- Hard rock supergroup formed in 2001 from Glendale California. The band consisted of Chris Cornell from Soundgarden (vocals, rhythm guitar), Tom Morello (lead guitar), Tim Commerford (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Brad Wilk (drums) – Morello, Commerford and Wilk all came from Rage Against the Machine. Cornell wrote the lyrics, while the entire band contributed to songwriting.
- Cornell’s Soundgarden project ended their thirteen year run as a band in 1997, and Cornell released a solo album in 1999. In October 2000, metal band Rage Against the Machine ended their ten year run when its lead singer left the band (for more on these two bands, see my April 3, 2019 post on RAtM, and my November 24, 2019 post on Soundgarden). Morello, Commerford and Wilk decided to remain together and they began a search for a new lead vocalist. They jammed with several potential vocalists, but decided they wanted to evolve to a different sound that didn’t rely on rapping vocals. Music producer Rick Rubin suggested that they ask Cornell to jam with them – Rubin felt that Cornell could make the band far better than RAtM ever was. Cornell immediately bonded with the others, and after 19 days of rehersals, they had written 21 songs. They began recording an album in May 2001, with Rubin as producer.
- They spent a year and a half of working through management and label issues. By September 2002, they went public with the Audioslave name and they launched their website. In November, they released their debut album, the self-titled Audioslave. It was a huge success, achieving 3x platinum status. Six singles from the album were top ten on various Billboard charts. Like A Stone was their biggest hit, topping the Alternative Airplay and Mainstream Rock charts, and peaking at #31 on the Hot 100. Conchise, Show Me How To Live and I Am the Highway all reached #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
- After Cornell’s stint in rehab and a worldwide concert tour, the band worked on their second studio album. In 2005, the Out of Exile album was released. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and ultimately it was certified platinum. It included Be Yourself, their second single to top the Alternative Airplay and Mainstream Rock charts. Other top ten songs on the Mainstream Rock chart were Doesn’t Remind Me (peaking at #2) and the title track Out of Exile (#9).
- Working through rumors that the band would break up, Audioslave released their third studio album, Revelations, in 2006. It incorporated some soul and funk elements into its alt-metal sound. It was less successful than their earlier albums, with two songs – Original Fire and Revelations – charting at #4 and #6 respectively on the Mainstream Rock chart. In early 2007, an announcement was made that Rage Against the Machine was reforming, and soon after, Cornell announced that he had left Audioslave.
- Over the next ten years, Cornell released several solo albums and a reformed Soundgarden released an album and toured. Rage Against the Machine reformed and split up again. In January 2017, Audioslave reunited for a performance, and their were some discussions about scheduling a tour. Those plans were dashed on May 18, 2017 when Cornell was found dead by suicide (see more about Cornell and his death with my May 24, 2017 “Gone Too Soon” blog post).
- Audioslave was particular about their sound – they labeled their albums with the statement “All sounds made by guitar, bass, drums and vocals.” No keyboards or computers here! Like many supergroups, music critics generally were lukewarm about Audioslave – even the name of the group was panned by the critics, with Pitchfork calling it “the most asinine bandname of the year” and Spin calling it “one of the dumbest band names in recent rock history.” I thought that they were great – Like A Stone is one of my all time rock faves. Check out that video at my Chris Cornell “Gone Too Soon” post. Their video for Show Me How To Live was banned by MTV – but it’s not banned on Marksmusicmania. Here’s the video.