The last project we want to bring from Chris Cornell to this #GrungeWeek is not even that well framed in this genre, however it was lead by the one artist we are paying a tribute to this week and it is the fan favourite by him. Moreover, excused is to say, how good were they?! Adding to Chris we have the whole Rage Against the Machine gang, except for their leaded De la Rocha, which went alone to his solo career that never was properly recognised. While AudioSlave was the second “SuperGroup” project led by Chris, and for sure, the first experience gave him a lot of teachings one can see in Audioslave, being one of its proves the fact they lasted for three albums and seven years.
So we are in October 2000, when Zach De La Rocha just said “fuck you guys” and left Rage Against The Machine due to problems with his own “decision making process”. Tom Morello (lead guitarist) known for having the craziest guitar riffs and his buddies did not waste time and ran straight to Chris which at the time was doing solo’s and probably was missing playing in a band since Soundgarden broke in 1998.
The chemistry was obvious since the beginning, as Morello described:
“He stepped to the microphone and sang the song and I couldn’t believe it. It didn’t just sound good. It didn’t sound great. It sounded transcendent. And…when there is an irreplaceable chemistry from the first moment, you can’t deny it.”
And that is why they recorded their first twenty-one songs in nineteen days, while sorting out all the other bureaucracies they were so well used to already. However due to some problems between the managers of Chris and RAtM, they broke up the first time when they did not even had release anything except their name. However, the differences were solved and they released in 2002, “Audioslave” their first (homonymous) album is released and at the time everyone could see that some songs were Soundgarden related and other RATM (Rage Against The Machine) and the mix pleased many fans. Charted immediately seventh, in the BillBoard 200, and the mix was more than welcome by the fans that totally understood the development of both bands in this project. However, the “know-it-all” people from Pitchfork said it that although Chris performance was good, the lyrics were “Gibberish” and the production of the album with “no heat”. Truth is by 2006, this same album was Platinum.
With their second album their image totally changed towards a proper trademark and a sonority that would blend the 70’s hard rock with 90’s grunge/alternative scene. However this album was way lighter and more mainstream, with a simpler Rock that we were not used at all from RAtM and disappointed some. Despite this, they were nominated for the Grammy’s with this one and reached platinum eventually. However, in accordance to sales, after having Topped the BillBoard 200, it went considerably down. And Chris admitted this was a smoother album, where he probably wrote “the most beautiful lyrics and more sincere” which is comprehensible since he was just married with his second wife, Vicky, and had stopped using drugs in 2003. A lighter period of his life that resembled in the album.
Their third and last album “Revelations” was certainly the one which gathered more attention, after a brilliant marketing campaign where their logo showed in Google Earth for some days before it released. Their sound however had changed, again, this time introducing funk into what was once a great Grunge-Heavy Rock mixture. In my opinion this was the proof that Chris was not like Port Wine though, and that Audioslave had given us at the time their best. Some months after, in 2007, the band ended up disbanding after a reunion of RAtM and Chris went on with his solo project until 2010, when he reunited with Soundgarden. However it was probably with AudioSlave that we had the opportunity of having pure grunge for the last time with their first album. Unfortunately Grunge kind of ceased activity there and last Wednesday it finally died. And for the protectors of Eddie Vedder as the last Grunge artist… I love Pearl Jam, and even more Eddie’s career, but never forget that not only he is not from Seattle as well as the fact that Chris was there being his Mentor in the Temple of The Dog times.