Profile of Audioslave

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Audioslave. Photo: L. Cohen/Wire Image/Getty Images

Audioslave was a supergroup made up of then-former Soundgarden singer/rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell and former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello (guitar), Tim Cummerford (bass), and Brad Wilk (drums). The idea for the group came when the remaining members of Rage Against the Machine decided to continue with a new vocalist when their rapper/frontman Zach de la Rocha left the band in 2000.

Future Audioslave producer Rick Rubin suggested Cornell as lead singer after the remaining RAtM members decided they did not want to replace de la Rocha with another rapper. The four musicians got together in Los Angeles, rehearsed for 19 days, and wrote 21 songs. In May 2001 they went in the studio, with Rubin producing, to record their self-titled debut album. Audioslave's musical style was a combination of Rage Against the Machine's heavy funk riff rock, Soundgarden's alternative rock, slower melodic songs, and Chris Cornell's soaring vocals – with lyrics that Tom Morello described as "haunted, existential poetry."

Debut Audioslave Album

Audioslave almost ended before they began when bickering between Cornell's and the RAtM members' separate managers reportedly nearly derailed the band. After the band decided to proceed under the name Audioslave in September 2002, they scrapped their respective managers and decided on a new management company, The Firm.

Cornell and the former RAtM members worked out a deal with their record labels Epic and Interscope to alternate which company released their albums.

Audioslave's first single, "Cochise," debuted on radio in October 2002 and the video for the song, lit only by a barrage of fireworks, literally exploded onto MTV and radio alike.

Audioslave's self-titled debut album was certified gold (500,000 units sold) within a month of its November 19, 2002 release. By 2006 the album had gone triple platinum (3,000,000 units sold). The band's second single "Like A Stone" hit number one on on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks charts. Audioslave toured throughout 2003 including a headlining spot on that year's Lollapalooza festival

'Out Of Exile' Album

In 2003-2004 Audioslave reconvened to record their sophomore album with Rick Rubin again serving as producer. Out of Exile was released May 24, 2005  in the U.S. and was Audioslave's only album to reach number one on the Billboard 200 album chart. Their first single "Be Yourself" reached number one on the Mainstream and Modern Rock charts. Out of Exile was certified platinum in July 2005. Audioslave played a free concert in Havana, Cuba in front of 70,000 people becoming the first American rock group to perform in Cuba. The popular Live in Cuba concert DVD of the show was released in October 2005. Within two months the DVD was certified platinum.

'Revelations' Album And Breakup

Audioslave began recording their third album, Revelations, in January 2006 with producer Brendon O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots) as Rick Rubin was busy with other projects.

Audioslave was ever prolific recording 16 songs in three weeks. The band's first single "Original Fire" was released in July 2006 followed by the Revelations album release in September. Musically the album had more funk and R&B influences. Some songs contained blatantly political lyrics – including "Wide Awake" which was about George W. Bush's mishandling of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster. Revelations was certified gold a month after its release.

Rumors circulated in July that Cornell was leaving the band to return to his solo career which Cornell denied. Cornell did, however, express his desire to record his second solo album before the end of August 2006, an obvious conflict with touring for Revelations. Cornell stated that he intended to begin touring with Audioslave in 2007 after completing his second solo album.

But on February 15, 2007, Cornell released a statement that he was leaving the group, "Due to irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences, I am permanently leaving the band Audioslave. I wish the other three members nothing but the best in all of their future endeavors."

Post-Audioslave

Since Audioslave disbanded Rage Against the Machine reformed to play live concerts and music festivals between 2007 to 2011. Chris Cornell reunited with Soundgarden in 2010 and the band has toured and put out a new studio album King Animal in 2012. Cornell has now released four solo studio albums.​ Cornell has continued to play Audioslave songs at his solo shows.

Tom Morello has put out four solo albums under the name The Nightwatchman. Morello has played guitar live sporadically with Bruce Springsteen since 2008 and also appeared on Springsteen's 2012 and 2014 albums. Drummer Brad Wilk was chosen by producer Rick Rubin as studio drummer for the 2013 Black Sabbath album 13, Sabbath's first studio album with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978. Wilk toured in December 2014 as live drummer for The Smashing Pumpkins.

On September 26, 2014, the closest thing to an Audioslave reunion occurred at a Seattle club benefit show billed as "Tom Morello with a special appearance by Chris Cornell." Cornell joined Morello to play four Audioslave songs together for the first time since 2005 with Morello's backing band filling in for Wilk and Cummerford.

Lineup

Chris Cornell – vocals, rhythm guitar
Tom Morello – lead guitar
Tim Cummerford – bass guitar
Brad Wilk – drums

Key Songs

"Cochise" (Purchase/Download)
"Like a Stone" (Purchase/Download)
"Show Me How to Live" (Purchase/Download)
"Be Yourself" (Purchase/Download)
"Doesn't Remind Me" (Purchase/Download)
"Original Fire" (Purchase/Download)
 

Discography

Audioslave (2002) (Purchase/Download)
Out of Exile (2005) (Purchase/Download)
Revelations (2006) (Purchase/Download)

 

Trivia

The band's initial name was reportedly "Civilian." When they found out another band owned that name Chris Cornell came up with the name Audioslave.

After Audioslave publicly announced their name an unsigned band from Liverpool, England came forward claiming rights to the name. The American Audioslave settled with the English band for $30,000, allowing both bands to use the name. The British Audioslave then changed their name to "The Most Terrifying Thing" to avoid confusion.

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Schallau, Bob. "Profile of Audioslave." ThoughtCo, Mar. 1, 2017, thoughtco.com/audioslave-biography-2897659. Schallau, Bob. (2017, March 1). Profile of Audioslave. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/audioslave-biography-2897659 Schallau, Bob. "Profile of Audioslave." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/audioslave-biography-2897659 (accessed October 22, 2017).