AUDIOSLAVE'S CORNELL, MORELLO Speak Out On Band Chemistry

Former SOUNDGARDEN and current AUDIOSLAVE frontman Chris Cornell is confident that fans of his previous group will find plenty on AUDIOSLAVE's self-titled debut to keep them happy.

"I don't think that fans of RAGE [AGAINST THE MACHINE] or SOUNDGARDEN will be disappointed," Cornell told Kerrang! magazine recently. "The album was written in the first three weeks that we met each other, and it's definitely a song-oriented, hard rock album — something that seems to be a rarity these days. It's almost like a throwback to a classic rock album in the way that it was put together."

"AUDIOSLAVE is four strong personalities with a strong work ethic and I think the music reflects that," the singer added. "It's great to be back in that band environment after doing solo records, just having that feeling of being a garage band again."

In a recent interview with Guitar World magazine, former RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE and current AUDIOSLAVE guitarist Tom Morello addressed the issues surrounding AUDIOSLAVE's brief split earlier in the year and the decision to regroup and continue work on the aforementioned debut.

"There was never actually a name change or a falling out, although there was a great deal of drama caused by our managerial situation," Morello said. "Chris did leave for a brief while, so we fired the managers and things have been working blissfully ever since.

"There was a lot of miscommunication that went on. But at no time, even when Chris left the band, did we ever stop caring for each other or stop being good friends. And it was crystal clear after a couple of months that the only thing we all wanted to do was play with each other. So we got back together, and we've been back on track ever since."

Morello also talked about the unenviable task of finding a suitable singer for the then-unnamed group following the departure of RATM frontman Zack De La Rocha in October 2000.

"After Zack left, Tim, Brad and I were confident that we all wanted to remain together and be a band," Morello revealed. "There is an irreplaceable chemistry between us. The hard part was to see what would happen when we plugged in another element. And Chris is basically the only singer we played with. He's always been one of our favorite singers and I think he's one of the greatest rock singers of all time. [Producer] Rick Rubin and I drove up to his house one day and we talked about what he was doing and what we were doing. We made it clear to Chris that we wanted this to be a real band. It's not just a project."

"Chris has a very penetrating and unique artistic vision that, when melded with ours, makes for a unique band chemistry," the guitarist explained. "It's such a different vibe than any of us has ever experienced before. There's a great deal of camaraderie."

"It wasn't just about grafting SOUNDGARDEN into RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE," Morello said of the group's early days. "And we've never wanted to settle for being a 'supergroup.' We wanted to be a band that would have a life and vitality of its own, and that was apparent instantly."

"We certainly weren't going to ask Chris to rap," laughed Morello when asked how veterans of two very different bands were able to find a common musical ground. "Nor was he going to ask us to play in funny time signatures. That could have been a disaster on both ends. From the day we started playing with Chris, it was crystal clear that this was a brand-new band. It was neither SOUNDGARDEN nor RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, although it was 'two great tastes that taste great together.'"

AUDIOSLAVE's self-titled debut, due Nov. 19 through Epic Records, "is unapologetically hard rockin'," Morello believes. "It is without compromise or apology. At the same time, we've woven into it what I think are the very unique voices of the musicians. Tim, Brad and I never had the opportunity to play with someone who incorporates melody into the vocals. And in Chris Cornell you have one of the best guys ever to do that. And Chris, in his previous bands, never had the opportunity to play with musicians who can throw down a groove like we do. So it opened up brand-new musical horizons. The first day we got together, we just jammed and the next day we started writing songs. And they became, I believe, 'Light My Way', 'Bring 'Em Back Alive' and 'Exploder'. So we started by writing some riff rockers, then we melded with influences that were almost PORTISHEAD-like. Rhythmically, we took a good hard look at bands like the CHEMICAL BROTHERS and PORTISHEAD, which led to songs like 'The Last Remaining Light' and 'Hypnotize'. And by day six or seven we were writing songs like 'I Am The Highway' or 'Like A Stone', which are completely different than anything that appears in any of our catalogs."

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