The world was launched to rock’s subsequent powerhouse on Nov. 18, 2002, when Audioslave launched their self-titled debut album.
The band began coming collectively two years earlier, following singer Zack de la Rocha’s break up from Rage Against the Machine. The opposite members nonetheless wished to make music however had been uncertain of methods to proceed. “Tim [Commerford] and Brad [Wilk] and I knew that we wished to play collectively,” guitarist Tom Morello instructed the Tuna on Toast With Stryker podcast in 2021. “And there have been some attention-grabbing provides from our document firm. ‘OK, we’ve received an amazing concept. You have to be so-and-so’s backup band.”
Though they had been dispirited by the strategies from the label, an concept from producer Rick Rubin caught their consideration.
“I believe the primary day Rick hit us up with Cornell, we had been at his home and all of us listened to [the Soundgarden song] ‘Slaves and Bulldozers’ and we mentioned how Cornell might simply do something,” Commerford later instructed Artist Waves.
Morello and Rubin agreed to go to Cornell at his dwelling in Ojai, a scenic, secluded metropolis positioned about two hours north of Los Angeles. As soon as the duo arrived at Cornell’s mansion, the assembly received off to an inauspicious begin.
Watch Audioslave’s ‘Cochise’ Video
“The super-tall entrance doorways, they open like Addams Household-style, like no one opening the doorways,” Morello instructed Tuna on Toast, “and out walks Chris – 6 ft 3 inches, lanky of body and darkish of decorum. And he begins loping slowly down the steps, and Rick turns to me and goes, ‘Let’s get the fuck out of right here! Our souls are at stake.’”
Morello, nevertheless, was not so simply spooked. After a constructive introduction and dialogue, Cornell agreed to hitch the remainder of the band in Los Angeles to jam. The expectation for all concerned: Let’s see what occurs.
“We’re gonna jam with Chris Cornell!” Commerford recalled thinking. “That in itself made my hair arise.”
“I received there and figured, I’m gonna know inside 10 minutes [if this will work],” Cornell famous of that first session. “And inside 10 minutes I knew that it was gonna be nice.”
The chemistry among the many musicians was prompt. Cornell’s highly effective, emotive voice proved to be an ideal match for the bombastic onslaught of the Rage alumni’s music. The primary music they wrote collectively, “Mild My Means,” set the stage for what would come subsequent.
Hearken to Audioslave’s ‘Mild My Means’
“I bear in mind being a little bit nervous initially,” Commerford instructed Artist Waves. “We had been taking part in with Zack for therefore a few years after which right here’s one other man. It was a little bit nerve-racking to be taking part in with one other singer who I didn’t know. I had met Chris a few instances, however I didn’t actually know him in any respect. At the moment, he wasn’t precisely at his finest. It was a bit uncomfortable at first, however we wrote ‘Mild My Means’ throughout that first day, and it finally ends up being on our first document. We left there that day pondering, ’We did it. That is cool. We wrote a music and it sounds good.’ That was it. That little hearth ignited the entire thing. I believe that’s how the most effective music works. You’re uncomfortable till you write a music that you just like and that evokes you to put in writing extra.”
With the musical ice formally damaged, music concepts shortly flowed out of the group.
“We wrote about 21 songs in 19 days. And it was essentially the most fertile, artistic interval in our careers,” Morello defined, although he admitted he couldn’t always gauge Cornell’s response to the group’s concepts. “Chris would kinda sit there and be trying on the floor [while they played]. And at first, we’d be like, ‘What’s he doing?’ After which he would stand on the microphone and sing the music.”
Hearken to Audioslave’s ‘I Am the Freeway’
Throughout 14 tracks, Audioslave delivered moments of aggression, poignancy and pure exhilaration. Album opener “Cochise” could be the lead single, an emphatic, arena-shaking introduction to the band. “Present Me Stay” provided a few of the album’s heaviest riffs, whereas “I Am the Freeway” went one other course, with Cornell’s hovering, weak vocals displaying some fragility.
Nonetheless, the stirring “Like a Stone” was arguably the album’s strongest observe – even when Commerford admitted to being initially confused by Cornell’s lyrics.
“He’s a poet. And he fooled me with a number of the songs. A music like ‘Like a Stone,’ I believed it was a love music,” Commerford argued. “The refrain is ‘I’ll look forward to you there, like a stone, I’ll look forward to you there alone.’ And I used to be like, ‘Yo, bro. What are you ready for?’ And he’s like, ‘Ready to die.’ And I simply went, ‘Oh, OK. That adjustments every part.’ I went again and regarded on the music and I received kinda saddened by what he’s singing about. It’s like a man ready alone in a home of loss of life and all his buddies are dying and he’s simply ready there. And I’m picturing this man in a rocking chair ready to die. It simply modified every part for me.”
Watch Audioslave’s ‘Like a Stone’ Video
Launched Nov. 18, 2002, Audioslave finally bought greater than 3 million copies within the U.S. “Like a Stone” grew to become the band’s most commercially profitable observe, reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s rock and different charts, peaking at No. 31 on the Billboard Scorching 100 and incomes the group a Grammy nomination.
Nonetheless, past gross sales numbers and accolades, Audioslave proved that the band was unequivocally not Soundgarden or Rage In opposition to the Machine. As an alternative, it was a dwelling, respiration beat, larger than the sum of its already-famous elements.
“I see Audioslave as extra basic rock, singer, chord-progression sort of music. Issues like that, we by no means actually did with Rage,” Commerford instructed Artist Waves. “I believe again on it and I like Rage, I like the way in which it feels, after which Audioslave occurs and it was so completely different. That’s the factor that I’m most pleased with. We didn’t simply come again and make a bunch of riff rock and put Cornell’s vocal on it. We did one thing genuinely completely different.”
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