it’s interviews or TV specials with the song and talking about it and the need to take care of survivors that are around today in Syria and around the world.
“Him and his wife Vicky have a charity, and I had the honor a few weeks back of giving Vicky, in Chris’ name, a human rights award from Human Rights Watch at their yearly gala in Los Angeles. Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil were there. It was very special.
“It’s very tough, man. I still can’t get over [his death]. I can’t get over how it happened. I still don’t understand, and I don’t think I ever will. And that’s the truth.
“I wasn’t [trying to go there], but I can’t help it. I don’t get it.”