Audioslave

Audioslave was an American rocksupergroup formed in Glendale, California, in 2001. The four-piece band consisted of Soundgarden‘s lead singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell with Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello (lead guitar), Tim Commerford (bass/backing vocals), and Brad Wilk (drums). Critics first described Audioslave as a combination of Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine, but by the band’s second album, Out of Exile, it was noted that they had established a separate identity.[1] Their unique sound was created by blending 1970s hard rock and 1990s alternative rock, with musical influences that included 1960s funk, soul and R&B. As with Rage Against the Machine, the band prided themselves on the fact that all sounds on their albums were produced using only guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, with emphasis on Cornell’s wide vocal range and Morello’s unconventional guitar solos.

American band
This article is about the band. For their eponymous debut album, see Audioslave (album).

Audioslave

Audioslave performing at Montreux Jazz Festival in 2005
Background information
Origin Glendale, California, U.S.
Genres
Years active
  • 2001–2007
  • 2017
Labels
Associated acts
Past members

In their six years together, Audioslave released three albums, received three Grammy nominations, sold more than eight million records worldwide[2][3] and became the first American rock band to perform an open-air concert in Cuba. They disbanded in February 2007 after Cornell issued a statement announcing that he was leaving the band. Later that year, Cornell and Morello released solo albums, and Morello, Commerford, and Wilk reunited with Zack de la Rocha for the Rage Against the Machine Reunion Tour.[4]

Audioslave reunited to perform at Prophets of Rage‘s Anti-Inaugural Ball,[5] which took place on January 20, 2017. Cornell’s death later that year precluded any chance of further reunions.

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Audioslave’s history dates back to October 18, 2000, when Rage Against the Machine broke up after lead vocalist Zack de la Rocha announced he was leaving the band, citing a breakdown in the band’s “decision-making process”.[6] The remaining three members of the band—Tim Commerford, Tom Morello, and Brad Wilk—decided to stay together and announced plans to search for and continue with a new vocalist.[7] Several vocalists jammed with the three, including B-Real of Cypress Hill, but they did not want another rapper or anybody who sounded like de la Rocha.[8] Contrary to popular belief, Layne Staley of Alice in Chains never auditioned for the new project;[9] this rumor was debunked by Morello on his Twitter account in 2015.[10] Music producer and friend Rick Rubin suggested that they play with Chris Cornell of Soundgarden.[11] Rubin also persuaded the three of them to go into group therapy with performance coach Phil Towle after the breakup.[11] Rubin was confident that with the right new voice, Rage Against the Machine had the potential to become a better band; he believed “it could turn into a Yardbirds-into-Led Zeppelin scenario.”[12] Commerford later credited Rubin for being the catalyst that brought Audioslave together. He called him “the angel at the crossroads” because “if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today.”[11]

The chemistry between Cornell and the other three was immediately apparent; as Morello described: “He stepped to the microphone and sang the song and I couldn’t believe it. It didn’t just sound good. It didn’t sound great. It sounded transcendent. And…when there is an irreplaceable chemistry from the first moment, you can’t deny it.”[8] The quartet wrote 21 songs during 19 days of rehearsal,[11] and began working in the studio in late May 2001 with Rubin as producer, while sorting out the label and management issues.[13]

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