"The former members of RATM have gone and done a Paul Weller, retreating from the ground they broke back into the sounds that inspired them."
AudioSlave – self-regenerating talent
In true supergroup fashion AudioSlave was an assemblage of musicians that had already become famous before coming together. In 2001 when former Rage Against the Machine lead guitarist Tom Morello, drummer Brad Wilk and bassist and backing vocalist Tim Commerford, were looking for a lead singer and Chris Cornell, the former rhythm guitarist/frontman for Soundgarden jammed with them the chemistry was immediate and powerful. From 2001 to 2007 AudioSlave earned three Grammy nominated albums, released twelve hit singles and conducted a historic trip to Cuba as the first American alternative/hard rock group to perform a free concert in an open-air venue in the country.
Producer Rick Ruben played an important part in the melding of Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk into the musical band called AudioSlave in the fall of 2000. Ruben felt strongly that the combined talent of the four held incredible potential and worked to help them develop the unique mesh of 70’s hard and 90’s alternative rock that carried them to the top of the charts.
By May 2001 20 songs were written for their first album and they exceeded that rate for their subsequent albums. An announcement that Cornell had left the group in March was later confirmed to be due to substance abuse. Cornell checked into a drug rehabilitation center and the group reassembled when he was released. When their official website went up in September they posted their first single, Cochise, online. Radio stations began playing the song in October and the group launched their first album, AudioSlave, in November of 2002.
Billboard 200 ranked AudioSlave at number seven and the album sold 162,000 copies in one week. Within 30 days the album was certified gold and went triple platinum by 2006. The single Like a Stone, released in spring 2003, went to number one on the charts and is the band’s most successful single. It also received a nomination for the 2004 Best Hard Rock Performance Grammy Award.
Audio Slave - Instant success
AudioSlave’s first paying concert was the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas on December 7, 2002. Their Show Me How to Live music video was refused by MTV for the content which portrays the band running police off the road but live performances done around the globe won the group good reviews throughout 2003.
After a year of extensive touring the band spent 2004 working on the content for their second album and pursuing their individual side projects. Morello worked on his political activities with Axis of Justice and The Nightwatchman material while Cornell used the time to focus on his new marriage to Vicky Karayiannis.
Rest, recuperation and out of exile
Starting with club tours in 2005 AudioSlave released their second album, Out of Exile, in May which registered at number one on the charts. The first single release Be Yourself made number one on Modern Rock and Mainstream charts. The band employed a distinctive promotion with the release of the second single Your Time Has Come. For one week Radio station websites posted a link to a timed-out download link set to download the free music single to everyone who participated when the millionth person clicked the link. Also in May the band spent two days in Cuba participating in a music and cultural exchange organized by the U.S and Cuban governments. Grammy Award nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance came in December 2005 for Doesn’t Remind Me.
During three weeks in January 2006 the band recorded 16 of 20 songs Cornell had written. Although the album wasn’t released until September the first track, Original Fire, was released as a free music stream from their official website in July. Album number three, Revelations, went to number two on Billboard 200.
AudioSlave disbanded in April 2007 when Cornell permanently left the group and the others went to work on a RATM reunion.
Did you know that...
- ...Morello founded Axis of Justice
- ...Audio Slave was the first band name on the Late Show with David Letterman marquee
- ...Cornell wrote all of Audioslave’s lyrics